Archives For TV Shows

Comcast xfinity tv everywhere fancastThat’s right, today is the day that Comcast officially launches it’s version of TV Everywhere, not quite in time for Hanukkah. While the Xfinity name is somewhat unfortunate, it appears we’re supposed to think of the service as the next generation of Project Infinity. For those of you paying attention, Comcast launched Project Infinity back at CES 2008 in an effort to beef  up its on-demand library. Xfinity goes to the next level by taking on-demand online, a phrase which was, incidentally, the original name for the new service. But I digress.

Comcast has now made Xfinity available to all subscribers of both its broadband and cable TV services. For authentication purposes, users must download software at the Fancast Xfinity site before being able to access content online, but once the Move Networks Abode Air video player is downloaded, subscribers are free to browse cable TV content online at will. Keep in mind that, yes, Xfinity viewing does count toward the Comcast bandwidth cap, but at 250 GB, there seems to be quite a bit of wiggle room. And for bandwidth monitoring, Comcast has promised to release a new Web-based meter in the first quarter of next year.

On the content front, Xfinity service includes shows from AMC, A&E, BBC America, Time Warner, CBS, and a dozen or so other programmers. Premium subscribers to Starz, HBO, and Cinemax can also access shows from those networks online.

To supplement your Xfinity viewing, you can surf on over to Hulu for more content. With the new Comcast/NBCU deal in the works, however, I can only assume that Hulu will, as Ryan Lawler predicts, become something of a lame duck in the next year. In fact, Comcast’s COO Stephen Burke just this week stated that the deal with NBCU lets Comcast create its own hybrid of the Hulu model – part free content and part premium television online.

There’s plenty more to say on the topic of Xfinity, but for now it’s worth it just to sit back and see how consumers react. If you’re a subscriber, please add your thoughts in the comments below. I’ll be putting Xfinity through its paces over the next few weeks as well, so expect to hear more about the service soon.

To Xfinity And Beyond! (Soon.)

Dave Zatz —  December 12, 2009 — 1 Comment

xfinity

Chanukah has arrived, yet Comcast’s Xfinity is nowhere to be found. Or is it? I have it on good authority that Comcast did indeed attempt to launch this week. In fact, I’ve dug up at least one live web page (above) featuring dual Fancast-Xfinity branding. Plus, I received an email yesterday announcing the imminent closure of the Fancast Store (screengrab, below right). So we’re probably just mere days away from the unveiling of Comcast’s revamped TV Everywhere web experience, featuring HBO (!) content.

Comcast xfinity tv everywhere remote dvr scheduling bandwidth usage meter gifts

With the NBCU news drowning out other Comcast conversation, I thought I’d take this moment to tally up the gifts the MSO has promised to all the good little subscriber girls and boys this year. First and most important, TV Everywhere, er, On Demand Online, um, Xfinity is scheduled to roll out before the start of Hanukkah on December 12th. Yes, that’s right, Broadcasting and Cable has discovered that the new name for the Comcast service will be Xfinity. Actually it will be Fancast Xfinity TV, but you can call it Xfinity for short. If you’ve been following along with the story so far, the new Comcast offering will let subscribers to both television and broadband service access TV shows anywhere and everywhere from a Comcast portal site. Never again be without NCIS, NCIS LA, or the upcoming NCIS Louisville, NCIS Dubuque, or NCIS Stars Hollow.

Of course, if you want to watch a lot of TV online, you’ll need to keep track of your bandwidth usage. Comcast now has a bandwidth meter in trials that should roll out to all customers in Q1 of next year. We first heard about ISP bandwidth meters back when operators started testing bill-by-the-byte models in 2008. Now that Comcast has one coming to market (with an independent third-party company validating measurements), it will be interesting to see any aggregate data collected on consumer bandwidth usage. How much are we really using the interwebs? I’ll be curious to get a look at not only how online TV affects my personal bandwidth numbers, but also how Slacker usage, Squeezebox listening, and massive photo uploading impact my meter readings.

Finally, Comcast has promised that remote DVR scheduling is on the horizon. Granted the company’s been a bit busy of late, but I’ve been checking on the feature landing page and haven’t seen any changes to note from Dave’s original report. Then again, Comcast has probably been keeping tabs on whether we’ve been bad or good. If we all stay on the non-naughty list, maybe we’ll see remote DVR features by CES.

Turkey Weekend TV Online

Mari Silbey —  November 27, 2009 — Leave a comment

Hulu for the Holidays

Thanksgiving weekend is a time for turkey, travel, and television. Beyond the requisite football, we get the start of TV holiday specials – a mix of sentimental schlock and comedy classics. If you’re watching online, the options are wide-ranging. Here are a few to get you started.

Hulu

Hulu for the Holidays is underway, with new content showing up every day from now through December 25th. The selections aren’t necessarily holiday-related (21 Jumpstreet?), but consider the newly available shows and movies to be Hulu’s gift to you. If you really want a T’giving connection, the site also has a collection of Thanksgiving Moments; everything from SNL, to Friends, to Jerry Springer. After all, nothing says let’s be thankful like watching family brawls that don’t involve your own kin. One note, however, beware the company’s new protectionist policy if you plan on embedding whole libraries of holiday moments from Hulu. NewTeeVee tells us several start-ups have gotten letters of complaint for embedding large amounts of Hulu content. Now where’s that TV Everywhere spirit?

YouTube

YouTube is obviously the place to go for amateur holiday videos, but beyond the how-to clips and family antics, there are some gems mixing “old” TV and new. For example, check out last year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade RickRoll. It’ll make you laugh and hold you over until next year’s march through Midtown.

Amazon VOD

The selection in Amazon’s Video on Demand department is a bit patchy, but if you’re looking for holiday specials, there are some decent choices thrown into the mix. Rentals for $2.99 are a good bet for entertainment lasting just about as long as the holiday weekend. You can purchase videos too, but they average around $9.99, and for the most part, the movies available don’t seem to warrant the cost.

Netflix Watch Instantly

Netflix has added some nice flicks to its Watch Instantly category recently. Specifically, if you want to entertain the kids this weekend, relative new releases like Bolt, Wall-E, and Bedtime Stories are all available. Best of all, you can monopolize the big screen with your own stuff and plop the little ones down in front of the laptop. Now that’s something to be thankful for. ;)

Showtime iPhone app

With the Showtime EBIF app already raking in dough on TV sets across the country, the cable network has decided to go mobile. Showtime launched its own iPhone app this week complete with teaser episodes, video extras, and broadcast schedules. Given that the EBIF version may not be available in your area, the iPhone application is a nice alternative for testing the Showtime waters. Personally, I’ve never been willing to pay the extra fees for premium cable channels, but maybe if I knew more about what I was missing, I’d dole out the cash. I’m not likely to buy a whole season on DVD, or even waste time on episodes in my Netflix queue, but if you put an episode right in front of me, I’ve got nothing to lose. And that’s what Showtime is counting on.

The iPhone app is, naturally, free. But if you’re still hesitant, check out the pics below. The application is powered by mobile ad specialist Transpera.