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Comcast Integrates Web Into Next Generation Of Its Television Service


Comcast's unveiling of its next generation television service in Chicago at the 2011 Cable Show showed how television service is finally becoming more truly interactive.

Sharing programming tastes with friends and family directly through Comcast's interface on multiple devices through Facebook and Twitter is just one new feature of a re-imagined broadband cable television service.

Other features include improved search functionality, more personalization, and the integration of apps like music streaming service Pandora and traffic monitoring maps.

Customers will also be able to perform searches for content on their cable system, on their DVR, on the internet, and on demand simultaneously.

According to Chris Freeman of the Mchenry County Business Journal, the tester boxes in Georgia may have up to a terabyte of DVR storage on hand.

Comcast is just the latest service provider to offer such a service. Similar services are already available through AT&T and Verizon.

The different services use different kinds of technology to deliver their services, but to the users' eyes, they'll look similar.

The new service that Comcast CEO Roberts demonstrated Thursday differs from the company's existing service because it moves a lot of the technological intelligence powering the television service to Comcast's computer servers from the cable boxes sitting in their homes.

That change, as well as a new cable box powered by Intel, is what allows the mix of new services and the web-like functionality that customers will be seeing in their next-generation television services from Comcast.

The service is being tested by some of its customers in Augusta, Ga, with a broader roll-out scheduled sometime in 2012.

Comcast's next-generation television service announcement parallels the news of its partnership with Skype for high-definition video chatting, which was also demoed at The Cable Show conference.

However, it's unclear whether or not the Skype service will be synced up with the Xfinity project, though Brian Roberts' repeated message of "continuous innovation and new product development" seems to hint that it will, at least eventually.