In a very interesting move for the Comcast Cable Company, Comcast customers can now access Xfinity TV from any ISP. The Xfinity service is being taken out of beta and being let loose into the wild. Previously, you could only access Xfinity content from within Comcast’s network, which meant you also needed a broadband account with Comcast. This was done to make it easier to test the service. Now that restriction has been removed.
Xfinity TV offers “more than 150,000 hours of online content” to all of its digital video subscribers. The branding piece is a bit confusing, though. If you visit Xfinity.tv, you’ll be redirected to Fancast.com, which handles all of the heavy lifting. The layout and most of the content is similar to what you might find on Hulu. You don’t need to be a Comcast subscriber to access most of the content on Fancast and you have the added benefit of being able to watch CBS shows, which are not available on Hulu (don’t act like you don’t watch CSI).
The benefit for Comcast subscribers is in accessing shows and movies from Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, and some other basic cable networks. Before Xfinity came out of beta, you would have to be in your home to access these shows from your computer. This pretty much defeats the purpose as it would probably be easier to walk over to the nearest TV. Now, these subscribers can access shows like Dexter and True Blood from any Internet-connected computer.
Xfinity TV is just as “free” as Comcast’s OnDemand service, which really means there is just no extra charge for it. Comcast has a merger with NBC Universal pending the FCC’s approval. We’ve also seen a lot of activity and growth in watching movies and shows online via services like Netflix and Hulu. While Netflix has been looking to expand their catalog and make moves into Canada, Hulu is still testing out Hulu Plus. It’s been rumored that Hulu Plus, priced at $8.95, may be slashing their pricing in half. This might be a requirement for success given offerings from Netflix and now a free service for Comcast customers.
via paidContentCategory: News | Tags: comcast, fancast, Hulu, netfliix, xfinity