The more the merrier; perhaps some of them will even stick. Having seen counterparts in the news, publishing and music industries outrun and outmaneuvered by smaller, more nimble, digital technology-driven market entrants, telecompetitors have been intent on getting their entertainment experience distributed across as many types of screens and devices as possible. The delivery options have only multiplied now that markets for smartphones and media tablets are maturing.
Mark Hess, Comcast SVP of video product development on Jan. 10 announced that the cable MSO is introducing AnyPlay, an in-home only content distribution service that enables subscribers to stream their full channel line-up to tablets for now, and presumably other connected devices in the future, via their home wireless network routers and access points.
“With AnyPlay, you can watch the channels that are included in your linear channel subscription through the Xfinity TV app on the iPad®, and very soon the Motorola Xoom™ tablet,” Hess wrote on the Comcast Voices blog. “This means that while someone else watches a program in the living room, for example, you can watch another show on your iPad from the backyard deck, kitchen or other places around the home.”
The AnyPlay box works in the same way as other set-top boxes, though rather than sending Comcast’s available line-up to a television it delivers the line-up to the subscriber’s home network Wi-Fi router. Individual programming choices are then sent via secure video signal to an iPad or Xoom tablet that runs the Xfinity TV app.
Comcast’s starting AnyPlay introduction by rolling out free to Xfinity HD Triple Play customers in the Denver and Nashville areas. Expansion to other markets is expected in coming months.
In addition to home network wireless viewing of Comcast content, the Xfinity app enables subscribers to watch more than 8,000 hours of On Demand movies and TV shows at no additional charge both inside and outside the home. Comcast plans to expand On Demand content delivery to additional devices, including the Xbox 360 and Samsung connected TVs soon.