updated 04:20 pm EST, Tue December 15, 2009
Comcast xfinity TV tries to keep users on cable
Comcast today brought its TV Everywhere project out into the open by launching xfinity TV as an extension of its Fancast service. The former trial and now beta product lets those who subscribe to both Comcast's Internet service and its TV services have free access to a large amount of the content normally available only on cable, including HBO.
It can work on as many as three computers without authorizing and doesn't depend on using the Comcast Internet connection after authorization; a notebook can connect anywhere else, for example. The copmany eventually expects to loosen restrictions so that customers aren't required to subscribe to Comcast Internet access to get access.
Services such as these are also either in place or enroute at providers like Time Warner Cable or Canada's Rogers and are informally but widely regarded as attempts to deter customers from dropping cable TV in favor of more flexible and potentially less expensive Internet alternatives like Hulu, iTunes or the Zune Video Marketplace. While it extends the usefulness of cable, critics have argued that these, combined with bandwidth caps and metered service, unfairly discourage users from trying alternatives. [via MediaMemo]