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Cable Technology Feature Article

December 14, 2010

Comcast Testing IPTV Hardware

By Chris DiMarco, TMCnet Web Editor

The battle between Big Cable and Internet Television alternatives has heated up significantly 2010, and apparently the gloves are coming off altogether in 2011. According to a Wall Street Journal Article Comcast (News - Alert) is currently testing a video box that will include a DVR, video search options and limited internet connectivity.

These upgrades will allow it to compete with other internet ready devices currently offering Hulu or Netflix, or that’s the plan at least. The problem appears to be that the cable giant still plans on offering connectivity in a walled garden sense, letting customer connect to content that it has preselected for them. The box has not been named yet but is currently going by the moniker Xcalibur.

While wide spread adoption of internet television has yet to take place, the trend towards lower cost, feature rich streaming services seems to be making cable companies more nervous than they’re willing to admit. Comcast’s recent sparring match with Level 3 is evidence of deeper tension between internet and cable video.  The unit will basically act like Google (News - Alert) TV sans the full internet access.

The Wall Street Journal article claims the Xcalibur can access a "smattering of Web video" and "some basic connections to social networks to comment on television shows,” but until the unit has been released in earnest it will not be known how the operation of either will function. An estimated release date for the unit is currently unknown.

Chris DiMarco is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University. Prior to joining TMC (News - Alert) Chris worked with e-commerce provider Suresource as a contact center representative and development analyst. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco