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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 30, 2013

Comcast Joins the Out-of-Home TV Streaming Fray

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Questing after TV Everywhere goodness, the No. 1 U.S. pay TV provider has said that subscribers will soon be able to watch 35 live networks on Apple iOS and Google Android (News - Alert) devices while on the go, over Wi-Fi.

The streaming will be part of a major overhaul of its Xfinity mobile app, which will now also wrap in the previously separate Xfinity TV remote app that lets subscribers use a smartphone or tablet as a remote control.

Available channels will include beIN Sport, Big 10 Network, CNN, Disney (News - Alert) Channel, ESPN, FOX News Channel, FX, National Geographic Channel and Pac-12 Networks, along with its own NBCUniversal stable, including CNBC, MSNBC and NBC Sports Network.

"With Xfinity TV Go, we're giving customers all the entertainment they want in one place, in the palm of their hand," said Charlie Herrin, Comcast senior vice president of product design and development.

Comcast’s IPTV (News - Alert) rivals Verizon FiOS TV and AT&T U-verse TV both added out-of-home streaming capabilities to their mobile video apps earlier in the fall.  

Verizon revamped its FiOS (News - Alert) Mobile App, which enables Verizon FiOS TV customers to watch live linear content as well as video on demand while away from home on iOS and Android mobile devices and the Kindle Fire. Customers can watch up to nine popular live TV channels, depending upon their current FiOS TV package, incluidng BBC America, BBC World News, EPIX, NFL Network (tablet only) including “Thursday Night Football,” Tennis Channel and networks from Scripps Networks Interactive including Food Network and Travel Channel.

“The FiOS Mobile App has a wide variety of content choice for all ages and interests, from the do-it-yourselfer to the moviegoer, and this is just the beginning,” said Maitreyi Krishnaswamy, director of FiOS TV’s consumer video services. “Close collaboration with content and software partners, allows us to deliver a seamless customer experience, which will become even better as the content choices grow over time.”

Earlier this month, AT&T announced more than 100 live TV channels had been added to the U-verse App for those with a U-family or higher U-verse TV package. Just 20 of them are available for streaming outside of the home for now, but AT&T said that it plans to add more live channels on an ongoing basis. The U-verse App for Android and iOS lets users access on-demand titles, manage their DVRs remotely and use an advanced search functionality for discovering content.

Content availability will of course be the key to uptake, but that comes down to licensing arrangements with media companies. “The market is still developing with many of the early growing pains, like authentication, finally starting to take a back seat to the content,” said ABI Research (News - Alert) senior analyst, Michael Inouye. “In many respects the technology is in place to increasingly offer wider reaching TVE services. Securing the rights to broader content distribution is the primary remaining hurdle, but once standard metrics are developed the content floodgates are expected to open wider.”

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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