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Comcast Goes Multi-Room

Last week Comcast introduced a new service called AnyRoom in its New Jersey market designed to let multiple set-tops in a home access the same VOD content. It’s not multi-room DVR, but it’s a good step on the road to cable-based, in-home television networking.

First the basics: Users of the AnyRoom feature can make a selection from Comcast’s Channel 1 On Demand list and add it to the “Saved Programs” folder. Once a show is saved, it can then be viewed on any digital set-top in the house. (The service only works on Motorola digital systems for now.) Users can even start a show in one room, then move to another room and pick up from the same spot in the video. Digital cable customers with on-demand service need no new equipment and there is no fee for use.

The AnyRoom debut has been remarkably unremarked upon by Comcast. Head over to the Comcast online press room, and there’s not even a press release on the subject. Is this because the service has only been officially launched in New Jersey?

In any case, I find the news interesting because of the continued blurring of the lines between DVR and VOD service. TV is undocking from the TV set, and whether content is stored on a local hard drive or a cable server, consumers want the same flexibility to watch it anywhere they want.

7 Responses

  1. Actually Central PA and Eastern PA had this earlier this year. Plus Chicago and Minneapolis, MN had this as well.

    Now if Comcast could extend this to allow DVR programs to be accessible in any room, we would have a news story!

  2. So – who’s software is powering this? Is it an update to TV Guide, an OCAP API, or someother third party (like Ucentric)?

  3. The software is created by a subsidiary of Comcast, know as Guidestar. The guide is undergoing changes currently. Motorola boxes are capable of doing multiroom services. The software as of now, (Guidestar) is not, there are other vendors out there though that do offer multi room services such as Digeo which their boxes will be availible in 2008 on an OCAP system standard (Cable Card).

  4. **correction** The company is GemStar, and the guide was formed in a partnership between Comcast and them.

  5. [...] Comcast Launches AnyRoom: Media Experiences 2 Go [...]

  6. [...] announced as different vendors try to outdo each other. Features such as on-screen Caller ID, Multi-Room VOD, Start Over, [...]

  7. [...] for cable companies to make the feature a priority until recently. (Though Comcast did launch AnyRoom On Demand a while back) Now both Verizon and AT&T are well-established with their own whole-home DVR [...]

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