Comcast made TV Everywhere official earlier this week with the launch of its Fancast Xfinity service. Not quite in time for Hanukkah, the online on-demand offering rolled out nationwide with content from AMC, A&E, CBS, HBO, and many others. If you subscribe to both Comcast high-speed Internet and digital cable, you can access on-demand television through Xfinity by downloading the Comcast Access software. The software is used for authentication and allows you to watch TV shows through the dedicated Fancast Xfinity portal.
While we only heard about Xfinity earlier this month, there are hints that the name may be used as a broader branding umbrella for Comcast’s expansion of digital services and ongoing efforts to extend bandwidth. Indeed, Xfinity sounds like an evolution of Project Infinity, which was launched at CES a couple of years ago as an initiative to greatly expand both HD and VOD content. The idea that Xfinity might refer to the extension of Project Infinity to new platforms certainly makes some sense. Meanwhile, the launch of Fancast Xfinity coincides with Comcast network upgrades and adjustments specifically designed to support greater broadband traffic. Comcast may try to link activities like its DOCSIS 3.0 rollouts and digital migration to new features like the online on-demand offering in consumer minds. Using some kind of unified branding like the Xfinity name would be one way to do that.
As a final note, don’t forget that several other pay-TV players have also announced their own plans to launch TV Everywhere services. Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T all have projects underway, though their supporting network architectures are vastly different, and even their authentication schemes promise to be varied. In one form or another, Motorola is working with each of these operators as they transition to the next generation of television.