It’s a bizarre day when a major cable operator turns over content assets to a third party, but that’s what Comcast has effectively done by opening up its on-demand listings to the online TV guide provider Clicker. I believe that operators should do everything in their power to promote VOD content, but it still surprises me to see Comcast support another company’s aggregation role. I consider it a good sign, and one that shows the MSO is serious about making its high-value content more searchable and more visible in an increasingly IP world.
The cable industry as a whole knows it needs to prioritize improvements in the electronic program guide experience. However, that goal is complicated by the wide range of technologies deployed across cable systems, and the fact that legacy equipment doesn’t support the upgrades operators would like to make. Motorola is proposing a way to create an IP abstraction layer so that MSOs can update their user interfaces in the cloud, without having to worry about getting older set-tops to host a new guide experience. It’s a way to inject IP into the equation without sacrificing the hardware investments operators have already made. Hopefully it’s also a way to get EPG evolution moving at a faster clip.