Cable Show 2011: Roberts To Unveil Comcast's Next-Generation Video Product

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Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts will take the wraps off the operator's "next-generation video product" with a demo during the morning general session at the Cable Show next Thursday, June 16, in Chicago, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The NCTA issued the media advisory teasing Roberts' appearance, noting that his planned demo "had not been previously announced."

Roberts' demo may focus on "Xcalibur," the code-name for Comcast's service that blends TV programming with Internet content including Twitter and Facebook info and features a revamped user interface.

Comcast is testing a service, dubbed Xfinity Spectrum, using Pace RNG 210N boxes in a few dozen homes in Augusta, Ga. That service features a redesigned interactive program guide lets users search for program titles, actors, sports teams and genres.

The CEO may also touch on Comcast's forthcoming IPTV test, set to begin this fall on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That will let students watch live TV on computers, connected TVs or other devices.

A source close to Comcast confirmed the plans for the MIT test, originally reported by the Wall Street Journal, but emphasized that the video is not traversing the public Internet and that the MSO currently has no plans to launch a video service "out of footprint" -- i.e., go over the top and compete against other cable operators. 

At the 2010 Cable Show, Roberts used the stage in Los Angeles to publicly debut Comcast's Xfinity Remote application for the iPad, which lets subscribers find TV shows and VOD and change the channel on their set-top box.

Roberts is set to present his demo at the Thursday general session, which starts at 9 a.m., following appearances by Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

After the initial interviews and Comcast demo, CNN's Erin Burnett is scheduled to moderate a panel discussion with Roberts, Motorola Mobility chairman and CEO Sanjay Jha and Cablevision Systems chief operating officer Tom Rutledge.

A second panel, moderated by incoming NCTA president and CEO Michael Powell, will feature panelists Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America's consumer business division; Sean Bratches, ESPN's executive vice president of sales and marketing; and HBO co-president Eric Kessler.

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