Comcast Boosts On-Demand For iPad App, But No Live TV Yet


Comcast has upped the amount of video-on-demand content available through its Xfinity TV iPad app to 4,500 hours -- from 3,000 when it launched two months ago -- but the operator said live TV on the tablets won't be available until later this year.

In a separate development Thursday, Time Warner Cable and Viacom traded lawsuits over that MSO's iPad app. Time Warner Cable is seeking declaratory judgment from a federal court that it has the right to distribute Viacom's programming to any device in a customer's home, while Viacom filed a lawsuit alleging breach of contract and copyright violation.

Comcast spokesman Peter Dobrow confirmed that the company still plans to launch in-home access to live TV in 2011 through the iPad app and to other devices. He declined to comment further.

Xfinity iPad app with Play Now

To date, Comcast has focused its "TV Everywhere" efforts on delivering on-demand content online and to other devices -- available both inside and outside a subscriber's home.

In a deal Comcast reached earlier this year with Turner Broadcasting System, the cable operator obtained rights to distribute live feeds of CNN and other Turner networks on an authenticated basis over the Internet.

The Xfinity TV app, free to Comcast video subscribers, now provides content from nine more content partners: IFC, Sundance, Hallmark, Ovation TV, CNN, Adult Swim, TruTV, CBeebies and Sony. The app already provided content from premium cable networks including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Encore, Cinemax and MoviePlex and programming from TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and BBC America.

In addition, there will be "more to come soon from Warner Bros.," Comcast Interactive Media vice president of programming Maggie McLean Suniewick wrote in a blog post Thursday announcing the expanded content.

Still absent is any VOD content from NBC Universal, which is now majority owned by Comcast under their recently completed merger deal.

Newly added TV shows include Seinfeld, Conan, Doctor Who and Showtime Networks' original series The Borgias and United States of Tara. Comcast expanded its HBO content to include all episodes from original series including True Blood, Sopranos, John Adams, Band of Brothers and Six Feet Under.

Among the movies Comcast added are Get Him to the Greek, Date Night, Charlie's Angels, Little Women, The Karate Kid and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Comcast plans to add more programming partners and VOD titles to the iPad in the weeks ahead, as well as launch similar apps for Android-powered devices and smartphones in the future.