Comcast Tinkers With Web Video On TV: Report

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Comcast is kicking the tires on a system, code-named "Xcalibur," that lets subscribers access a limited amount of Web video through a cable set-top box, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The test, in Comcast's all-digital Augusta, Ga., system, provides a "smattering" of Web video, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources. The Journal didn't have any details on what content was being made available.

Currently the MSO has no plans to commercially launch Xcalibur, referred to as Spectrum in the user trial, and Comcast has not determined how it might price the service if it were to offer it. The IP-based set-tops in the test, code-named "Parker" after Spider-Man protagonist Peter Parker, provide a redesigned user interface and guide, the Journal reported.

Verizon's FiOS TV lets customers access YouTube clips and other Web video content through Motorola hybrid IP/cable set-top boxes. The telco does not charge extra for the Web video features, which require users to install software on a PC.

Meanwhile, dozens of devices are able to pipe Internet content to HDTVs, including those from TiVo, Apple, Roku and Boxee as well as Blu-ray Disc players and TV sets from Sony, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Samsung, Vizio and others. Google has embarked on a Web-on-TV initiative, Google TV, with partners including Dish Network, Logitech and Sony.

The Xcalibur project is being led by Sam Schwartz, formerly president of Comcast Interactive Capital, who is now president of the MSO's Comcast Converged Products group.

Comcast recently hired Marcien Jenckes -- the executive who oversaw AOL's launch of free Web services -- as senior vice president and general manager of video and entertainment services..

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