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Cable Tech

Comcast Throws House Party in Valley

Comcast showed off for its new West Coast friends this week, hosting an open house event at its Silicon Valley Innovation Center that featured demonstrations from several tech partners.

The Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) demo fest in Sunnyvale, Calif., included presentations by healthcare partners Altia Systems, which makes videoconferencing products, and the California Telehealth Network. The open house also featured a presentation by Twitter Inc. , which was brought in to exhibit the new "SEEiT" feature launched in October. Twitter and Comcast have teamed up with SEEiT to let consumers tune in to TV shows and access online video directly from their Twitter streams. (See Comcast Embraces Twitter.)

The trend toward highlighting specific consumer experiences powered by service provider networks is gaining momentum. It's hard to promote the visuals of a broadband pipe, but showing what that connection can enable is a totally different matter. (See Tech Giants Tout Retail Chops.)

The highlighted demos at Comcast's event combined some of the cable company's more disparate activities. On the one hand, the healthcare presentations emphasize cable's growing success in the commercial services market. On the other, the Twitter demo gives a nod to the entertainment side of Comcast's business and the MSO's growing interest in leveraging Twitter as a medium for monitoring and influencing TV water-cooler talk.

Comcast said it also demonstrated new features of its X1 IP video platform at the open house. In addition, the MSO offered a preview of its future home automation and cloud services.

The Silicon Valley Innovation Center opened in 2011 and is the development site for recent Comcast apps, including the Family Point messaging app and Xfinity Games, a collaboration with Electronic Arts Inc. (Nasdaq: ERTS). Comcast, which now employs about 250 engineers in Silicon Valley, also runs development centers in Seattle, Philadelphia, Denver, and Washington DC. (See Comcast Begins EA Games Pilot.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

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