Video services

Comcast Demos New Web-Based TV Service

CHICAGO -- The Cable Show -- The Cable Show was indeed the coming-out party for Xcalibur, the code-name for Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s next-gen video platform that combines TV and Web content.

As expected, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts did the big reveal here this morning, demonstrating a new cloud-based guide and content navigation platform that is powering a Pace plc -made "Spectrum" DVR it's been testing in Augusta, Ga. (See Comcast IDs Xfinity TV Partners , Xcalibur's Coming-Out Party? , and Comcast Confirms Xcalibur Partners.)

The next-gen service, which Comcast calls Xfinity TV, combines the MSO's traditional QAM-based video service with content, apps and widgets brought in from the Web, including Facebook and Pandora Media Inc. . The guide itself leverages Comcast's managed broadband network, sourcing apps and data from its Denver-area facility. It's expected to give Comcast a new level of uniformity to its TV service and let it deploy more personalized and capable navigation systems that are common on tablets, smartphones and new connected TVs. Comcast will also wield it to help it fend off traditional telco and satellite TV foes and new over-the-top threats.

It also lets Comcast break away from the old set-top world, which has been hindered by excruciating, time-consuming regression testing and limited set-top processing resources. The new network-focused model means the interface and the apps that run on it "can be innovated and changed on the fly and in the cloud and changes all over the country instantaneously," Roberts said.

Check out this Xcalibur timeline to get caught up on Comcast's big project. Here are some examples of Roberts giving Xfinity TV a test drive at the show:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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