Video services

VOD Shortcuts

I started noticing something a bit different about my Comcast interactive program guide in recent weeks. As I button-mashed my way through the usual grid-style list of linear programming, I began to see that some of those blocks, usually reserved for linear programming, were being populated with direct links to the MSO's range of video-on-demand (VOD) offerings.

Some are strategically placed. A link to "HBO On Demand," for example is now channel 549, where the HBO multiplex is. "Free HD On Demand" is offered on channel 660, where the HDTV lineup resides. The main VOD service is still offered on channel 1, which Comcast now markets to the hilt as…Channel 1.

This list shows how Comcast is mapping VOD services on the guide I use here in the Denver area (the GuideWorks LLC iGuide).

Table 1: Hyperlinking VOD
Channel Service
166 FearNET On Demand
219 ExerciseTV On Demand
542 HD Premium Channels On Demand
549 HBO On Demand
648 HD On Demand
660 Free HD On Demand
799 Free Movies On Demand
800 Movies On Demand
850 Adult On Demand
886 Entertainment On Demand
888 Searchlight On Demand
889 Auto On Demand
899 HD Music On Demand
Source: Comcast IPG Data/Denver Market

It's easy to see why an operator would want to do this. Not only does it point out that these services actually are available as subscribers surf through the lineup, but it also reduces the number of button-pushes required to get to some of this stuff.

It also offers some aid until Comcast introduces its "video rich navigation" system in my market. (See Comcast Ramps Up 'Video Rich Navigation' .)

So I did a brief experiment with my IPG to see what kind of efficiencies subs are actually gaining here.

To get from linear television to the HD On Demand service, it took four button presses.

To get from linear television to the HBO On Demand service, it took eight button presses.

So, in these cases, one is better than four or eight.

It's also, therefore, better than three, the answer to an age old question from my childhood that involved an owl, a boy, and a lollipop.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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