Comcast's TV-Free iPhone App

MSO offers iPhones a free app with no live TV and no DVR controls UPDATED 7/17 8 AM

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

July 16, 2009

2 Min Read
Comcast's TV-Free iPhone App

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is giving customers a top-notch cable TV experience on the go (minus the ability to watch live TV and control the recording of programs) with its Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPhone and iPod Touch application.

Customers with a user ID can download the first release, which syncs their iPhone/iPod devices with the MSO's "SmartZone" email inboxes and address books, and lets them manage voicemail messages and read attachments that the Apple devices are capable of viewing. (See Comcast Dials Up iPhone App.)

The video components provide TV listings for up to a week in advance and access to trailers of some movies that are offered through Comcast's video-on-demand (VoD) service.


What the app doesn’t do (yet, anyway) is provide a way for consumers to program their DVRs remotely. DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and others offer iPhone and iPod access to DVRs already.

"rDVR is on the roadmap for a future release," Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas said via email. Hold your breath starting... NOW!

Comcast has not announced any plans to deliver live video programming to iPhones or any other mobile handheld devices. Its forthcoming "OnDemand Online" Web TV trial will be strictly PC-centric at the start. [Ed note: We've also asked if iPhones and iPod Touch devices will be able to access the OnDemand Online library through their native Internet browsers.] (See Time Warner, Comcast Team Up for TV Everywhere, CBS Joins Comcast's Internet TV Trial, and More Nets Join Comcast's Internet TV Test.)

UPDATE: Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury confirmed that OnDemand Online content won't be offered to iPhones and iPod Touch devices during the upcoming trial period, which will vet a new subscriber "authentication" technology. "But our goal is certainly to make content available across platforms," she added.

SmartZone smarts and WiMax ambitions
Comcast is keen to tie other devices to its SmartZone services. The operator is also working on an "enhanced cordless phone" offering that unifies its digital phone service with the company's SmartZone communications center. (See Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone .)

Comcast has already developed another mobile app that runs on any Web-enabled mobile device and provides many of the same features. Fellow MSO Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) has developed something similar to support its WiFi effort. (See Cablevision Mobilizes Content Play.)

Cable Digital News reported earlier this year that Comcast will integrate SmartZone with the MSO's WiMax service, which is already available in Portland, Ore., and being marketed under the "High-Speed 2go" brand. In late June, Comcast became the first Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) partner to launch a service that uses the carrier's mobile WiMax platform. (See Comcast Maxes Out in Portland.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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