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Comcast Upgrades Streaming App for iPad

2 Feb, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Comcast Corp. Feb. 2 upgraded its app for the Apple iPad that allows its Xfinity TV subscribers to stream (versus download) TV programming and select movies on-demand.

The app represents another move by Comcast to thwart increasing market share gains by Netflix, which recently said it topped 20 million monthly subscribers, largely due to its streaming service of TV programming.

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, currently has more than 24 million subscribers.

The new feature is available as part of an updated version of the Xfinity TV app that has been downloaded more than 1 million times since its launch last November.

Content from premium cable networks — including HBO, Showtime, Starz, Encore, Cinemax and MoviePlex — can be accessed for free by Xfinity TV subscribers of those networks, in addition to programming from TBS, TNT, Cartoon Network and BBC America.

Other content available via the iPad app includes nearly 3,000 hours of hit TV shows or series like: HBO’s "True Blood" (every episode from all three seasons), "Boardwalk Empire" and "Big Love"; Showtime’s "Dexter," "Weeds" and "Californication" (every episode from first three seasons, plus new episodes from season four); Starz’s "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" (season one) and "Spartacus: Gods of the Arena" (prequel). Top movies in a variety of categories include popular films Alice in Wonderland, 2012 and The Hangover; kids’ movies including G-Force and Monsters vs. Aliens; Oscar winners or nominees including An Education and The Blind Side; plus a variety of romantic comedies, dramas, thrillers and horror films.

“The Xfinity TV app with video streaming is part of our ongoing effort to deliver great entertainment experiences for our customers on all screens and devices,” said Matt Strauss, SVP and general manager with Comcast Interactive Media. “We have an aggressive development plan to introduce even more features in the coming months that enable customers to more richly watch, control, and personalize their entertainment experience.”

In a Feb. 2 analyst call, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said the “TV Everywhere” concept, promoted by Comcast’s Xfinity TV and other services, represented the quickest (compared to TV DVD and Netflix) transition of primetime and original TV programming to consumer control.

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