Comcast has introduced some downloadable applications recently and, at the same time, it’s been in the process of rebranding its services under the "XFinity" logo. It’s all gotten a bit confusing.

Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas offered some clarification. He says there are two different apps: The XFinity Mobile app and the XFinity TV app. The XFinity Mobile app was introduced in 2009, originally named the Comcast Mobile app. (For the original announcement, click here). Depending on what services an individual purchases, subscribers can use it to check their e-mail, listen to voice mail, tap into contacts, auto-forward phone calls and remotely program their DVRs.

In November 2010, Comcast unveiled an application for the iPad, which allows digital video subscribers to use their iPads as a remote control for their TVs. This app has been named the XFinity TV app. (For more, see Off The Couch How The iPad Is Evolutionizing Remote TV).

The two apps can be linked. For example, if a sub is using the XFinity Mobile app and wants to remotely program his or her DVR, he or she automatically will be taken to the XFinity TV app, says Douglas. But if a sub only subscribes to digital cable and is not interested in the mobile app, the sub can download the XFinity TV app to use an iPad as a remote control.

Yesterday, Comcast announced it had updated its Xfinity TV app, which is offered for free to Xfinity TV digital customers; it has been downloaded more than one million times since its launch in mid-November. The new update brings video streaming on the XFinity TV app for iPad, turning the tablet into a mobile video player and TV guide all in one. Initially, content is available from premium cable networks including HBO, SHOWTIME, Starz, Encore, Cinemax and MoviePlex.

Earlier this week, Comcast struck a content deal with Time Warner for programming from TBS, TNT, CNN, HLN, Cartoon Network, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, and Adult Swim to be streamed to the iPad. The content will appear shortly after initial airing.

“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, senior vice president and GM/Comcast Interactive Media, in a statement. “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.”

Douglas adds, "We’ve hired about 1,000 developers – a lot here in Philly – over time to really get into a very aggressive development cycle to continually enhance our apps. We’ve launched the Xfinity Mobile app on Android and will shortly launch the XFinity TV app on Android." On the roadmap for this year are more personal functions and live video streaming.

He also says the video streaming for iPad currently is available through a Wi-Fi connection because "the speed and overall experience is a really good customer experience." But streaming to tablets over 3G also is on Comcast’s roadmap.

-Linda Hardesty

The Daily


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