Comcast to announce all-on-demand service this morning

Scott Fulton, BetaNews: During his keynote address later this morning at CES 2008, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is slated to introduce a venerable onslaught of brands to the public at large, at least one of which could have a significant and perhaps historic impact on cable television service.

For now, the big announcement is being referred to as "Project Infinity," and it involves nothing short of the deprogramming of the programs it offers from all its content providers.

Comcast corporate statement Tuesday morning: Project Infinity envisions ever-increasing customer choice that continues the evolution of time-shifted viewing that began with the huge success of Comcast On Demand. Comcast's vision is to give customers exponentially more content choices -- all available to consumers at the click of the remote without having to buy any additional equipment.

Scott Fulton: Conceivably, the service could involve a kind of DV-R on the server side, effectively pre-recording all its shows at the source and delivering them over IPTV connections to digital cable subscribers on their own schedules. It could be a simpler service than you think, since Comcast would only need to store a few cached recordings, which could be far more efficient than distributing millions of DVRs just so millions of viewers can record programs on the receiving end.

And with a local hard drive not being necessary, the cost of service subscription may reflect that one less item.

Likely to be featured as part of this service is a new Comcast brand called Fancast. Subscribers will be able to tune-in on demand to recorded content that viewers have missed, and may do so not necessarily through their TVs. Replayed shows will also be made available through the Web.

Comcast corporate statement Tuesday morning: Need to decide what to watch tonight? On Fancast users can search for video content and entertainment information they're looking for on over 11 million web pages including information on more than 50,000 television shows, 80,000 movies and 1.2 million people combining multiple sources of entertainment information.

So yes, there's a social aspect of it as well. More from Brian Roberts' keynote at CES later in the day.

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