Comcast's New Video Offerings: Portable DVR and Fancast
Comcast and Panasonic yesterday announced a new media device that works like a conventional digital-video recorder in the home, but that can also be taken on the road to serve as a portable media player. They call it the AnyPlay portable DVR, which will be available in early 2009.
Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts also talked about Tru2Way technology, the name for its open-standards system. He said the technology decodes the disparate systems used by different cable operators. In other words, one cable box will be able to work with multiple cable providers. Right now, each cable company has its own proprietary systems for its guides and on-demand services. So you can't us the same cable box to hook up to Time Warner in New York and also to Comcast's system in Washington. The new technology establishes a baseline standard that works across most cable systems. The cable industry has been working on this technology for quite some time.
During the keynote, Roberts also dazzled the audience with the super-fast cable modems, called Doscis 3.0, soon to hit the market. American Idol host Ryan Seacrest joined him on stage to announce a Web service called Fancast, which allows Comcast subscribers to use their PCs to search for and manage collections of digital entertainment on the Internet. It recommends TV shows and movies the viewer can get on demand to your computer.
The audience here at CES is typically tough to impress. But Roberts drew cheers when Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, the stars of HBO's offbeat comedy, "The Flight of the Conchords," came onstage for a live performance.
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