Cable Meets CE: Brian Roberts on Comcast 3.0
2008 marked the first time a cable industry CEO delivered a CES keynote. Given the long-standing frictions between the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)--which sponsors CES--and the cable industry, it was striking to see CEA President/CEO Gary Shapiro introduce Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. This signaled an unprecedented convergence of interests between the cable and consumer electronics industries.
Roberts announced that Comcast has passed Embarq to become America's fourth-largest phone service provider.
He highlighted Comcast and cable industry advances in many areas where cable competes with satellite and telephone companies. Specifics included:
- More bandwidth: 100 Mbps cable Internet by 2009 using DOCSIS 3.0, a channel-bonding technology
- More on-demand HD content: Comcast plans to offer more than 1,000 High-Definition "choices" by the end of 2008, including many more channels and HD VOD programs, through something dubbed "Project Infinity". In 2009 Comcast plans to offer more than 6,000 movies a month, with more than 3,000 of them in HD.
- Content management: Jointly with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, Roberts announced that FanCast.com (Comcast's video portal) will facilitate users searching for and "managing" collections of digital entertainment on the Internet, from TV networks and movies.
- Service integration: Comcast's web-based email will integrate with VoIP voicemail, so that voicemail can be delivered to your email box as well as your phone
- Tru2way: The cable industry has rebranded its OpenCable Application Platform project with the new name "tru2way". Cable-decoding hardware to receive VOD and other interactive services will soon be integrated into many devices. Roberts said: "The age of the closed, proprietary cable box is behind us".
Roberts was joined onstage by Panasonic President Toshihiro Sakamoto to announce AnyPlay, a portable DVR and DVD combination with tru2way capability. Anyplay will be available in 2009 and will let Comcast subscribers record programming at home and take it wherever they go.
( www.ce.org ) ( www.comcast.com/ces ) ( www.americanidol.com ) ( www.fancast.com ) ( www.panasonic.com )