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Cable Show 2012: Tech Announcements Signal New Direction for Cable TV Industry

Cable WiFi and Project Dayview are among the new services that would allow high-speed Internet and wireless to be available anywhere, any time consumers want them.

BOSTON – Even before the first session kicked off at the annual cable TV industry convention, there were a flurry of announcements signaling the new direction for the industry – to make their services, especially their high-speed Internet and wireless, available anywhere, any time consumers want them before they find them somewhere else.

Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable announced Cable WiFi on Monday that will enable each other’s high-speed Internet customers to access their big city WiFi networks outside their home market, creating over 50,000 hotspots where consumers can access their Internet service.

The service has already launched in the New York City area and in central Florida. It will be rolled out by the other companies in the markets they serve throughout this year.

This is the largest and most inclusive WiFi sharing effort among cable operators to date, according to the announcement. In early 2010, Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable entered into an agreement allowing their customers in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Connecticut to access WiFi hotspots offered by each operator in these areas.   

Separately on Monday, Comcast announced Project Dayview, a new advanced user interface across TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones that combines timely information with customers to manage data and information at work, home and in their life across all of the company’s platforms, such as Xfinity TV, Voice, Internet and Home services.

“The visually striking and personal dashboard pulls information from other integrated applications to regularly refresh content that’s most relevant,” according to the Comcast announcement.  “It surfaces up-to-date alerts, appointments, texts, e-mails, voicemails and DVR data; and even a customer’s Xfinity home alarm system status, lights, thermostat/room temperatures, and security video feed, accessible on any screen.”

“The user interface can be used as a TV ‘screensaver’ for when the TV is not being actively used, and will surface content that’s most appropriate for that time of day, like showing rush-hour traffic in the morning, or the night’s primetime television lineup in the late afternoon,” according to Comcast. “This experience will be integrated into Comcast’s next-generation TV and connected TV products, as well as mobile devices and personal computers, beginning later this year.”

Comcast also announced Monday that it will launch its “next-generation television experience, Xfinity TV on the X1 Platform, and a new X1 remote control app in the coming weeks.  This cloud-enabled platform, unlike any other video service existing today, delivers the world’s largest collection of video and transforms the TV into an entirely new integrated entertainment experience.”

The new services are being launched in Boston and will be showcased during the NCTA event, which runs through Wednesday.

 Among the features which will be shown:

·         A main screen with a sleek new user interface that integrates a customer’s video experiences and enables one-click access to a highly visual display of entertainment options

·        Unified search and instant play, along with recommendations, with the ability to find entertainment content in seconds from TV listings, DVR recordings and Xfinity On Demand using a new smart remote

·         Specially tailored-for-TV features such as customized social networking and music, radio, sports, traffic and weather apps

·         Equipped with a new hybrid DVR set-top box with tru2way and IP capabilities that delivers an advanced personalized TV viewing experience as well as an enhanced remote control that offers greater responsiveness and does not require a line-of-sight connection to the set-top-box