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Comcast's xFinity TV Is Only the Beginning of a Model for Online Cable

With all of the hoo-ha out there about Comcast's successful takeover of NBC Universal, it would have been easy for "TV Everywhere", Comcast's attempt at preserving cable subscription revenue, to get lost in the shuffle. But Comcast clearly has its eye on that ball, launching "TV Everywhere", re-branded xFinityTV, yesterday via its Fancast streaming site and Comcast.net. The service is available only to Comcast customers who subscribe to both digital broadband and cable, letting them get access to cable programming that otherwise wouldn't be accessible online. As for the rest of us, many of whom can't be serviced by Comcast ... well, more on that in a minute.

It's certainly heartening to see cable's biggest player getting out in front of potentially vast revenue issues, which is something we haven't seen enough of in the fifteen years or so since the dawn of the Web. But here's the thing: for all of the programming that runs over Comcast's cable network, and for all of the programming it now owns, it can't singlehandedly invent the model for streaming cable programming over the Web. The next logical step is for other cable operators to join xFinityTV, or develop a rival that works under the same premise. You can't have an online video market that doesn't offer distribution for all, even at a price. Otherwise, consumers will find an end-around to get the content they feel is their right; just ask the music business about that. (Logo shot via AllThingsD. Couldn't find another one online.)

Previous coverage of "TV Everywhere" at BNET Media:

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