Comcast To Launch 'On Demand Online' In Early December
Operator Will Let Subscribers Access Service Outside the Home
By Todd Spangler -, 11/13/2009 2:33:10 PM

Comcast will offer its flavor of TV Everywhere to its more than 15 million broadband and video customers beginning next month, and will allow access to the Internet-video service from up to three computers both inside and outside a user's home.

Comcast Interactive Media president Amy Banse, speaking Thursday at the NewTeeVee Live conference in San Francisco, said the On Demand Online service will launch nationwide sometime before Hanukkah (which begins Dec. 12) through and the Fancast portal.

"So if you're an HBO subscriber, you'll be able to watch Entourage on your laptop as well as on the TV set in your living room," Banse said.

The first time customers register a device with On Demand Online, Banse said, they must be in their own home. After downloading the Move Networks player as well as an authorization application that remains resident on their PC or Mac, a Comcast customer will be able to access the service over any Internet network. Each household is allowed to authenticate up to three devices.

Comcast has been running a 5,000-subscriber trial of the service since July with the participation of more than two dozen programmers, including HBO, CBS, Starz Entertainment, Discovery Communications, Cablevision Systems' Rainbow Media, Scripps Networks, A&E Television Networks and Comcast Networks.

The operator has not disclosed how many ads will run in the On Demand Online content but previously executives have said that decision will be left to the programmers. "We're in the first inning on that," Banse said. "You're going to see different programmers play with different ad loads. And we're all going to find out based on consumer reaction what the appropriate ad load is."

Initially the operator had indicated the service would be available only within a subscriber's home, authenticated via the cable modem, because it "didn't want to squeeze too much toothpaste out of the tube before we were comfortable" with the technology, said one Comcast executive, speaking on background.

Banse acknowledged that On Demand Online usage will count against Comcast's 250-Gigabyte monthly cap, as the operator's executives have previously said. "I know from my own experience, that's plenty," she said.