Comcast Introduces Video *Download* Beta

Dave Zatz —  September 3, 2008

Comcast’s Fancast property has recently expanded from solely streaming (Hulu) web video, to offering Internet video downloads. Joining the likes of Amazon Unbox, CinemaNow, and Blockbuster the Fancast Media Manager allows you to rent or purchase television and movie content for Windows PC viewing. Though playback is limited to Windows, the Fancast Store (Beta) supports web purchases from other operating systems, such as Mac OS X. Combined with a variety of similar language, technology, and licensing (up to three PCs), I suspect Amazon is the silent partner powering Fancast. In fact, Amazon alluded to similar technology partnerships back in July:

The video store will [also] be accessible through the Sony Bravia Internet Video link, a $300 tower-shaped device that funnels Web video directly to Sony’s high-definition televisions. Mr. Carr said Amazon would pursue similar deals with other makers of TVs and Internet devices. “We can support both streaming and downloading,” he said.

At the end of the day, most folks prefer to watch long form content on a television. So, paying for computer-based video will remain a niche market. The only question I have is, do the ~2.5GB SD movie downloads count against my upcoming Comcast bandwidth cap?

8 responses to Comcast Introduces Video *Download* Beta

  1. “…The only question I have is, do the ~2.5GB SD movie downloads count against my upcoming Comcast bandwidth cap?”

    Call me cynical, but I’d say “no” since it is from the Sith Lords themselves. Now anything that isn’t a Comcast property will burn through your alloted ones and zeros very quickly, but hey that’s what they want, right?

    Just like the mobile carriers don’t put a call minute meter in plain sight on your phone ( hoping you’ll go over and give them a nice juicy fee ) I predict that Comcast will start mixing in content that is not their property to get you to go over your cap.

    Fancast “portal” will have a mix of Comcast properties AND non-Comcast properties, no visual designation between the two, and your one mouse click away from watching some 30g movie or sports event? No meter, no notice, just a $175.00 overage on your next billing statement ( weeks after you went over the cap )?

    That’s Comcastic®!

  2. I did a little Googling and it looks like Comcast has stated Fancast video will indeed count against the cap. Something they probably have to do to stay out of court.

  3. This has to go mobile. That’s the biggest reason to download content rather than stream. So you can take it with you when there’s no Internet connection.

  4. If they’re following in Amazon’s footsteps, there are some mobile devices it can work with. Though none of them originate in Cupertino.

  5. NewTeeVee spoke with Comcast who say it’s not Amazon, all home grown. Which means imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

  6. Dave — can you link to the site that says specifically that Comcast will be including these downloads in the cap? I see several that say they expect them to count against it, but nothing more specific than that. Thanks!

  7. NY Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/30/technology/30comcast.html
    “Comcast says Fancast, its online video Web site, will count against the 250 gigabyte limit, but its digital voice service will not.”

  8. Whatever. Care not a bit do I.