As expected (and reinforced), Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand content is now available to TiVo Premiere owners in the San Francisco Bay Area. Of course, the offering requires a Comcast cable television subscription but it doesn’t require Comcast Internet service (as the possibly anti-competitive Xbox 360 Xfinity initiative does) – communication is handled via IP, while video is served over QAM. Content includes both all the free On Demand content, that makes generic cable boxes occasionally more appealing than TiVo’s hardware, in addition to traditional pay-per-view.
First hand reports are starting to trickle in via the forums with Jason Kersey sharing some initial feedback and these photographs. He reports that the interface is something of a cross between TiVo’s standard definition UI and newer HDUI, with some visual inconsistencies. However, I’m willing to be the vast majority of folks won’t be troubled – as bad as TiVo can be, it’s still better than Comcast’s box. Not to mention, the content remains king. In terms of that content, I assume it’s standard On Demand fair which Jason describes as pretty good and better than Netflix. Integration also extends to TiVo’s iOS, as you can see from the iPad screenshot below. Interestingly, with at least some content, fast forwarding is disabled. You might think this isn’t a prob… yet, we know Comcast intends to deliver On Demand advertising.
As mentioned, the Bay Area is up first – presumably due to TiVo’s corporate colocation and this also happens to be one of Comcast’s largest markets. But TiVo indicates others markets will come online in the “coming months” and it’ll be interesting to see how the marketing tie-up between to two evolves, as the original agreement alluded too. Regardless, I’m confident this initiative will surely outperform the ill-fated Motorola Comcast TiVo that never made it beyond New England.