Comcast has announced plans to release mobile applications for watching movies and TV shows on smartphones and tablet computers.
The first device to have Comcast's Xfinity TV app will be the Apple iPad. The cable TV company said Tuesday the app would be available to subscribers at no charge this week through Apple's App Store. However, movies and TV shows won't be available for viewing until December.
The company demonstrated the software Monday at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco. Besides including a video player, the application also has a TV guide and can be used to program a Comcast digital video recorder to record movies and TV shows.
Features not yet available, but coming soon, include the ability to create a MyTV watch list of favorite content and the ability to access social networking sites, so people can share what they're watching with others, Comcast says.
"This Xfinity TV app is part of a much larger effort to reinvent the way consumers interact with their televisions by transforming the way they search, navigate, discover and share entertainment," Neil Smit, Comcast Cable president, said in a statement.
Indeed, the company plans to deliver Xfinity apps this year for as many mobile devices as possible, including Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch, Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones, and tablets and smartphones based on Google's Android operating system.
Comcast is not the only TV service provider targeting mobile devices. Earlier this month, AT&T launched an application to access U-verse TV on smartphones running Microsoft's new Windows Phone 7 operating system. The service is available at no charge to people who subscribe to the U-verse U300 package or higher. Others pay $9.99 a month.
AT&T released a U-verse app in August for the iPhone. Like Comcast, AT&T overall strategy is to release mobile applications for as many devices as possible.