CES Report: Comcast Says Apple Is Coming for Us, We’re Ready
Whatever the Apple television ultimately looks like, it could shake up the pay TV industry. Comcast is trying to prepare ahead of time.
As often happens at the International CES conference, the missing player is the one that gets the most attention.
Apple doesn't exhibit at CES, but that doesn't mean it isn't a presence. At a panel discussion called "The NexGen Entertainment Home Experience," talk quickly turned to Apple and how the rumored Apple big-screen television could impact the pay television industry.
"Knowing they're coming after us is motivating," said Randall Hounsell, vice president of mobility solutions for Comcast. While expressing respect for Apple's accomplishments, Hounsell said that knowing that Apple would likely attempt to carve out its own piece of the pay television industry was a driving force to create better products and services. Comcast's goal, after all, is to grow its core business, he added.
"We know they're coming. We don't know what it's going to look like," Hounsell said.
To prepare for future assaults, Comcast is focusing on making mobile devices work better with the television. While mobile devices are getting better at interacting with each other, Hounsell said, TV is the missing piece.
Whatever road Apple ultimately takes, Hounsell thinks conquering television won't be an easy road.
"They're going to have to do something five-fold better than what's out there to get people to change their behavior around TV," Hounsell said.
When polled by the moderator, far less than half the audience thought that Apple would release a television in 2013, but most thought the product was inevitable sometime in the future.
Viewers will gain greater connected viewing and social viewing options, plus ways to manage infinite choices.
The service looks especially light on new release movies, but it's $3 per month cheaper than Netflix.
Authenticated Comcast Xfinity TV customers can now stream live and on-demand video through a trio of iOS apps.
Apple may have found a way to make broadcasters accept ad-skipping: pay them for missed views.