Comcast yesterday rolled out wide beta of its Fancast Xfinity service — it’s “TV Everywhere” offering that allows Comcast subscribers to view content from basic and premium cable networks they are subscribed to online.
Currently, the test is only available to Comcast TV subscribers who also have Comcast high speed internet access, but will ultimately be available to Comcast subscribers from other Internet connections as well.
But I’m not even bothering*. I’m not a huge fan of Adobe Air. I understand its existence allows software to be developed that will run on any platform, regardless of operating system. But it effectively does that by installing another operating system on your operating system. My experiences with Adobe Air were “yeah, that app is kinda nifty, but kinda clunky” and in the end I found them more nifty than clunky I so I wound up deleting Adobe Air and any of its apps off my computer.
I recently upgraded to a new computer and so far am of the mindset of “if they won’t design it to run on stuff I already have and want to make me download a 17mb file that will also install Adobe Air, I couldn’t be bothered.”
That, plus seeing folks comment that the video quality was kinda eh for Xfinity have me not interested in even trying.
That said, there are definitely some advantages.
For example, they have the last 7 episodes of Dark Blue up, for example, to anyone who has TNT in their package, and all of season one of Party Down for Starz subscribers. I’m sticking with On Demand but none of Dark Blue is currently available there, and only the first five episodes of season one of Party Down are available. Strangely, a couple of episodes of Party Down are available whether you’re a Starz customer or not (and those episodes don’t require you to install the application that will only run via Adobe Air, but sadly the other 8 do). So again, despite my personal anti-Adobe Air bias, there is definitely some content available that isn’t available elsewhere, at least freely and without stealing it.
There is still plenty of stuff freely available in Fancast Xfinity that doesn’t require the software download an install — from what I can tell, most of the stuff that was available before can still be watched regardless. But if you want to watch stuff from certain cable channels like TNT or premium channels like HBO and Starz, most of the video requires the software.
*Yet. I’ll probably cave at some point, but for now I’m holding strong.