You and I know Fancast, the relatively new Comcast-owned streaming video portal that has offered plenty of Cinetic FilmBuff titles for free (with ads). Well, now, Fancast has relaunched as “Fancast Xfinity TV.” The big difference, as you will see from looking at the site, is that now you can watch even more films… if you’re a Comcast subscriber. This is what Comcast meant when they announced their “TV Everywhere” initiative a few months ago as a way to give subscribers a multi-platformed experience. Think of it like Netflix: you pay for the subscription each month, but you can decide between receiving a DVD or streaming movies instantly off their site. In this case, you pay for the subscription, but you can watch shows/movies on your television or online. It’s all part of that monthly fee. Here’s some of what The New York Times has to say about this week’s launch:
Comcast is the first major cable operator to introduce its streaming site. Initially the service will be available to customers who pay Comcast for both broadband Internet and digital cable.
Comcast customers will log in to the Xfinity service via Comcast.net or Fancast.com and will have to install a program before using the service for the first time. The sites rely on an authentication system to block nonsubscribers.
Because Xfinity is available only to Comcast cable subscribers, the service will include premium shows that aren’t on Hulu, the leading Web site for free TV viewing. Comcast’s partners in the service include A&E, AMC, Discovery Channel, History, TLC and TNT — cable channels that have been generally reluctant to place their shows online for fear of cannibalizing their traditional audience.
“There’s an astounding amount of content that has not been online before,” said Tom Blaxland, a senior director of product for Comcast Interactive Media.
The authentication system will also determine which channels each subscriber has access to. Subscribers to HBO, for instance, will be able to use the service to watch every episode of “The Sopranos” and the most recent season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”