Advanced Television

Comcast “we’re more than stodgy set tops”

June 22, 2011

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has told Fortune magazine wants to shift the perception of the cable company and being a stodgy provider of bulky cable set top boxes is a thing of the past. “We recognize that the business is changing and has changed, and we’re well aware that there’s new competition,” he said.

Roberts previewed a major update to its Xfinity service, which includes a simplified remote control and an enhanced “Xcaliber” programme guide with a new user interface that emphasises what he described as a simplified more Apple-like way to view content, including a search engine that lets users discover programmes based on title, actors and actresses, and sports teams.

On Netflix he said: Whether its business prospects are good or over-hyped . . . your guess is as good as mine,” he admitted. “But they do a lot of things really well and they resonate with consumers, so there will be people who try and copy that.” For Comcast’s broadband division, which he says sold more last year than the year prior, it’s provided more business. As for whether Netflix poses a threat to cable providers, he says “the jury’s out. So far, it’s not having much effect.”

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