Now that Comcast’s AnyPlay TV streaming service is out of development, they are now allowing subscribers in Denver and Nashville to watch any channel included in their cable lineup on their iPad or Xoom smart tablet.
The AnyPlay service lets Comcast subscribers watch live video from any network included in their Pay TV package on their tablet, as long as they are in their own home and have a wireless internet connection. More plans to make AnyPlay compatible with more mobile devices is in the works, according to Comcast spokesman Peter Dobrow.
AnyPlay is not a “watch anywhere” service, because it does not allow subscribers to watch live video on their iPads and Xoom tablets outside the home. However, Comcast recently made an agreement with Disney that will enable its subscribers to watch live video from ESPN, ABC, and other Disney-owned networks on mobile devices anywhere they go.
One of the biggest challenges that Pay TV providers face in offering live video content on mobile devices away from the home is the difficulty in obtaining mobile rights from the big networks. Most networks are used to in-home content deals, and many of the details for extracting revenue from mobile users have yet to be worked out.
With every revolutionary new service comes the fear or unintended consequences. Will live streaming anytime, anywhere hurt TV sales? Will subscribers start asking for DVR on their mobile devices once they get used to services like AnyPlay? These questions can require even more investment, or worse yet (at least for Pay TV providers) shrink revenue in unexpected places. The last thing any company wants is to roll out a new service that undercuts the sales and revenue of their existing services. How soon AnyPlay moves beyond Denver and Nashville is anybody’s guess. It sounds like a neat service, so I’m eager to hear what users of this service have to say.