By Tim Hermes, BTR Founder and Publisher
I'll preface this that I'm a blogger, not a journalist. My research is lousy, and frankly if I can't Google it to get my answers, I don't bother. Caveat emptor. Now read on, my friends.
It's been enjoyable watching Comcast shed its old-cable skin and debut its competitor to FiOS, and do it pretty quickly. And while: a) I still see two and even three FiOS trucks parked in front of the same house on my block quite often; and b) their techs are wearing body armor (joking); and c) the cable business pays my bills, it's obvious I like the home team. But to be fair I thought I'd take a step back and see if there are any chinks in the armor in the growing competitive landscape surrounding the Comcast XFINITY and Verizon FiOS apps for iPad. Since the three-screen environment is taking off, I figured what the heck …
From what I can tell, based on my elaborate search (not) and checking out the YouTube videos of both, as well as the iTunes app store and online journals, here's what I can glean:
- Both companies offer more than one app, which can be confusing. Comcast offers XFINITY and XFINITY TV; Verizon offers FiOS and FiOS Mobile Remote.
- Both companies make claims that seem to be on the mark.
- Only one app would "work" for me: The one that gives me the chance to actually watch on-demand programs on my iPad. And that's XFINITY.
Since video is far and away the sexy side of the three-screen environment, it would make sense that being able to watch streaming video content on your iPad would be the big sell.
As far as I can tell, XFINITY can, FiOS can't. FiOS lets you do really cool stuff -- program your DVR from Beijing, set your parental controls so the kids don't need two years of therapy after stumbling on an episode of True Blood, and of course, is "remote capable" so if your STB remote is lost in the sofa cushions like mine is every day, then that is quite handy. (NOTE TO ALL APP DEVELOPERS: Someone please come up with a “find my set-top remote” app soon so I don't go half insane when the remote gets lost. We put a man on the moon 40 years ago. It’s not rocket science. Well, the whole man-on-the-moon thing was, but this isn’t. You can do this.) XFINITY has great applications too -- many of which are identical to what FiOS offers.
But I can get my Showtime fix on XFINITY. And it works too. Yes, the usual parameters are there as with FiOS -- you need an account with Comcast, a set-top that can talk to your iPad and verify your subscription, yada yada. But it works.
So for now, for me, the game, set and match goes to Comcast. Other people will have a much different take. But that's mine. And for now, I'm sticking to it.
P.S.: A big “get well” shout-out goes to BTR team members Nancy Maynard and Angel Duff. We’re looking forward to having you back soon!
Tim Hermes is CEO at BTR. Email him at email@example.com.