Taking cues from its development for Apple’s iPad, Comcast has launched a new HTML 5 interface for its XFINITY TV website. It provides one-click viewing from the front page and allows viewers to add content to a cache bin to be watched later.
GigaOM reported that the HTML 5 interface allows quicker access to content and more tools to connect their online viewing with both traditional television or its video-on-demand service. HTML 5 also adds emphasis on graphical elements.
Matt Strauss, senior vice president and general manager of Comcast Interactive Media, told GigaOM that due to the iPad’s touchscreen controls, it made sense to have a very interactive, visual interface on that app. However, a lot of what makes navigating the iPad app easy could also be applied to the new website.
He said Comcast also worked on improving content search functions. The XFINITY TV site has more than 27,000 program choices available, which means it needs strong search and retrieval tools to make it easy for viewers to locate content.
Rather than just highlighting content on the site, Comcast is also showing users where and when they can access it on their TVs as well. The user queue, the report said, aggregates linear TV and VOD listings. Viewers can set their DVR to record shows directly from the website, or set their set-top box to display a program on a TV set when available.
Comcast’s original iPad app launched as a way to browse channel listings and control DVR functions before it added on-demand content. Strauss said that even now, the thing people most use the iPad for isn’t on-demand video viewing, but the tools for navigating and controlling content on their TV sets.
Comcast, GigaOm reported, is trying to encourage new user behavior in TV viewing. It is deliberately blurring the lines between the Web, mobile and connected TV applications so that viewers will ease into using iPads and potentially a new generation of software-controlled set-top boxes.
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