Comcast debuts Cloud DVR in Philadelphia, Chicago will be next

DENVER--Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) rolled out its network-based cloud DVR technology in Philadelphia this week and plans to launch the technology in Chicago next week.  Speaking at the Light Reading Cable Next-gen Strategies & Technologies event here, Comcast VP of IP Video Engineering Allen Broome said that the MSO's cloud DVR service is part of the company's bigger migration to IP video and its X1 platform.

The addition of Philadelphia and Chicago to Comcast's cloud DVR footprint is significant as the company so far had only launched the technology in one market--Boston--in January.

Comcast's cloud DVR service gives subscribers the option of downloading up to 10 recorded programs to Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and iPhone for offline viewing. The company has said it is working on adding the download-to-go option to Android devices as well.

Broome also said that the company is also planning to launch an IP-only set-top box this month. He noted that video-on-demand content will be delivered over IP but that linear content will have to be converted to IP.

In addition, Broome noted that multicast is a big priority for Comcast and the company plans to trial multicast technology in third quarter of this year. "We are investing in the technology," he noted.  

In 2010, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) became the first U.S. cable operator to deploy a network-based DVR. The MSO has since stopped ordering physical DVRs, which has helped it reduce capital spending. Several other major MSOs have said they are considering deploying network DVRs, including Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications and Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR).

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