Comcast's plans for quad-play interoperability

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts explained the cable giant's future plans for its quadruple play offering through Sprint Nextel, and the services sound an awful lot like those being contemplated by IPTV providers. Roberts also said of his telecom rivals, Verizon and AT&T's IPTV plans: "It's real competition. Those are big companies with big plans, but what's not clear with it is whether those are good plans.''

Roberts said that the "killer apps" of its deal with Sprint would be: interoperability, wireless email and place shifted television. Roberts said, "Over time [the killer app is] going to be interoperability. Can I take my email and get it on another device? I've been watching my on-demand shows, I've stopped watching at home, I want to finish the last five minutes. Place won't matter." Roberts continued: "There'll be a relationship with the company that will manage my data, my television, my phone, my address books and my voice mails. The seamless nature of that is what mobility brings."

Roberts said telecoms and satellite providers entering the space has forced Comcast to innovate, which has led it to sell more new products last year than any other. Roberts noted that its subscriber base continues to grow.

Roberts also answered some goofy questions about voice-activated TV remotes: "It's incredible. You talk into it and say, "Watch George Clooney ," and up comes every George Clooney show that's on now or in the future to record it or watch. But it's very expensive. It's not ready for prime time... But some day."

For more on the Boston Globe Comcast interview:
- read the Q&A here