Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) said Thursday that its Xfinity TV customers who also subscribe to Showtime will be able to download Dexter, Homeland and other hit original series to Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Android tablets and smartphones for offline viewing.
While Comcast and other major distributors allow subscribers to use TV Everywhere apps such as HBO Go to stream video to mobile devices, Comcast is the first provider to let subscribers download content for offline viewing in subways, airplanes, automobiles and other places with limited access to the Web. Comcast said Thursday that subscribers can also download content from Starz, Encore and Movieplex for offline viewing, and that it is working on rights deals with other programmers to expand the amount of content available on its Xfinity TV Player app for offline viewing.
Comcast, which has a marketing and innovation joint venture with Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), said that Verizon Wireless customers will be able to download and stream content directly to mobile devices via Verizon's 4G LTE network. But Comcast spokesman Peter Dobrow told FierceCable that the data consumed for downloading content via the Verizon Wireless network would count toward the subscriber's mobile data plan.
The expanded Xfinity TV Player capabilities debuted about two months after Comcast filed a trademark application for the brand DOWNLOAD2GO. DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) filed a trademark application for a product called "Grab & Go" in September.
Comcast didn't name the technology vendors that it is working with on the new mobile video function. It's worth noting that Penthera Partners, which is run by cable pioneer and Insight Communications founder Michael Willner, has been pitching Comcast and other distributors software that can be used to transfer high-definition video to mobile phones and tablets.
- see the Comcast release
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