Comcast Corp. yesterday launched its "TV Everywhere" service that puts HBO, Starz, and other cable networks online for 8 million to 10 million customers who subscribe to both cable-TV and broadband Internet service.
Those subscribers can go to Fancast.com to view Comcast entertainment and news not previously available online. For access, a subscriber submits their Comcast e-mail and password on Fancast.com or Comcast.net.
The service makes available most of the same content that a Comcast subscriber gets on their cable-TV service. So a customer with HBO on their TV will get HBO on the Internet.
About 30 cable-TV networks are participating in the service. The service is free for Comcast subscribers and can't be viewed by those who don't subscribe to Comcast.
Comcast officials said they would make the service available to Comcast cable-TV customers who don't have Comcast Internet in about six months. That way, a Comcast cable-TV customer could access the entertainment through a separate Internet provider.
Brian Roberts, the company's chief executive, announced the project during the summer and about 5,000 Comcast customers tested the service over the last several months.
A Comcast official said that the new Internet service has about 2,000 hours of entertainment programming, including Starz movies.
Smaller cable operators and open-Internet advocates fear that Comcast is attempting to duplicate its cable-TV model online and could eventually charge for the package of programming delivered over the Internet.