Comcast unwraps iPad app

Comcast's new iPad app lets users browse listings, search programs, record, and change channels.

Comcast subscribers can now control their cable boxes with their iPads.

The Xfinity Remote, a new free iPad app introduced by Comcast today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, allows cable subscribers to browse listings, perform text-based searches, record programs on a digital video recorder, and change channels using their iPad. It also allows users to make live recommendations of programs to other users on the network.

Here's a demonstration of the app by Comcast.

Although the initial version of the app is for the iPad, an Android version will be released next month. Also during that time frame, senior vice president and general manager for Comcast Interactive Media Matt Strauss notes, a feature will be added to the iPad app that will allow the viewing of video content at home or on the road.

"The app also will soon integrate access to social media sites so you can share what you're watching with others in real time," he added.

Verizon introduced a similar iPad app for its FIOS service in June. Verizon's app also allows subscribers to browse listings, schedule recordings, and perform text searches--but actual channel switching can't be performed from the iPad. Verizon is expected to add the ability to watch live programming on the app sometime next year.

Time Warner Cable also has an iPad app in the wings. It demonstrated the app in August, but hasn't yet set a date for release.

"Today's announcement is just the first of a series of innovations that our development teams will deliver for devices across a variety of operating systems," Strauss said. "We're also working on apps with similar functionality for additional tablets, laptops, PCs, and smartphones."

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