Comcast looks to on-demand, Web

Company wants to boost standing

Comcast is looking to on-demand hi-def and the Web to help bolster its standing against increasing competition from telcoms.

In a keynote address Tuesday, the first every by a cable exec at the Consumer Electronics Show, Comcast topper Brian Roberts announced that his company plans to significantly up its library of hi-def movies and TV shows available on demand. He also unveiled a new technology called Wideband that he said could deliver HD movies download in just four minutes. On services like Xbox Live, downloading a hi def movie typically takes several hours. Wideband is expected to get an initial roll-out to several million Comcast subs this year.

Company also publicly launched Fancast.com, its entertainment portal that has been in beta since last summer. It features on-demand TV from providers like CBS and NBC and Fox’s Hulu that are syndicating online, as well as the ability for users to program a DVR online and buy movie tickets through Fandango, which Comcast acquired last year.