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Comcast app turns Apple devices into remote controls

Comcast app turns Apple devices into remote controls I called it back in June!

From my June post:

And the it hit me: Apple and Google (et al.) are going about it the wrong way. The program goes on the big screen. Period. The interface is on our laptop, or iPhone, or iTouch, or (the killer one) an iPad. All have a keyboard for easy entry of urls and search; there are social applications that work just fine on those existing screens.

Trying to put the interface on a screen 20′ away without a keyboard (and wireless keyboards aren’t really an option) is just wrong: not only is it the wrong place, I don’t want to clutter my program communally (which presumably I’m watching because I enjoy it) with social media that’s personal.

The two screen approach makes much more sense. Put the program on the screen – uncluttered like  the program’s director intended – and put the control and any desired interactivity on another screen. An iPad would seem to be perfect for this, but since I don’t plan on getting one, an iPhone or iTouch or Laptop could also run the interface anywhere on the same local area network.

And that’s what Comcast have done: put all the searching and program control on an iDevices application:

The browsing and search functions do much of what a traditional remote can do: You can browse through listings, choose a show and watch it on your TV. You can also change the channel and sort through content based on genre or keyword. If you’re busy, the app also lets you program DVRs to record shows and movies.

It may just sound like a snazzier version of a remote control now, but Comcast is promising some added features to amp up the appeal. Soon, updates to the app will allow users to share what they’re watching through access to social networking sites. Other promised add-ons include the ability to stream video content directly on your Apple gadget (coming in December) and enhanced search functions (coming soon).