Cable Operators Buff Up Guides For Internet Age
Bradenton.com reports (from an AP report at The Cable Show) that after years of making money providing Internet service, cable TV companies are now tapping the power of the Internet to improve clunky program guides that are a relic of the 1990s.
Over the past year or so, Comcast Corp., Cablevision Systems Corp. and other cable providers have introduced new program guides on television set-top boxes. These improved guides act more like websites, making it easier to find movies, live TV shows and on-demand video.
It’s important progress for cable TV companies, which are often criticized for providing hundreds of channels that customers don’t watch. Making shows easier to find helps them justify all those channels. And that could help stave off defections to satellite and telephone companies, which have lured cable customers away with cut-rate TV services that use fancier interfaces.
Retaining and winning back those subscribers – while defending against a new batch of Web video challengers such as Netflix and Hulu – will be the focus of the industry’s annual gathering, The Cable Show, which started in Washington on Monday and runs through Wednesday.