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Comcast Extends Auto-Logins to TV Everywhere Web Portal

In an attempt to lower the historic usage barrier for TV Everywhere, Comcast has introduced an automatic, in-home authentication system called Home Pass that will initially be supported on the MSO’s Web-based TV Everywhere portal, Xfinity.com/tv.

Home Pass automatically logs in customers when they are accessing the portal from their home modems and gateways. “It will give [customers] immediate access to the massive library of more than 285,000 video choices available through our site, which is home to both On Demand and Live streaming TV content,” Matt Strauss, senior vice president of digital and emerging platforms at Comcast, noted in a blog post announcing Home Pass.

Strauss hinted at Home Pass at NewBay Media’s “TV in a Multiplatform World” event in New York City in May. Comcast, he said, was heading toward a system that would “remove the authentication process from the equation. The point is to make it as seamless as possible, to the point where it’s almost happening in the background.”

On the blog, Strauss noted that Comcast first tested the feature during the London Olympics and the March Madness college basketball tournament in March, and is now making it a permanent feature. Strauss didn’t identify any vendors by name in the blog, but the 2.0 version of the Adobe’s Adobe Pass authentication system, which was used for the Olympics by Cablevision Systems, Comcast and NBC Universal, added an auto-authentication feature that verifies subscribers based on the IP or MAC address of their home cable modem.

A Comcast spokeswoman said the goal is to extend Home Pass to other platforms that support the MSO’s TV Everywhere apps and services, but didn’t provide an anticipated timeframe for that. Other devices that currently support Comcast TV Everywhere apps include those powered by Apple iOS, Android (including most recently the Kindle FireHD), and the Xbox 360.

She added that Comcast is also exploring the idea of expanding Home Pass to discrete TV Everywhere apps developed and operated by individual programmers.

To ease the sign-in process in other areas, Comcast recently launched Facebook Connect, a component that lets customers link their Comcast.net accounts to their Facebook accounts. The MSO has also introduced a “rolling remember me” feature that keeps customers signed in to a designated computer for up to 30 days.