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Comcast to Stream Live, On-Demand To Tablets

Comcast said it plans to enable in-home streaming for live and on-demand content this year on Apple iPads and Android-powered tablets.

In a release clearly timed for the onset of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the biggest U.S. cable operator said that "later this year, customers will be able to watch live news, TV shows and movies in their homes whenever they want."

Comcast also discussed the play-now capability of Xfinity TV that will be available on the iPad in the coming weeks and which will enable the viewing of on-demand programming on the iPad. Comcast launched the app in December after announcing details in November.

Xfinity TV online, the "TV Everywhere" service, has added features that "transform any computer into a powerful search engine and remote control," Comcast said in the release.

Comcast plans to roll out the new play-now feature, that will enable customers using the Xfinity TV iPad app to watch nearly 3,000 hours of VOD, including popular movies and hit TV shows, in the home or on-the-go, including anywhere there is a wireless connection.

Comcast plans to "bring thousands of additional choices to the iPad in the weeks and months ahead and to add the same functionality and content to Android powered devices later this year," it said.

The s Xfinity TV app functions as a television guide, remote control and mobile video player. It lets customers change TV channels, search and browse through TV and VOD listings, and program DVRs.

"Future releases of the app will include seamless access to social networking sites so customers can share what they're watching with their friends in real time, as well as a 'MyTV' feature that gives customers the ability to send and receive personal recommendations with friends on what to watch."

Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts is slated to discuss the tablet news at a Citi-sponsored media investment conference today in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"Live streaming and the play now feature on our Xfinity TV app are two important pieces of our strategy to deliver any content to any device, any time," Roberts said in a Comcast release. "Comcast has a series of upcoming online enhancements and app releases that are part of a much larger effort to reinvent how customers interact with their entertainment on TV, online and on mobile devices."

Comcast has also launched a new feature that enables customers to search for their favorite programs and to change channels on a TV set from a computer via XfinityTV.com.

The feature enables customers with laptops or desktop computers to browse, search and find TV and on-demand content online and then select and watch it on their TVs or program their DVRs to record programs for later viewing.