January 10, 2005 4:58 PM PST

Comcast to launch IM with video

Cable and broadband giant Comcast plans to launch a video instant messaging service later this year, further highlighting the cable giant's effort to become a Web portal for its subscribers.

The new unnamed IM service will launch in the middle of 2005 and come bundled with video streaming capabilities, Comcast spokeswoman Jeanne Russo confirmed. The video addition would be similar to features offered by Web portal giants America Online, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN that allow users to communicate via Web cam during IM text chats.

Comcast's move to offer IM is not surprising, since the company has the most broadband Internet customers in the country--6.5 million reported in the third quarter of last year. IM has become one of the most popular Internet applications, allowing people to exchange text messages in real-time. IM leaders AOL, MSN and Yahoo have amassed hundreds of millions of users and have steadily beefed up their services with bells and whistles such as animated icons and fancy wallpapers.

For more than a year, Comcast has been building out its Comcast.net service with more high-bandwidth multimedia features. For example, subscribers can attach a 45-second Web cam video clip into e-mail messages, or send up to 10 photos with audio narration. The company gave away Web cams to new subscribers during the third quarter last year, and offered discounts for existing customers.

"Video IM would be next iteration of that natural progression in the road map," Russo said.

Comcast's Russo said the company would use third-party IM technology for parts of the service, but she would not comment on which companies are being considered.

Comcast's interest in video IM was first revealed on Monday by CEO Brian Roberts during a presentation at Smith Barney's Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference. Roberts added that the company will release more customization features in its Comcast.net Web portal this year.

Roberts also outlined Comcast's plan to offer Internet voice calls, or VoIP, to its subscribers. Comcast plans to market the service to 15 million customers in its national footprint by the end of the year, Roberts said. Comcast joins other companies, notably Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, in offering a VoIP service throughout its markets as part of its "triple play" package of voice, video and high speed Internet.

8 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
They should make pc's and cars while they are at it!
it's the old "we can build anything we want and everyone will buy it" syndrome.

why would they enter this already crowded market? did they not see the blunders AOL made in having everything in-house?
Posted by Lite Rocker (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Comcast Messenger Whereforth Are Thou?
The Jan announcement of Comcast Messenger seems to have been mistaken about its debut. Where's it at?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
mistaken
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/chrysler_owners_manual.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/chrysler_owners_manual.htm</a>
Posted by Al Johnsons (157 comments )
Link Flag
instant messaging
Instant Messaging, Where are you??
Posted by rkndoopsie (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Its hard to believe that the best ISP dosen't have Instant Messaging
Wow, I am impressed with every facit of the Comcast experience, but what about IM where is it and when you expect to have it. With Comcast being the leader and I believe it is, it's hard to believe that someone has not yet made IM a part of the comcast experience. It would make it that much better.

Thanks

Kenny
Ocala Florida
Posted by gatork (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Comcast Messenger
More and more people I know are purchasing comcast.
However thre isn't any messenger service. I am using windows live messenger but others I know are using aol,yahoo etc... I want a messenger that can contact anyone anywhere no matter what service they subscribe to!!! I'm tired of downloading different Ims in order to talk to different people. Please comcast do us a favor and get the Im rolling!!!
Posted by ajavelinrosey (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Hey everyone
Posted by monkeygirl56 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
lewmanc, here and I don't care for yahoo or msn instand im , so I wish comcast would please get thier's out there. Please...........
Posted by lewmanc (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.