If there's anything that could make me forgive the general dorkiness of Comcast's "Xfinity" rebranding, it's this incredibly awesome demo of a prototype web app for controlling Xfinity cable and On Demand. Guys, release this and we'll call it even.
Flicking through an interactive channel guide without taking up precious TV real estate? That's cool. But the real game changer here is liberating On Demand content from the hierarchical text-based misery of most current systems. Instead of using your current remote's dumb, unresponsive rubber buttons to drill down through Premium Content > HBO > HBO Series > Treme; finding that they haven't updated the folder with the latest episode; and starting the whole maddening process over again, you could sift through all those shows and movies with full cover art, while still watching something else on your TV all the while.
Not to mention the ability to search across all of On Demand's expansive offerings. Xfinity CEO Brian Roberts says it himself: an external keyboard like the iPad's is the "missing link" for taking the cable TV experience to the next level. Future anthropologists will look back and pinpoint this web app as the tool that transformed us from TV-watching monkeys into enlightened TV consumers (just without that whole erectus bit?)
Roberts demoed the prototype app on an iPad, though since it's a web app it'll work on laptops and smartphones too, and social features like chat and the ability to invite friends to watch what you're watching on their TVs only sweeten the deal. You've done well, Xfinity. Now let us play with it. [Xfinity]