20080108 comcast fast downloads 18
Comcast Corp. Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts talks about Docsis 3.0 during his keynote address at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Roberts said Docsis 3.0 is a new technology that can deliver up to 160 megabits of data per second, enabling users to download high-definition movies in about four minutes. - 


KAI RYSSDAL: The cable company Comcast made a big splash today at the Consumer Electronics Show going on in Las Vegas. It's getting into the high definition video-on-demand business. Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.

Nancy Marshall Genzer: So, you bought a gazillion-inch, high-definition TV over the holidays, and now you're finding out it takes a bazillion years to download a high-def movie? Well, today in Vegas, Comcast announced it was rolling the dice on a new type of wideband technology. It lets you download an HD copy of a two-and-a-half hour movie like
"Batman Begins" in four minutes, rather than the 6 hours it takes on standard broadband.

Holy highspeed!

MICHAEL GREEN: They're really trying to bulk it up -- deliver video quicker, deliver more video.

That's Michael Green of Jupiter Research. Comcast is trying to "bulk up" its service because Verizon has been nipping at its heels. James McQuivey of Forrester Research says Comcast's wideband technology now beats Verizon, and makes satellite TV look positively prehistoric.

JAMES MCQUIVEY: The satellite players have been trying to scramble, and I think today they're probably huddled around their conference-room table, to say what can we really do to compete with an ultra-high-speed Internet connection?

Michael Green says Comcast will also try to match Apple in offering movies and TV shows over the Internet. But Apple may have the upper hand.

GREEN: Apple has extensive experience building this kind of store. It's been clearly successful with music and ultimately we can see who builds a better user experience.

Some Comcast customers will experience the wideband technology right away. But it's not clear how much it will cost.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.