Comcast Tests New Service That Combines Internet, Television

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Comcast Corp. is testing out a new service that knits together television and the internet, revamping its offering as rivals threaten to undermine its business, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Philadelphia-based cable giant is running a small test of the system in Augusta, Ga., according to people familiar with the matter, who said the company could begin making it available to customers in 2011.

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Under the test, which is known to participants as "Spectrum" and internally as "Xcalibur," content flows through a new set-top box that combines features of the web with those of a digital-video recorder, according to these people. Users can watch and search a smattering of web video through their televisions and search across live, on-demand and recorded programming. Participants also have some basic connections to social-networks to comment on shows, but they cannot browse the web.

The test marks a significant step in the efforts of the largest television distributor in the US to adapt to the rise of internet programming and the cohort of devices that make it easier and more convenient to watch.

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