Cox Upgrades its VOD Service's On-Screen Interface

--Comcast Launches TV- and PC-Based Caller ID in San Francisco Bay Area

Cable MSO, Cox Communications, announced last week that it has upgraded the on-screen interface for its VOD service in Rhode Island and Connecticut, in order to provide "faster and simpler" navigation. The update, which is free-of-charge, is available immediately to digital customers in those states, the company says. "Cox's goal is to provide customers with an attractive, fast and intuitive on-demand experience," Doreen Studley, VP of marketing for Cox New England, said in a prepared statement. "The new features make navigation easy, and Cox has increased the amount of on-demand programming available to subscribers."

According to Cox, the upgrade includes:

  • Horizontal scrolling, in order to provide quicker navigation through folders.
  • "Skip" functionality, which allows viewers to skip forward or backward in 15-minute intervals while fast-forwarding or rewinding.
  • The availability of movie previews directly from a folder's main menu.
  • An "Instant Replay" function that allows viewers to jump back 10 seconds.

As well as upgrading its VOD service's interface, Cox says it is adding more content to the service's FreeZone, HD and movies-on-demand categories.

In other cable MSO news: Comcast announced last week that it has launched its Universal Caller ID service to its triple-play customers in the San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey/Salinas--with the exception of Aptos, Capitola, Half Moon Bay, Isleton, La Honda, Mendocino, Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Soquel, Tower Park and Watsonville (note: Comcast launched the service on its Central California and North Santa Barbara systems earlier this summer; other markets in which the MSO has recently launched the service include Michigan, Colorado, Oregon and Southwest Washington). The service, which is offered at no extra charge and which will be rolled out over the next two weeks, displays the name and phone number associated with an incoming call on a pop-up banner on the TV or computer screen: the customer can then either answer the phone or press "exit" to go back to the TV show they were watching or the online activity they were involved in before the phone rang. The interactive TV implementation of the service will activate automatically, Comcast says, so that incoming caller information will appear on customers' television sets as soon as the service becomes available to their home; customers can download the PC version of the service, meanwhile, at Customers have the options of turning the TV version of service off, or of setting it to snooze, so that it doesn't interrupt their viewing.

North America