Fancast – A New Entertainment Portal From Comcast | Web 2.0 + Video Clips + Listings

3 min read

Fancast LogoFancast is a new entertainment portal from Comcast.

in beta version testing, the portal aims to be “the one place
where you
can find what to watch, where to watch, when to watch it —
plus all the
video, photos and facts you crave.

beta is now open to the
public and provides a comprehensive database of TV shows, movies,
actors, directors, movie trailers and various other video

of it as web 2.0 meets IMDB
meets TV Guide.
In order to enjoy all features and use Fancast to its full extent, you
must become a registered user and inform the site of your likes and
dislikes by using a rating system and the “favorites” feature.

Taking a further look at what Comcast
has built, I discovered that this portal has a lot of potential and
combines several interesting and useful features into one central, free
service. It does, however, have its fair share of drawbacks.

The Good

After signing up for this service, I filled out a short
page with no more than 5 questions for me, including what area I live
in (by zip code) and who my cable service provider is (which happens to
be Verizon
FiOS, a competitor of

It was very quick and simple, which impressed me, and it was
able to give the service a head start on providing suggestions on what
I should watch, which is the primary mission of the service.

Once I clicked to view the TV listings, I was surprised to see
it provided me with the full channel listing and programming lineup for
my Verizon
FiOS television service. 

Since Verizon’s FiOS TV is a competitor to Comcast’s cable
offerings, I
was expecting the site to only provide Comcast channel lineups. Kudos
to Comcast for being brave enough to provide information from the

A great addition to the service are video clips of movie
interviews and news. Although the service just recently launched, the
video database seems to have quite a large variety of great video

Also worth noting, Fancast has a fun feature called
“Six Degrees.” It follows the style of the
degrees of Kevin Bacon”
game by providing related content, people or genres that, in some way,
are related to the listing you are viewing. 

When viewing a listing,
there is a section titled “Browse related” which offers links to other
related listings. This section ties into the Six Degrees features by
showing you how the suggested listing is related to the one that you
are currently viewing.

Fancast Screenshot

The Bad

One of the first things I noticed about Fancast is the tagging
system that provides descriptive tags for each listing. 

I thought this
was great and would allow users to help define listings, until I
discovered that users cannot add tags. Why not? Tagging has become a
staple of web 2.0, but most sites let the users
add their own tags.

While on the subject of “tags,” I also noticed that the
results of
tag searches seem cluttered and unorganized. It would make sense, to
me, to at least organize the results into categories (Movies, TV Shows,

This was not the case, however, when performing a traditional
search, which categorizes the results and allows you to narrow your
results by choosing a category (TV, Movies, People, Tags).

Another concern that I had with Fancast deals with the TV
It has the ability to filter what channels/programming are shown to
you, but there are not enough filters to choose from. 

As of now, the
only choices are movies, sports, kids, and HD. What about TV shows? How
about filters for genres, such as drama, romantic, or comedy?

Perhaps by biggest concerns with Fancast, right now, are the
page loading times. Since the majority of the site is flash and
graphic-intensive, this could be an issue for users with slower

The Future

Eventually, Fancast plans to provide full-length television
shows from Comcast networks as well as NBC,
Fox, and others
through a content-distribution deal that Comcast has entered into with
NBC and News Corporation’s joint
“billion dollar” venture

We will have to wait and see how
this plays out, since NBC
Universal and News
Corp. have yet to develop a name or website, let alone a
service to provide to others.

Currently, there is a “Movie Tickets” link in to top menu of
service that allows users to buy movie theater tickets by linking to
the website,
which was purchased
by Comcast in April. Later down the road, Comcast plans to
integrate some Fandango features directly into Fancast.


Overall, I found Fancast
provide a useful service. It is great for anyone who wants to discover
new television programming and movies that they may like. Also, it
provides detailed and useful TV listings for most cable providers,
which is a big plus.

If Comcast can keep up the good work and resolve some of its
launch issues, it could eventually have the “outstanding
experience” that it envisioned
back in April.

Michael Garrett is a contributing author discussing the social networking world, his work can be found on