Twitter turns into a TV remote as Comcast begins rolling out SEEit service

By Cory Bergman 

Last month Comcast and Twitter announced a groundbreaking partnership to tie tweets to Xfinity’s TV service. Today SEEit began rolling out, enabling subscribers to click tweets about SyFy’s Haven and Naked Vegas to watch the shows on an iOS device or set a recording on their DVR. “(It) creates an instant online remote control,” explained Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. It also bridges TV with Twitter directly, creating a new world of data on how tweets can drive TV viewing.

Here’s how it works. Tweets with a SEEit URL will display a Twitter card when tapped, offering a call-to-action to watch or record the show. When you tap the URL on your device — for example, with Naked Vegas — it takes you to a landing page that asks if you want to watch it on TV (turn the channel to it), watch on your device or set a recording:


I tapped “play,” and I was taken to a page (above right) that asks if I want to play it via the Xfinity TV Go app or the SyFy Now app. Turns out, I don’t have the Xfinity app installed on my iPhone, so it kicked me over to the iTunes store to download (below left):

Once downloaded, I was asked for my Xfinity credentials, which is the trickiest part of the process. After a few tries to remember my password, I was in. I re-tapped the “play” button on the landing page, and it whisked me straight to the Naked Vegas episode page (above right). I tapped play, and seconds later, Naked Vegas was (ahem) playing on my iPhone:

With the app installed and authenticated, this is a much more seamless process. And as TV Everywhere becomes more commonplace, viewers will become more accustomed to authenticating (and remembering those passwords.) It will be interesting to watch how SEEit drives downloads of Xfinity’s app.

Given Xfinity owns NBCUniversal, the company said SEEit will be put to good use across its slate of broadcast and cable networks, including shows like The Voice:

Earlier this week, Twitter rolled out trending TV shows in its iOS and Android apps, complete with algorithmically-curated show tweets. Together with SEEit, we can begin to see a broader picture of Twitter’s increasingly direct role in the TV ecosystem.

(Full disclosure: I work for Breaking News, which is owned by NBC, and by extension, Comcast. No, I didn’t play any role in the above product. Yes, I suggested a nearly identical idea, “Twitter as remote control” — and the trending TV shows — on Lost Remote a year ago.)