By Larry Dignan | July 29, 2010, 2:32am PDT


Comcast CEO Brian Roberts has a healthy respect for Netflix and said the cable giant has to get better to thwart the threat to its video on demand offerings.
On its second quarter earnings conference call with analysts Wednesday, Roberts was asked about Netflix and how it was quickly adding subscribers. It’s a valid question since Netflix is embedded in many boxes around the entertainment center such as video game consoles and TVs. Roberts said:
On Netflix, they have done a great job. They offer a nice product and I think all we can do is try to make our products better. A number of the on-demand offerings have improved dramatically. We have something we call [Project Infinity] that has a significant leap forward in the amount of on-demand content from libraries servers. We are very excited about the potential of that technology. But one of the things Netflix does beautifully and others is give you a great way to search what is available and give you recommendations. And that is not so easily done on our electronic program guide today. So we are improving. I think we will improve.
Comcast’s Project Infinity was launched in 2008 to offer more content and video on demand. The big lesson from Roberts: Netflix is quite capable of dinging incremental cable revenue and companies like Comcast need to step up. Netflix ended the second quarter with more than 15 million subscribers, up 42 percent from a year ago. In the second quarter, Netflix added more than 1 million subscribers.
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