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​Comcast lets subscribers put themselves on live TV

Just when cable channels HBO and Showtime are up in arms about Periscope users live streaming Saturday's Mayweather-Pacquiao fight, cable provider Comcast makes streaming a part of the package.

The company rolled out the new Xfinity Share app to let subscribers send a live video stream over the Internet to their friends' and families' TV sets.

"We're giving our customers the power to share special moments in their lives as they happen," said Patti Loyack, Comcast Cable's vice president of communications. "Whether a child's baseball game, a graduation or just a beautiful sunset, Share lets users broadcast whatever they see in real time to the biggest screen in the home. So now a grandmother in San Francisco can watch along on her TV at the exact moment her grandson in Philadelphia blows out his birthday candles."

They must both be Comcast Xfinity Triple Play customers with an X1 DVR capable set-top box. And the broadcaster has to have downloaded the app onto his iOS or Android phone or tablet.

Comcast is among the first TV companies to get in on the live streaming trend exemplified by sites such as YouNow and apps like Periscope and Meerkat. Those apps were the focus of a lot of attention in the days following Saturday's bout between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, as many people used them to illegally broadcast the big fight over the Internet, letting others eschew the $100 pay-per-view price.

So how is this Comcast offering different?

"That was a situation where anyone in the world could tune in. It could be a total stranger," said CNET's Bridget Carey. "This more like someone you know, somebody in your contact list."

And that is, of course, how Comcast wants you to use the service -- as a way to share personal moments with people you know. If you choose to point your iPhone camera at a piece of copyrighted material and beam it to another person, that's just as illegal, of course. But the scope is much more narrow.

The scope will grow some by the end of the year, however. Comcast says it will add the ability to send content to up to five people at once, and to create a URL to "share content with virtually anyone."

  • Amanda Schupak

    Amanda Schupak is the science and technology editor at CBSNews.com