The product will allow people to import contacts from other sources, among them Facebook and Gmail. To use the service, Comcast customers will need a video camera, an adapter box, and special remote control.
Another barrier to entry will be the price. Cable companies already collect fees for TV, broadband, and VoIP, and there is no assurance the consumers will be willing to add another service to an already service-rich cable connection. Comcast has elected to avoid the price issue for now, but bundled cable packages can cost well over $100 a month when they include cable, broadband, VoIP, and premium content channels. Will someone who pays $150 for their cable bill be interested in adding another $20 or $30 for a video phone on their TV?
Finally, Comcast customers may not want to add yet another new set of hardware to a home electronics system that may include a plasma TV, five speakers, a PC, a phone (which already may be video-enabled), and a collection of remote controls. THis new offering faces a decades-old question: How many services can customers afford -- or use?