The cable companies are wrapping up their slice of reporting season, and the group continues to make strides -- to a greater extent than many observers recognize -- toward dramatically upgrading their offerings to the benefit of both customers and investors.

With Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) we're dealing with a very different company from the one in the 1960s, when it began serving about 1,500 franchisees in Tupelo, Miss. (Is the company a cousin of Elvis?) Clearly, the big enchilada of cable, now with about 22.8 million video subscribers, is undergoing immense change. Its total tally of franchisees numbers about 49 million when high-speed data and voice customers -- both of which increased year over year -- are added in.

The latest quarter was the first to reflect the results of its new combination with NBCUniversal, which until recently was owned by General Electric (NYSE: GE). The company obviously is in the formative stages of blending distribution and content that I'm betting will result in a formidable entertainment company.

For the quarter, the new company posted earnings of $943 million, or $0.34 per share, compared with $866 million, or $0.31 per share a year ago. Without costs tied to the merger, which occurred on Jan. 28, the per-share figure would have reached $0.36. Revenues increased 31.8% to $12.1 billion.

As CEO Brian Roberts noted in surveying the quarter, "While we've only been operating the NBCUniversal business for three months, we're encouraged by a seamless integration, and we are working diligently to invest and build value for our customers."

It's possible that yet another combination could be in the offing for the cable group. Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), the second largest of the cable multisystem operators, with 12.4 million video subscribers, apparently is considering adding franchisees from fellow operator Charter's (Nasdaq: CHTR) Southern Californian system to its own 1.8 million current Los Angeles-area subscribers. Charter doesn't break out its customers regionally, although its 2010 video base was approximately 4.5 million.

In the quarter, Time Warner generated net income of $325 million, a 52% hike over the $214 million in the first quarter of 2010. Its per-share earnings rose to $0.93 year on year from $0.60. Its revenues were up 5% to $4.8 billion.

On his company's call, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said:

"This is really an exciting time in our business. New technology is making it possible for us to provide a better video experience for our customers. Nowhere is this more evident than in our iPad app." 

The company now provides 70 channels to its iPad customers.

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) will wrap up reporting for the group tomorrow. I'm convinced, however, that Fools would be wise to closely monitor the opportunities in the rapidly changing Comcast. You can do so by simply adding the company to My Watchlist, our free, individualized stock monitoring service.