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Cable Show 2012: Comcast Ready To Roll Out X1 Web-Enabled TV Service

Comcast said it will launch its next-generation TV service, Xfinity TV on the X1 Platform, along with a new remote-control app starting in Boston and followed by other major markets in the coming weeks.

The X1 service will be available to new Xfinity triple-play customers with HD DVR service at no additional cost.

The MSO touts the X1 platform -- which it debuted at last year's Cable Show as Project Xcalibur -- as a "cloud-based" service, which combines interactive, customized apps and social media features delivered over IP with traditional TV services.

Comcast plans to demo X1 at the 2012 Cable Show here, highlighting the service's advanced user interface that provides single-click access to a visual display of entertainment options; unified search across TV listings, DVR recordings and VOD using a new smart remote; and tailored-for-TV features such as customized social networking and music, radio, sports, traffic and weather apps.

The X1 service will be delivered via new hybrid DVR set-top boxes, running tru2way and IP, as well as an enhanced remote control that Comcast said offers greater responsiveness and does not require a line-of-sight connection to the set-top.

In addition, Comcast is introducing a new companion X1 remote control app that lets customers use motion and gesture controls to control their TVs through the touch-screen of an iPhone or iPod touch. For example, customers can "swipe" their device to page through the interactive TV guides on their television screen; program personalized shortcuts and favorites on the TV; and even shake the device to pause VOD content playing on the television.

In addition, the X1 app includes a virtual keyboard to search video choices on their TVs and provides other features, including: the ability to filter by genre and HD; control the DVR; and interact with social media tools and apps.

"The X1 platform makes the TV smarter, richer and more personalized -- and that's only the beginning," Marcien Jenckes, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager of video services, said in a prepared statement. "Our goal is to leverage this platform to redefine the entertainment experience for our customers. X1 is a giant leap forward, essentially transforming our video product from a hardware experience to a software experience, allowing us to innovate faster and more aggressively."

Comcast's X1 service has been in customer trials in Augusta, Ga., since 2011. The initial set-top for X1 was manufactured by Pace, running an Intel media processor.

Also Monday, Comcast announced that it is developing a personalized "dashboard" user interface -- spanning TVs, laptops, tablets and smartphones -- that combines up-to-date information with customers' Xfinity TV, voice, Internet and home security services.

Codenamed "Project Dayview," the dashboard is scheduled to be available to Comcast subscribers later this year. The service pulls information from other integrated applications to regularly refresh content that's most relevant, Comcast said. It displays alerts, appointments, texts, emails, voicemails and DVR data; and aggregates updates from social media, news, and local information sources for updates on traffic and weather.

For customers with the Xfinity Home security service, Project Dayview shows home alarm system status, lights, thermostat and room temperatures and security video feed. The dashboard also is designed to let users to put their personal media and photos on TV, by synching with various third-party media sources.

"Project Dayview is another example of how we're leveraging our platform and converged phone, Internet and video services to deliver rich, personal experiences for our customers across all screens," Charlie Herrin, Comcast's senior vice president of product design and development, said in a statement. "Our new IP-based interface will also turn the TV into more than just a video screen by providing customers with a convenient way to manage the multiple sources of information that are important to them -- all from one place."

The Project Dayview interface can be used as a screensaver for when the TV is not being actively used, and displays content based on time of day; for example, showing rush-hour traffic in the morning or the night's primetime television lineup in the late afternoon.