Comcast Brings X1 to Baltimore

Comcast has launched its cloud-based, IP-capable X1 Platform to the greater Baltimore area, getting the MSO one step toward its goal of deploying its next-gen video platform to all its markets by the end of 2013.

Monday’s launch follows X1 debuts last week in three other markets: Illinois, northwest Indiana, and Southwest Michigan.  Comcast has also launched X1 in Independence, Mo.; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta and Augusta, Ga.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Philadelphia;  New Jersey; Colorado; and systems serving a handful of California cities, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Fresno, Stockton, and Santa Barbara.

Comcast’s initial rollout of the X1 centers on a six-tuner HD-DVR made by Pace, though other suppliers, including Arris, will be added to the mix later this year. Comcast recently added multi-room DVR capabilities to the X1 by initially pairing the primary HD-DVR to the RNG150N, a non-DVR HD client box, over the customer's home coax network.

Comcast reiterated that it plans to launch X1 in all remaining markets by the end of the year. That will lay the groundwork for “X2,” an upgrade of its cloud-based interface announced at last week’s Cable Show in Washington, D.C., that will sport a new look and feel, more personalization features and a new remote control that possesses voice-based search capabilities. The X2 interface will also apply not just to set-tops and gateways, but to tablets, smartphones and other connected devices, as well. Comcast is expected to start rolling out its new X2 experience to select markets this fall.

X2 will also support Comcast’s coming Cloud DVR offering and an in-home TV service for PCs, tablets, smartphones, and a new IP-only HD client box called the Xi3.  Comcast is testing its Cloud DVR service in Boston and Philadelphia, with a commercial launch anticipated for later this year.

Comcast, which lost 60,000 video subs in the first quarter of 2013, is marketing X1 initially to new triple-play customers.