Comcast Builds Winter Olympics Content Hub for TVs, Mobile Devices

Comcast has developed an all-encompassing content hub for its X1 platform for the Winter Olympics that will span its base of X1 set-top boxes as well as its Stream app for smartphones, tablets and web browsers.

Comcast’s X1 experience for Winter Games will tie in NBCUniversal’s 2,400 hours-plus of live, VOD and OTT streaming coverage from PyeongChang, and feature dozens of customized “virtual” Olympics channels, integration with the X1 Sports App and X1 voice remote, real-time medal counts, and select batch of content offered in 4K HDR with Dolby Atmos.

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“This is your hub to the Olympics,” Chris Satchell, EVP and chief product officer at Comcast Cable, said during a preview of the new X1 experience provided last week during CES in Las Vegas.

Notably, NBCU’s live TV and OTT and VOD coverage of the Winter Games will be available in and out of the home via the Stream app, and most elements of the Olympics hub developed for X1 will work the same on set-tops and Comcast’s mobile app.

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“We want to make the mobile experience really complete,” Satchell said.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the elements that will be offered on X1 boxes and the Stream app to help viewers navigate and find events and other content associated with the PyeongChang games:

-Olympics Home: An aggregation of all of NBCU’s live, on-demand and online programming, along with highlights and web clips. The top row will feature dynamic “tiles” that highlight currently available events that are accessible on a traditional TV channel or via internet streaming.  X1 subs will also be able to browse for live and on-demand content using a Sports Row.

-Olympic Virtual Channels: X1 will present more than 50 Olympic Virtual Channels made up of video playlists that include highlights and full-event replays. Customers will be able to view all channels in the curated playlist or browse and select specific ones for viewing. “We’ll be modifying it all the time,” Satchell said.

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-X1 Voice Control: Via the set-top box, X1 subs will have the option to search for and discovery Winter Games content using voice navigation (Comcast has deployed more than 18 million voice remotes so far) and uttering phrases such as “Team USA,” Olympics Home” and “Medal Count.” Comcast said it has built-in about 1,500 Olympic-specific voice commands for this year’s Winter Games. Comcast has also added a Shazam-like component that lets X1 subs learn what music is playing during a figure skating performance by saying, “What song is this?” into the voice remote (this feature is already working on X1 for any music that’s being played on the TV, not just for the coming Winter Games).

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-4K/HDR and Dolby Atmos audio: X1 customers with the right TV and X1 set-top box setup will have access to next-day coverage of select events in the advanced video and audio formats, including the opening and closing ceremonies, figure skating, short-track speed skating, ski jumping, Snowboard Big Air, and men’s hockey (one game per say).

-Olympics Daily Summary: New for the Winter Games, this option will provide X1 customers with a quick snapshot/summary of the day’s events, including which sports are on that given day, updated medal counts, and recent results.

-Instant On Demand: All NBCUniversal broadcast and cable programming will be available instantly on demand for X1 customers.