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Comcast Business Checks In With X1 Hotel Trials

Looking to drive X1 into new markets, Comcast is preparing to trial the cloud-driven video service with hotels in the Philadelphia area later this summer.

Comcast is currently in talks with several hotels in the area about the trial, but has not announced timing for a commercial rollout.

Comcast Business, the commercial services unit of Comcast, announced the new offering, called X1 for Business, at the Hospitality Industry Technology Exposition & Conference (HITEC), which is taking place this week in New Orleans.

Comcast Business, which is demonstrating it at the show, said the X1 for hotels and hospitality venues will support several that are part of the platform’s core residential offering including a cloud UI, voice remote, the ability to pause and rewind live TV, access to free VOD titles, the X1 Sports app, a “talking guide” for people with visual disabilities, and the option to view the guide and channel listings in English or Spanish.

X1 for Business should help Comcast to expand the reach of the platform, which has also been tailored for colleges and universities (Xfinity on Campus) and for apartments and other types of multiple dwelling units (Xfinity Communities).

About 35% of Comcast’s s 22.4 million video subs are now on X1. The MSO, which is deploying about 40,000 X1 boxes per day, is aiming to raise that to about 50% by the end of this year.

X1 will also open up a new revenue stream for Comcast Business, which pulled down $1.31 billion in revenues in Q1 2016, establishing an annual run-rate of $5.2 billion.

In the hotel/hospitality sector, Comcast will be competing with other service providers, including Dish Network and DirecTV, which scored a deal with Hilton Hotels in 2014, as well as market specialists such as Sonify Solutions, which this week announced several enhancements, including “SoniCast,” a platform that supports the Google Chromecast streaming adapter, and a mobile API for hotel partner apps, and a new interactive TV system that provides more details about the property.

Also this week, GuestTek announced a partnership that integrates its OneView Managed Video Platform with Bulk TV, which supports DirecTV and provides service to 400,000 guest rooms. GuestTek noted that its MVP platform complies with Marriott’s Guestroom Entertainment services platform.

"X1 has transformed entertainment for our residential customers, and starting our X1 B2B trials with hotels is a natural extension as this industry focuses on providing guests with all of the comforts from home, including a great TV watching experience," Denice Hasty, SVP, marketing and product management for Comcast Business, said in a statement. "We are just getting started, but we are excited about the prospects for X1 expansion."

"Comcast is poised to disrupt the $3 billion United States business TV market with X1 for Business," added Greg Ireland, multiscreen video analyst at IDC. "Products and solutions that have generated excellent results on the residential side can help businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, gain an edge in attracting new and returning consumers."