Comcast Holds Upfront-Style Demos of Home Tech Advances

Kenan Thompson on stage at Comcast Converge event in Philadelphia
‘Saturday Night Live’s’ Kenan Thompson (and a video Gritty) entertained at Comcast Converge in Philadelphia. (Image credit: Future)

PHILADELPHIA — Comcast held an upfront-style event on Tuesday showing off home-technology improvements coming to Xfinity customers sooner or later, including motion-detection services in the home, speed boosts to outdoor Wi-Fi hot spots and a new home gateway device that could be connected to hundreds of home devices.

The cable company, parent to NBCUniversal, brought in Saturday Night Live star Kenan Thompson as a celebrity emcee and screened a commercial touting the Paris 2024 Olympics for analysts, reporters and other guests. Also shown was a spot directed by Kathryn Bigelow that depicts a reunion of aging military pilots who relive their aerial exploits using virtual-reality headsets. The latter ad’s tagline was, “Comcast 10G WiFi Built to Wow.”

Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson at Comcast Converge

Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson (Image credit: Future)

“Our mission is simple: we’re going to connect people with what they need and love now and in the future,” Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson said during the gathering, called Comcast Converge and held at the Comcast Technology Center super-tall building in downtown Philadelphia.

Demonstrations included big-screen displays of English professional soccer presented in “high fidelity video,” combining high-resolution 4K video that looked far superior to 720p high-definition TV in a side-by-side display. The technology, which officials said was recently tested in trials for Comcast employees, also included high-dynamic-range audio and trimmed the latency delay in pre-recorded soccer action by about 20 seconds in the demonstration. During demos, Comcast said the goal was "10 seconds from the moment something happens in the stadium until you are experiencing it in your home." No timetable was offered for when it might be rolled out to customers.

A new home gateway device, the XB10, which officials said was being introduced today, includes Wi-Fi 7 and DOCSIS 4.0 technology that can connect to 300 different devices in the home. It's expected to be introduced in the second half of the year, officials said. Watson said the average Xfinity home now has 30 devices connected to WiFi, an increase of 40% over five years, and the forecast is for bandwidth consumption to keep on rising.

Officials said speed boosts are being rolled out to Xfinity Mobile WiFi hotspots that will enable 1 gigabit-per-second speeds. And motion detection will be added to Xfinity home gateways that will allow, for example, a parent at work to know when their children come home from school and then remotely manage what WiFi-connected devices the kids are allowed to use while they are supposed to be doing their homework. 

This story was updated to correct the speed enabled by the speed boosts.

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.