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Comcast Launches New Voice Remote

Comcast has moved ahead with the commercial launch of a newly designed voice remote for its X1 platform.

The model, known as the XR15, is the follow-on to the XR11, a product introduced by Comcast in 2015. Comcast has already deployed 18 million XR11 voice remotes, with customers delivering nearly half a billion voice commands in November alone, according to today’s announcement from Jonathan Palmatier, VP of product development and consumer devices at Comcast.

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In addition to altering the look and feel of the remote, the XR15 alters the position of the blue microphone button, which is used to deliver voice commands to the X1 platform. This image shows the original X1 voice remote and new XR15 model side-by-side.

“After researching how customers hold and use the remote, our design team placed the round blue button directly where the thumb naturally rests,” Palmatier explained. “That button is also in the center of the remote, larger than every other button and made from a distinct material so it can be identified by touch alone.”

The XR15 has already been recognized, as it, along with two other Comcast products for X1 (a wireless set-top and a 4K-capable video device) came away with Red Dot design awards earlier this year.

In addition to the new device, Comcast is also bowing some new voice remote features that work across the XR15 and the legacy X1 voice remote model. 

Among them, users can now go forward or backward in a VOD or DVR-recorded program by uttering a specific time increment, such as: “Go back 20 seconds,” or “Go forward 10 minutes.”

The voice capability in the remote also lets users ask what song is playing in a movie, TV show or commercial, as it will pull up the music track’s artist and title. 

Palmatier noted that those are two of several new voice remote features that will be revealed in the coming weeks, including a fresh set of commands that control the connected home as well as a mix of Spanish-language options.

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