Comcast Nears Launch Of Cloud-Powered X1 TV Streaming App

Comcast is testing a mobile app in Boston that turns mobile devices into personalized TVs when they are paired with the MSO’s home-bound X1 platform.

The cloud-based, IP streaming app, called Xfinity TV, will launch later this month and support a slate of live TV, video-on-demand and DVR services, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said Tuesday at a Citgroup conference in Las Vegas, where he also announced that Comcast “moderately” grew video subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Roberts demonstrated an earlier version of this in-home streaming app for mobile devices at last June’s Cable Show in Washington, D.C. He showed off a newer iteration this week, noting that it’s being tested in Boston and that the operator expects to launch it later this month.

Comcast, Roberts said, expects to “roll it out to a lot of the company” this year. “Turning every device into a personalized television set I think is a big breakthrough…we’re excited about that,” he added.

During this week’s demo of the Xfinity TV app, Roberts showed how customers sign in with their credentials and pair the tablet to the X1 service.  Among the features is a “mini-guide” that lets users navigate channels without having the function eat up the screen.

The trial version of the Xfinity TV app for X1/X2 is posted at the Apple iTunes store. The app, currently carrying the “Comcast Labs XTV” label, was last updated on Dec. 16, 2013.

“Now you have the freedom to stream live TV and X1 DVR recordings to your tablets, phones and all of your TVs,” the brief description of the app reads, noting that the app also allows customers to download select shows and movies to mobile devices -- a feature that’s also offered on Xfinity TV GO, Comcast’s authenticated TV Everywhere app.

X2 Update

Comcast recently began to deploy X2, a next-gen, more personalized version of the X1 platform that provides a similar interface on the TV as well as on tablets, smartphones and PCs. Roberts estimated that “tens of thousands” of customers are now using the next-gen version of X1.

Roberts said Comcast has about 1 million customers on X1 and is eager to accelerate its rollout, given the positive results it has had on elements such as churn and paid VOD and the overall return-on-investment the MSO has gotten from the product so far.

At the event, Roberts showed how the NBC Live Extra app will be integrated with X1/X2 at the set-top level for Comcast’s coverage of the Winter games in Sochi. Weaving in the app will enable customers to access video and information from almost 100 events directly from the guide, essentially mirroring the functionality customers will get from the app on mobile devices.