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Comcast’s X1 Enters the ‘Kids Zone’

Hitting on a trend that has caught on in the over-the-top video world, Comcast has introduced a kids-friendly version of its X1 video platform.

The new enhancement, called Kids Zone, features content that is rated and reviewed by Common Sense Media for age-appropriateness. Kids Zone spans live TV, DVR recordings and nearly 8,500 kid’s movies and TV shows offered via Comcast’s VOD service.

The feature -- to be launched as a “permanent feature” of X1 in the next few months (Kids Zone will initially be offered through the Comcast Labs area of X1) -- also sorts movies and shows by what’s on live, what viewers have recently watched, and by network. Parents also have the option to select TV shows and movies by a preferred age range.

When Kids Zone is enabled, certain features of the platform - including channel up/channel down, ability to purchase or rent programming, and certain voice commands – will be disabled to ensure that kids don’t stumble across inappropriate channels or programming. 

“We created an experience that gives kids the chance to watch TV independently but also gives parents peace of mind because they know the programming their kids are watching is age-appropriate,”  Jennifer Metz, director of product management at Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “This is a first-of-its-kind for our industry and because of the flexibility and power of the X1 platform; it’s only going to keep getting better.” 

Comcast, citing Common Sense Media research study, said children spend approximately two hours per day with some sort of screen media, with about 50% of that time spent watching TV in the home. A survey conducted by Sprout, NBCUniversal’s network for tots, also found that 69% of parents seek TV settings that prevent their kids from accessing inappropriate content.

YouTube and Netflix are among the OTT providers that have introduced kid-friendly versions of their services.

On Monday (May 4), Comcast introduced Xfinity Share, an app that lets X1 subs send live video streams, recorded video, and digital photos to the TV as well as to other smartphones.