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Comcast’s X1 Getting New Features, Apps

LOS ANGELES — With the underlying X1 platform rolled out to Comcast’s entire footprint, the MSO is looking to have some fun with its cloud-based creation and unleash a wave of new apps and features, including one that shares traits with Time Warner Cable’s Start Over service.

That service, dubbed Instant On Demand, will let subscribers restart select shows that are already in progress. In the case of TV series, it’s Comcast’s aim to keep them on the videoon-demand platform for the entire season, Matt Strauss, Comcast Cable’s senior vice president and general manager, video services, said.

But like Start Over, Instant On Demand, a feature that Comcast tested for NBC’s primetime coverage of the Sochi Games earlier this year, will be capable of disabling the fast-forward function to preserve ads. Comcast will also have the option of swapping in new ads three days after their original airing, Strauss noted.

The big, new feature Comcast touted here last week at The Cable Show was Share to TV, an app that will allow triple-play subscribers to live-stream personal video from their mobile devices via the Internet to TVs that are connected to the X1 platform. That feature, expected to become available by the “beginning of 2015,” will become a part of Xfinity Voice, the cable operator’s digital voice service, Comcast said.

Comcast also unveiled a slate of other features that will be coming “soon” to X1. MSO executives here also touted an X1 capability launched last month that uses consumer usage data to tell viewers which live shows and VOD titles are trending.

On the live-TV side, the new Trending Guide taps Twitter data to alert viewers to shows that are buzzing on the social network. Comcast may tweak how those alerts are presented, but for now the iconic Twitter bird appears next to shows that are trending. The MSO is also using set-top data to create a list of the most popular ondemand shows and movies.

Although X1 is available in all Comcast markets, the operator has not revealed how many subs are on the platform. However, Strauss said Comcast is deploying about 20,000 X1 devices per day.

During the initial phase of deployment, Comcast has been pitching X1 to new and existing triple-play customers, but will soon look to accelerate the platform’s reach by extending it to doubleplay customers as well.

What’s on Tap for X1?

Guide Expansions

An in-language guide and menu labels for Spanishspeaking customers.

Live Last 9: An enhancement to a current feature that will generate a “live” picture-in-picture mosaic of the last nine channels viewed.

Voice Guidance, a voice-based TV interface that’s designed for the blind and visually impaired.

A setting that will appear whenever the guide is launched and allow subs to select their favorite networks.

Kids’ Guide: Comcast will add Common Sense Media ratings to live TV listings, complementing its application for VOD.

Apps Additions  

Xfinity Home App: Will allow Xfinity Home customers to adjust thermostats, manage lighting and watch homesecurity camera footage via the TV.

Family Point: Similar to the app Comcast offers on mobile devices, the TV-centric X1 version will enable families at home to see the most recent location of family members who are connected via their smartphones and to leave “sticky notes” for each other that will appear on the TV screen.

Xfinity Voicemail: Comcast is porting this capability to the X1 platform, allowing customers to play back and record voicemails on the TV, including readable voicemail.