Pace Denies Quality Control Issues Are Source of X1 Box Shortages

U.K.-based Pace denied a report last week that quality control issues were the source of HD-DVR shortages in some markets that have launched X1, Comcast’s next-gen video platform that features a cloud-based user interface and IP-fed apps.

"Pace is working to further increase deliveries of the Pace DVR units used in Comcast's incredibly popular X1 platform. X1 is rolling out in multiple markets across the country and there are no quality control issues limiting the distribution of the Pace product,” Tim O'Loughlin, president of Pace Americas, said in a statement to Multichannel News.

Last week, DSL Reports, citing a source familiar with Comcast’s set-top upgrade plans, said Pace’s equipment had been failing QC tests that created a box shortage and caused the MSO to curtail X1 marketing  in some markets.

Earlier this month, Comcast said it had enough X1 boxes to fulfill demand for new customers, but acknowledged that it had to evaluate and tweak the management of that supply temporarily in markets where it is seeing the highest demand. In markets that were experiencing box shortages, the MSO was said to be limiting X1 deployments to triple-play customers while holding back orders for other customers that wanted to get X1.

"X1 has been an incredibly popular product and there's a very high demand for our X1 DVR boxes. While we continue to install thousands of X1 boxes a day, we also are working to bolster our X1 DVR supply in this temporary situation,” Comcast said at the time.

Pace is currently Comcast’s primary supplier of an HD-DVR that runs X1, a platform that will be rolled out to the bulk of the MSO’s markets by the end of the year. Those devices are also the first to run the Reference Design Kit, a pre-integrated set-top software bundle that is being managed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Comcast’s sourcing of X1/RDK boxes appears to be poised for expansion. On Tuesday at the SCTE Cable Tec-Expo in Atlanta, Arris officials said during a briefing with analysts and reporters that the company is manufacturing RDK-based boxes now and expects to launch them in the fourth quarter of 2013.