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Comcast's X1 ‘Restart’ Feature Moves Out of the Lab

Restart Notification, a feature for Comcast’s X1 platform that lets viewers restart a program in progress from the beginning, has moved out of Comcast Labs beta environment to become a default setting for the MSO’s cloud-based video platform.

When the notification appears, viewers can press the “Info” button on their remotes to pull up more information about the show and select “Restart” from the action bar to start the program from the beginning, Peter Nush, VP of product management at Comcast Cable, explained in this blog post highlighting a handful of X1-related updates.

Other recent X1 additions and enhancements include:

-Kids Zone, an X1 feature announced at the INTX show in Chicago, has gone live via Comcast Labs. Kids Zone presents content that is rated and reviewed by Common Sense Media for age-appropriateness, spanning live TV, DVR recordings and nearly 8,500 kid’s movies and TV shows offered via Comcast’s VOD service. 

-Comcast Labs has also added a “Control Panel” to X1 that gives subscribers quick access to service information and frequently used settings without interrupting what they are currently watching. Currently, Control Panel supports elements such as the current time, weather, subscriber account info, X1 tips and tricks, and X1’s Start Power Saver.

-Customers now have the ability to opt-in and kick the tires on all Comcast Labs beta features for X1 through an “Enable All” setting. “Many customers have told us how much they like being able to try things out during the development phase, so this makes it easier for you to stay looped in,” Nush noted.

-Comcast has added the Video Description Icon to the X1’s grid guide for linear TV. The icon signals when a program feature a secondary Video Description Service (DVS) audio track that provides audio descriptions of a program’s key vision elements, a feature, Comcast said, that is of particular value to customers who have low vision or are vision impaired. Customers can turn on the DVS track through the X1’s Accessibility Settings.

Comcast hasn’t announced how many of its 22.3 million video customers are on X1, but chairman and CEO Brian Roberts noted on the company’s first quarter earnings call that about 25% of the operator’s triple-play subs now have the next-gen video service. That means Comcast has at least 2.49 million customers with X1, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett estimated in a recently issued research note. Based on the MSO's earlier estimation that it was shipping about 20,000 X1 boxes per day, Comcast should have more than 9 million X1 devices deployed.