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Comcast Gears Up for X2 Push

Mari Silbey

Comcast is planning a big deployment push for the next-generation version of its X1 IP video platform at the end of February.

While the scheduled mass deployment is fast approaching, it appears that the upgrade from X1 -- referred to as X2 internally -- won't arrive for most Comcast subscribers in time for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, which open next week. A self-described Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) technician posted the rollout plans in a DSLReports online forum earlier this month. Light Reading has since confirmed the post-Sochi schedule with a Comcast source.

The X2 software update has been rolling out to select Comcast subscribers since the end of 2013, as first reported by Multichannel News,. However, Comcast, which has just about finished deploying X1 throughout the nation, hasn't said where the new platform has launched or how many customers have access to it.

Meanwhile, the cable company has also leaked a preview version of the new X2 program guide for current X1 subscribers. By entering a code on the remote control, customers can switch over to the preview interface for a trial run of X2. (See Comcast Offers Peek at X2 .)

When X2 launches on a broader scale, the Xfinity platform update will include not only new software, but also an IP-only Xi3 set-top box. The Xi3 box will support a cloud-based DVR service, but sources suggest the feature will be slightly delayed.

There is no confirmed date for when the cloud services will arrive, but it's conceivable that they could be timed to coincide with a platform upgrade fee that's scheduled to go into effect on March 15. According to a Comcast subscriber from New Jersey posting on the DSLReports boards, the company sent out a notice attached to his bill stating that it may apply a one-time $49.99 fee to existing customers looking to upgrade from traditional Xfinity service to the X1 platform, beginning March 15.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
1/31/2014 | 8:57:19 PM
What next? X3?
It's interesting to see Comcast upgrade its X1 homes to X2 so quickly, since they barely finished rolling out X1 nationwide. Is X2 that much better than X1? Is X3, or whatever comes next, already in the works? And how do we keep track?   
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