Light Reading
The next version of Comcast's cloud-based UI will add a set of more personalized features, including a video recommendations engine

Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
2/26/2013
50%
50%

LAS VEGAS -- NCTC Winter Educational Conference (WEC) -- Comcast Corp. is adding enhancements to its cloud-based guide that will deliver personalized recommendations based on viewing habits and other data. The product under development, internally referred to as "X2," will offer a "stronger editorial voice throughout the guide," said Rachel Lee, Comcast's senior director of product management, here Monday on a panel dedicated to cable's evolving video gateway strategy. The X2 will also use recommendations to assemble "collections" of video content based on customer interests. Lee didn't say when Comcast intends to launch these enhancements, but the operator has dedicated a sizeable engineering team to the latest version of the cloud-based guide. "We're pretty far into development," she said. "It's a … significant effort." It's unlikely that Comcast will use the X2 label to promote the features that will grace the upcoming version of its cloud-based guide. Comcast is already marketing its new IP-capable video product under the X1 banner. Comcast has launched X1 in seven markets: Colorado Springs, Colo.; Atlanta and Augusta, Ga.; Boston; Chattanooga, Tenn.; San Francisco; and the Philadelphia area. Comcast is expected to launch X1 to the majority of its footprint this year. (See Comcast's X1 Comes to Colorado.) Lee told Light Reading Cable that the enhanced, more personalized X2 guide is made to run on devices that support the first iteration Comcast's cloud-based guide. For now, that includes the Pace plc-made XG1 HD-DVR and the RNG150N client box. Comcast is also developing an all-IP HD client box called the Xi3 and a "headless" gateway called the XG5. (See Comcast All-Service Gateways Go 'Headless'.) Comcast Cable CEO Neil Smit referenced the X2 in an internal video broadcast late last year, noting that it would offer more personalization. At the time, Comcast would only confirm that the X2 represented an "evolution" of the X1 platform. (See Comcast Exec Talks Up X2, Cloud DVR.) Comcast hasn't announced its vendor partners for the X2's recommendation engine, but one candidate is ThinkAnalytics Ltd., a Scotland-based vendor that generates unique preference profiles on set-tops, tablets, smartphones and PCs by mining metadata and tracking usage patterns. (See Brits Rev Up Recommendation Engine.) ThinkAnalytics, by the way, is the first recommendation engine vendor to secure a license for the Comcast Reference Design Kit (RDK), an integrated software bundle for the MSO's hybrid QAM/IP and IP-only set-top boxes. Boxes that run the X1 are the first products to incorporate Comcast's RDK. (See ThinkAnalytics Gets Personal With Comcast's RDK, Who's On Board With Comcast's Set-Top Kit?) Some of ThinkAnalytics's announced customers include Liberty Global Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Swisscom AG and Virgin Media Inc. . At last check, the vendor had deals with more than 40 customers and 100 million licensed subscribers. (See ThinkAnalytics Touts Video Milestone and Cox Brings OTT-Like Smarts to the Set-top.) — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/4/2013 | 10:19:05 PM
re: Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
A reader brought up another possible option for how Comcast will make the X2 update more personal ---á a good chunk of it-ácould easily emerge from in-house development.-á I was reminded that Comcast bought StreamSage, an audio-video search startup, way back in 2005. http://paidcontent.org/2005/07...
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/27/2013 | 2:32:48 PM
re: Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
Thanks for the enlightenment, Dan.-á We may have to reconfigure that headline yet!
DanJones
50%
50%
DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
2/27/2013 | 2:29:28 PM
re: Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
Hey Jeff, talk about picking a hot issue!

-áThere's plenty of Scots that will bristle -- or worse -- at you calling them British. Technically it is still the case but there's a referendum that will be held on Scottish independence in 2014
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/27/2013 | 11:06:56 AM
re: Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
To be perfectly honest, I wondered the same thing at first, then recalled that Scotland is part of Great Britain, so that's politically accurate.-á And I don't remember ThinkAnalytics having any issues w/the hed. But-áI should perhaps defer to Ray-áLe Maistre on that one. He helped out with the hedline at the time, so I believe we are in good shape there.. JB
jtombes
50%
50%
jtombes,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/26/2013 | 11:12:24 PM
re: Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
Wondering if 'buy' refers to real transactions or just views. (Are we making money on VOD yet?) Also, not to fan nationalist embers into a flame, but maybe the headline for your earlier article on Think Analytics should refer to Scots rather than Brits? Aberdeen and Strathclyde are the university towns I see associated with its leadership. (And I recall a strong Scottish accent from an interview with Docherty.)
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/26/2013 | 6:53:52 PM
re: Comcast's 'X2' to Get Personal With the TV
Personalized recommendations should improve usage rates and help-áusers find something when presented with-áthe paradox of choice that comes with a VoD library that consists of thousands of titles.-á Lee noted on the panel that the jacket art and other graphics-rich features of the current generation of the cloud based guide has helped to improve buy rates of HD VoD content by about 10%. JB
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
Liberty Global Sees Business Goldmine

12|18|14   |     |   (0) comments


Steen Sorensen, VP of business services for Liberty Global, explains where the giant international MSO sees growth potential.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (2) comments


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
T-Mobile, BlackBerry Flirt With Reuniting
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/17/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Upcoming Webinars
Webinar Archive