Light Reading

Comcast's X1 Rolls Into Silicon Valley

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s X1 platform and its cloud-based navigation system has just rolled into several California markets, marking the first systems west of the Mississippi to get access to Comcast's next-gen video product.

Company SVP and GM of Video Services Marcien Jenckes spread word on the Comcast blog, noting that X1 is now offered in "many of our California markets," including the San Francisco Bay area, Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno and Santa Barbara.

In late October, cable unit President and CEO Neil Smit said X1 would debut in two "major markets" soon. The other is expected to be Philadelphia, Comcast's corporate back yard. Comcast has not announced a launch date, but a company exec told the Philadelphia Business Journal last month that X1 would debut to debut in The City of Brotherly Love in the coming weeks. X1 is still expected to launch in Comcast's Philly region before the end of the year.

In addition to California, Comcast has already launched X1 in four markets: Atlanta and Augusta, Ga.; Boston; and Chattanooga, Tenn. (See Comcast's X1 Video Platform Lands First in Boston and The Cable Show 2012: Comcast Flies the X1.)

The X1 service, currently based on a hybrid QAM/IP box made by Pace plc that sports an embedded Docsis 3.0 cable modem, features a new, more visually dynamic cloud-based navigation system, a video recommendation engine, and access to Pandora, Facebook and some news, sports and weather widgets. X1 also supports a remote control app for iOS devices that lets user control the UI using motion and gestures.

Comcast will expand its X1 app lineup as it gets more developers behind the Reference Design Kit (RDK), a pre-integrated software bundle for hybrid and IP-only set-tops, gateways and client boxes. The X1 is the first product to be based on the RDK. (See Comcast's Set-Top Accelerator Gains Traction and Solekai Signs Off on Comcast's RDK.)

Comcast has not said how many customers are on the X1 product so far, but the MSO is targeting it primarily to new customers who take the company's triple-play bundle. Comcast is still losing video subscribers, but it's been narrowing those losses in recent quarters. (See Comcast Makes Hay With Metro Ethernet .)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/10/2013 | 4:00:14 AM
re: Comcast's X1 Rolls Into Silicon Valley

Anyone here get a chance to use this yet?  I get the sense Comcast is taking a soft-launch approach as the X1 debuts in new markets, as I hear the installation process is still a bit of a bear.  Not surprised... it's what Arris and its MSO partners have dealt with during the early days of the Moxi gateway. There's some operational shaking out that will need to happen to  improve the install times and get the whole operation more streamlined. 

Of course, installs weren't a piece of cake in the early days of cable digital TV, either. JB

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