Comcast Corp. is preparing to launch the X1 platform, its next-generation video service, in a handful of additional markets following its initial launch in Boston, Light Reading Cable has learned.
Precise launch dates appear to be in flux, but industry sources say Comcast intends to introduce X1 in at least four markets later this year or in early 2013, including Atlanta; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Denver; and the company's Freedom Region, a cluster of systems that serve greater Philadelphia, New Jersey and northern Delaware. Augusta, Ga., was the site of Comcast's initial field trial of the X1 platform, which previously was known as Xcalibur.
Comcast, as anticipated, announced at The Cable Show last week that Boston would be the first market to launch X1, the company's new hybrid QAM/IP video platform that sports a cloud-based navigation system, a recommendation engine, news, sports and weather widgets, and the integration of third-party apps from Facebook and Pandora Media Inc. (See Comcast's X1 to Fly First in Boston? and Comcast's X1 Video Platform Lands First in Boston .)
Comcast declined to comment on its deployment plans for X1, but the company did note last week that it intends to roll out the platform in additional "major" markets this year. Comcast officials have also said the company hopes to deploy "hundreds of thousands" of Pace plc-made X1G set-top/gateways that run the new service by the end of the year.
Comcast is also working on whole-home set-ups for the X1 platform. Early on, Comcast will introduce that capability on the RNG 150, an IP-capable HD digital set-top (made by Pace, and other Comcast suppliers) that has the horsepower necessary to run the new cloud-based guide. (See Comcast 'RNG' Set-Tops Have IPTV Potential .)
Among other future whole-home video projects, Comcast's also developing an all-IP HD client box called the X3, which could be ready by the end of 2012, according to a person familiar with the project. In that scenario, the X3 will be capable of obtaining IP video directly off the network or from the XG1, which will be capable of transcoding incoming MPEG video to an IP format before shuttling that content along to the X3 client over a Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA)-based home network. (See Comcast Sizes Up All-IP Set-Top .)
â€” Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable