October 2, 2013
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is quietly offering up a sneak preview of its new, much-anticipated X2 user interface to a select portion of its video customer base.
As reported in the user forums on DSLReports, and then on the news site itself, Comcast is making a beta version of its latest, cloud-based IP video program guide available to some X1 users with a few key strokes (9-2-9-2) on the TV remote.
Early response to the new guide is largely positive. Commenters say X2 is smoother and faster than the previous guide experience, and that the user interface (UI) includes enhancements like larger print, more poster art, and background image transparency options. Features like the new recommendation engine and cloud DVR support are not yet enabled.
Along with the new features, X2 beta testers are also encountering a few bugs. There appears to be some initial loss of functionality around the DVR, a frozen screen issue when users jump between apps and live TV programming, and a time zone error for subscribers in the Midwest. Users are cataloguing mishaps under the assumption that Comcast will address known issues before any official X2 launch.
During a demo of X2 at The Cable Show in June, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts emphasized the importance of personalization and a multi-platform TV experience. "If you don't have your products on every platform, you're missing a whole generation," Roberts declared. He described the X2 guide by saying, "It's about personalization and getting you there faster. The whole look and feel is to be easy, personable, fast, and fun. And I think we're just scratching the surface." (See Comcast Tightens Its Cloud Embrace.)
So far, Comcast has rolled out its X1 IP video platform to well over half of its customer footprint. The company is expected to start launching X2 before the end of the year. (See Comcast Hits Gas Pedal on X1.)
— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable
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