Comcast Rolls Out, Tests New X1 Features

Restart Notification, Custom Playlists, Improved Movie Guide On Offer
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Comcast has freshened up its IP-capable X1 platform with a set of experimental and commercially-launched features designed to boost the overall video experience.

On the experimental end, offered through the Comcast Labs unit, the operator  is giving X1 subs a chance to try out two features: Restart Notification and Custom Playlists.

The Restart Notification lets viewers know if a live program they are watching is also offered on the MSO’s video-on-demand platform that can be watched from the beginning.

The Custom Playlists component lets customers tailor playlists from saved or VOD programming. Comcast said customers can load up each unique playlist with as much content as they want in categories such as favorite shows, romantic comedies, music videos, etc.

As for new features that are now in full production, Comcast has rolled out enhancements to the X1’s movie guide (pictured), includign a filter designed to help customers discover titles. The guide now features a “Primetime Tonight” row and an “Upcoming” row that shows movies airing each day of the week, as well as an option to view all movies showing over the next 14 days.

Among other enhancements, X1 has added a cleaner UI for its “Settings” menu and the integration of help tips into the X1 guide.

In a blog post about the new features and test apps, Peter Nush, Comcast Cable’s executive director, product management, noted that Comcast has made about 5,000 updates to the cloud-based X1 platform this year.

Earlier this year, Comcast added a section on the X1 interface that provided customers with the ability to test new apps and features under development at Comcast Labs, and to provide feedback that Comcast will take into account before deciding to launch a new app commercially.

Other X1 features that have been tested in the Comcast Labs area include Next Episode Suggestions; Shuffle Play; Last Watched; and a Childproof Remote.

X1 featured prominently into Comcast’s third quarter earnings call Thursday, as the MSO announced that it has deployed about 5 million X1 boxes so far and said the new platform, now being pitched to both triple-play and double-play customers in all Comcast markets, has helped to reduce churn while also providing a usage boost to linear TV and transactional VOD.

On the call, Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, reconfirmed that current plan is to have the majority of Comcast’s video customers on X1 within three years.

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