2013 CABLE SHOW

Comcast Unveils New TV Delivery Platform

The cloud-based X2 features set-top boxes four times faster, three times smaller, but use half the power of traditional cable boxes. “The cloud is a game changer,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts.

Comcast Corp. Chairman-CEO Brian Roberts today announced a new platform for the company’s Xfinity broadband service that the media giant says will make it easier for consumers to access videos — over traditional TV sets, iPhones and other mobile devices.

The company intends to roll out the new platform, the X2, later this year, Roberts said at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Cable Show in Washington.

Roberts told reporters that the platform, which essentially consists of a small box and a sleek new remote, has been designed to make it easier for Xfinity subscribers to catalog and find their favorite TV programming — and will permit them to view Web-based content on their traditional TV sets.

“From a business standpoint, I think we’re going to have the best television service available,” Roberts said. He also claimed the X2 will make it easier and “more fun” for Comcast subscribers to navigate the Xfinity system “and make it more compelling … and ultimately give them a better experience.”

Roberts told reporters: “We’re excited by the pace of change, and we want to help lead that technological revolution.”

The X2, which relies on cloud-based technology for storage, will start succeeding the company’s existing generation of X1 boxes later this year, Roberts said.

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Roberts also said the new boxes are four times faster, three times smaller, but use half the power of traditional cable boxes. “The cloud is a game changer,” he said.

One of the key advantages of storing in the cloud much of data that was previously loaded into consumer set-top boxes is it makes it possible to upgrade box functions and capabilities remotely without having to replace a customer’s box, a Comcast spokesperson said. In addition, the cloud-enabled technology clears the way for Comcast to offer more content and features to subscribers, the spokesperson added.

Also at the convention today, Mignon Clyburn, the FCC’s acting chair, announced that the agency is planning to review its incentive auction proposals during a meeting on June 27.

“It’s a potential win-win for mobile operators as well as broadcasters,” said Clyburn, of the agency’s controversial plan to use auctions to repurpose broadcast TV spectrum smartphones and other wireless devices as soon as next year.


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