Comcast launches cloud-enabled television with mobile device-enabled remote control app

Comcast announced a new cloud-enabled television platform May 21 aimed at transforming the TV into an integrated entertainment experience.

X1 transforms the company's video product "from a hardware experience to a software experience," allowing the company to innovate faster and more aggressively, said Marcien Jenckes, senior VP and general manager of video services for Comcast Cable.

The X1 platform takes advantage of IP technology and leverages cloud servers on Comcast's network to deliver interactivity, custom apps and social media features with Comcast's traditional video services.

Viewers using the platform will have one-click access to their choice of entertainment via a sleek, visually appealing interface. The interface offers a unified search and instant play feature along with content recommendations, making it possible to find desired content within seconds from TV listings, shows recorded on the DVR and Xfinity On Demand. It also provides TV-tailored social networking as well as music, radio, sports, traffic and weather apps.

One thing viewers may find most appealing is X1's companion remote control app that lets them use the touch-screen feature of their Apple iPhone or iPod touch to control the TV. With the remote control app, a simple swipe of the touch-screen lets viewers page through the interactive TV guides on the TV. They also can use the interface to program personalized short-cuts to TV favorites and shake the device to pause On Demand content playing on the TV.

"The X1 remote app unites the TV screen with customers' mobile devices by creating an integrated experience between the customers' swipe controls on their device and the viewing experience on the TV," said Sree Kotay, senior VP and chief software architect for Comcast Cable.

The new offering, which consists of Comcast's Xfinity TV on the X1 Platform and the new X1 remote control app, will launch first in Boston with other markets planned for later in the year. Comcast, which conducted a trial of the system last year in Augusta, GA, is making the debut of the new platform at The Cable Show 2012 this week in Boston.