Charter CEO Touts X1, ActiveVideo Cloud Guide Options

By Steve Donohue, for [itvt]

Charter Communications is talking to Comcast about using its X1 operating system on its cable systems, CEO Tom Rutledge said Monday. 
 
“We have had preliminary discussions with Comcast about that [X1], and have a similar view with regard to cloud-based user interfaces. If we can find a way to efficiently work together on that, we’d be interested in doing so,” Rutledge said on a conference call Charter and Comcast held Monday morning. 
 
The call was held to discuss a $20 billion deal which will see Comcast and Charter swap several cable systems, and Charter will acquire some Time Warner Cable systems after its merger with Comcast closes. Rutledge also offered an update on Charter’s tests of a cloud-based program guide powered by ActiveVideo's CloudTV H5 platform during Charter’s first-quarter earnings call Monday. 
 
Last year, Charter began testing a cloud-based interactive program guide on its cable system in Fort Worth, Texas, using technology from ActiveVideo and Zodiac Interactive. 
 
Charter could be looking at using ActiveVideo’s platform to deliver a cloud-based program guide and interactive advertising to subscribers with legacy set-tops that can only deliver MPEG video.
 
Charter cloud guide interface
Charter showed image of cloud-based guide during earnings presentation. 
 
Charter is also beginning to deploy advanced digital set-tops containing DOCSIS modems that can display IP-based guides and programming delivered from cloud-based servers. Comcast’s X1 could be a solution for Charter in homes where it has deployed advanced set-tops. 
 
Comcast has been pushing other cable MSOs to license its X1 platform, and Cox Communications said in January that it was considering licensing X1 for its cable systems. While Rutledge said Comcast is talking to Comcast about X1, the solution from ActiveVideo and Zodiac Interactive could help Charter reduce spending on advanced set-tops and home video gateways. 
 
“If that works, the way we hope it does … we’ll be able to put that user interface on all boxes without having to buy new boxes,” Rutledge said on Charter’s earnings call. 
 
Rutledge said the cloud-based guide will expand to “certain markets by the middle of this year.” He said Charter is also testing an app for connected TVs that can deliver live programming and video-on-demand content. The MSO will launch the TV app “in coming months,” he added.
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