Xcalibur Rebranded as "X1," Will Let Comcast "Take Advantage of the Innovation" in the CE Space

During Comcast's earnings conference call, Wednesday, the company's chairman and CEO, Brian Roberts, provided an update on Project Xcalibur, its next-generation cloud-based platform. While the platform--which Roberts revealed is being rebranded as "X1"--is currently being trialed in Augusta, Georgia in conjunction with a hybrid RF/IP set-top box from Pace (note: for more on the box, codenamed "Parker," see the article published on itvt.com, January 19th), it is also intended to enable Comcast to eventually offer service on retail connected-TV platforms.

"Our product roadmap for 2012...includes a broader roll-out of the Xcalibur platform--which we're rebranding to X1--including our cloud-based guide, to hundreds of thousands of customers this year across multiple markets," Roberts told industry analysts. "My view is that in 2012, X1 is a beginning of a new way of communicating with the television device, which is coming from the cloud, not solely from the box," he continued in answer to an analyst's question. "But it will be in hundreds of thousands of homes. Obviously, that's not in tens of millions or that's not the big number for us. It will be in multiple markets and we will be stable, and it will radically improve the experience, in my opinion, over time. But more importantly, it is creating the unlocking mechanism to future innovation, which will then reside on the best servers in the cloud that can be upgraded state of the art, without having to ever come back to your house and can be done quickly, not over years, but over weeks and months. Those UI changes and other things that we want to do as we create better search products--and we have the need with more On Demand...In 2012, it's really getting it commercialized in a number of key markets. Another part of the strategy that this accomplishes is the beginning of allowing us to get onto other devices. We obviously are not operating in a vacuum, and we are very cognizant of the exciting changes in the consumer electronics space. And we want to position our company to take advantage of the innovation, not trying to necessarily fight it, and want to make it as simple for our customers as possible, so we have an agreement with Xbox. We're working with Samsung. We'll be working with others throughout the year, and I think our Comcast technology group is doing a super job of changing the way we historically look at how we deliver our products to consumers. And so getting things into the cloud out of the cable box will have broad implications over time and 2012 is a year to make it happen and get it started."

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