As we've talked about before
, the cloud is a great innovation...so long as you have access to a solid and quick Internet connection. But for much of the world, offline needs are still very real, and when you're talking about hour-long programming in high-definition, one has to wonder if we're really and truly ready to migrate those recordings from a local HDD into the cloud. Nevertheless, Comcast
has announced a next-gen DVR platform that would indeed store your recorded shows off in the cloud instead of on your local DVR
This new platform release, known as X2, will be available to customers later this year. According to Comcast, "the next generation of the X1 Platform will be even smarter and faster, providing more personalized recommendations on multiple screens, for a customized TV product that consumers can access on a TV, smartphone, tablet or PC. It is designed to integrate live and On Demand TV, web content, home control and a growing number of apps in one user interface. The cloud-based technology that powers this experience enables Comcast to accelerate innovation and launch new apps and services on the X1 Platform more easily, resulting in a richer, more dynamic and personalized experience for customers."
New capabilities and features demonstrated at NCTA include:
- New Customizable Dashboard: Customers will be able to easily launch a new personalized home screen on TV and across mobile devices that will offer a single view into the information they care about. The display will feature a collection of tiles that a customer can customize as they see fit, including all of their favorite apps on one screen. It can be personalized to include information from within the TV experience, such as recently recorded DVR content; from a favorite app, such as traffic alerts weather forecasts, or news headlines; or from a customer's other Xfinity services, such as calendar appointments, voicemails from Xfinity Voice, as well as their home thermostat and security status from Xfinity Home.
- Uber-personalization: More recommendations throughout the experience will be surfaced so customers have additional ways to discover new movies and TV shows. The platform will recommend content that is currently on live TV based on the customer's past viewing habits, and is engineered to become smarter over time. It includes a new six-guide carousel that filters TV listings by specific category, such as sports, kids programming and movies, and also filters by age to help ensure appropriate family viewing.
- Integrated Multiplatform Content: With tens of thousands of Xfinity TV entertainment choices, the new platform is engineered to connect customers with the content they want quicker than ever before. A new, sleek user interface for TVs, PCs and mobile devices will enable customers to manage content from any screen so preferences, subscriptions, saved programs and parental controls stay consistent, wherever they watch. This integration also adds the flexibility to begin an On Demand program on one device, such as the TV, and then resume it where they left off on another device, such as a tablet or PC.
- Social Integration: This new experience incorporates social media including viewer ratings from interactive services Rotten Tomatoes and Zeebox, so customers can find the TV shows people are buzzing about, and ratings from Common Sense Media for age-appropriate content. Through the dashboard, consumers can use tiles to track their social feeds or photos on Facebook and Twitter, among others.
- Web Content and Second-Screen Integration: In advance of the new platform release, two new enhancements are available today on the X1 Platform that integrate Internet content. A new feature called "Send to TV" enables customers to easily fling a web page, like one that features streaming video, directly to their X1 set top box and view it on the big screen. After downloading a bookmarklet onto their computer, tablet or smartphone, a customer chooses the Web content they would like to see on their TV, clicks "Send to TV" in their bookmarks bar, and the content from their computer or device then appears on the television. In addition, for the first time, customers will soon be able to quickly access TV-optimized sites from a variety of third-party partners in an expanding app marketplace.
Comcast plans to begin the initial phase of the rollout for its next-generation experience later this year, but if you don't have an outstanding home connection, you might want to think twice. Buffering from the DVR? Not something we'd be interested in.