Strauss: Comcast Wants to Make X1 TV More Like A Smartphone

Comcast EVP Matt Strauss said Wednesday that the future of its X1 platform will involve adding new applications that will make the TV as indispensable as a smartphone.

Matt Strauss

“I think the real transformation is you have to look at X1 as a platform that will connect other things in the home, and other devices in the home, to really become a more relevant device,” Strauss said at a Wells Fargo conference. 

Strauss noted how his phone is always on, and that it is the first thing he looks at when he wakes up, and the last thing he looks at before he hits the sack each night.

“When you think about the TV, we watch TV and we turn it off. The reason we turn it off is it’s no longer providing value. I think that’s the biggest opportunity, which is to think of X1 not just as a platform for video,” Strauss said. He added, “What products and services do you have to deliver to the customer so they never have to turn off their TV?”

While Strauss didn’t detail the new applications Comcast may add to X1, chief software architect Sree Kotay has told The Donohue Report previously Comcast wants to make the largest screen in subscriber homes the most social screen.

Look for Comcast to introduce video calling applications, social TV applications, and home health monitoring applications that will transmit data from wearable devices and products such as smart bath mats that contain a scale. Comcast already has integrated its Xfinity Home home automation and security service with X1. 

Comcast is also pitching other cable MSOs licenses that would allow them to take advantage of the technology it has developed for X1. Cox Communications announced on Wednesday that it will license X1 for a new version of its Contour service.

Also worth noting from the Wells Fargo appearance:

  • Strauss said video-on-demand usage for Xfinity X1 subscribers is 45 percent higher than VOD usage for customers that don’t have X1, which debuted in 2012 in Boston.
  • About 18 million Comcast subscribers have downloaded its Xfinity TV Go App.
  • About one-third of Comcast subscribers use X1 each month, averaging 8 hours of viewing monthly.
  • Viewers over age 65 represent one of Comcast’s fastest growing user segments, Strauss said.

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