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June 2012
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Comcast offering new interactive system

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

A newly launched platform will give Comcast customers in Paducah more interactive options.

Comcast officially debuted the X1 platform in the Paducah market along with Brookport and Metropolis, Ill., on Wednesday. Across Kentucky the system is also available in Campbellsville, Elizabethtown, Franklin, Greenville, Horse Cave and Leitchfield, according to Larry Williamson, vice president of operations for Comcast in Kentucky.

He emphasized the new cloud-enabled entertainment platform emphasizes more easy-to-use navigation and search capability, a larger library of video content, and customized mobile applications.

"This product is smarter, richer and provides a more personalized user experience," he said. "Today's technology is more mobile, and we have to be more mobile, too."

Williamson said other new elements include news, weather and traffic updates tailored to personal preferences and location. They also include expanded search features, descriptive logos for multi-media content, recommended programs based on those selected, applications such as voicemail, pop-up sports scores and gamecast, and access to Pandora and Facebook applications.

"The better functionality helps our customers find what they are looking for quickly," he said. "The content is available through a smooth interactive navigation system to enhance the customer experience."

The new cable boxes are enabled with DVRs that have the capacity to record four HD shows concurrently while watching a fifth program in multiple rooms. The system also documents the last nine programs or content for the user, he said.

The television can be voice activated from a phone or mobile device and doesn't require line-of-sight connection to the box. Customers can also control their viewing experience from an Apple or Android device through motions, gestures and voice commands, program personalized shortcuts and favorites, or shake the device to pause on demand content, according to Williamson.

Comcast Regional Public Relations Director Randy Jones said the X1 platform represents an evolution from a primarily hardware to the software perspective, allowing for quicker changes and customizations based on customer preferences. 

"This is really a game-changer because it learns about the customer over time and tailors itself to those interests," he said. "It's like going from the Flintstones to the Jetsons."

The upgraded technology is available for new customers individually or through double or triple play packages. Existing customers would pay a one-time installation fee between $49 to $99. There isn't a self-installation option, and all existing equipment would need to be changed out, including the primary and supplementary boxes. The upgrade isn't mandatory and won't affect customers who want to keep their current system, he said.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651.

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