Thursday, June 13, 2013

X2 Marks the Spot for Comcast's Cloud TV Initiative

To keep its customers from fleeing to the Web, Comcast is creatively embracing it with a new offering that makes use of cloud storage and social recommendations, among other features. "We're going to see more online-based features in the future as operators try to move significant parts of their set-top box functionality into the cloud," said Parks Associates analyst Brett Sappington.

Cord Cutting

Pay TV providers have been looking for ways to stem the flow of subscribers to online alternatives for their entertainment needs, although Comcast discounts concerns over a supposed cord-cutting trend.

Despite reported subscriber losses by Pay TV providers over the last 12 months -- an industry first, "we've actually seen no meaningful evidence of cord cutting and actually see online video as an evolving market and a complementary service," Comcast's Frey observed.

Nevertheless, all the fancy services in the world won't prevent some consumers from cutting their connection to Comcast, noted Brett L. Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates.

"The No. 1 reason why people cut the cord is that they can't afford the cord in the first place," he told the E-Commerce Times. "They cut the cord with the intent of going back to the cord if they can ever change their financial position."

"Those people will remain cord corders because they can't afford not to be cord cutters," said Sappington.

Threat-Inspired Innovation

Comcast X2 is an example of where the cable industry is going with its services.

"We're going to see more online-based features in the future as operators try to move significant parts of their set-top box functionality into the cloud," Sappington said.

To make those online services attractive, though, better hardware is needed than has been offered in the past.

"Most of the legacy boxes don't have the processing power and computing resources to perform well with online services," Sappington pointed out.

In addition, connection speeds in the past haven't been fast enough to do the job, either, he added. That's no longer the case -- and systems can leverage the cloud in new ways.

"Better processing, better networks, better throughput means that they can do more with it," Sappington said.

From the article, "X2 Marks the Spot for Comcast's Cloud TV Initiative" by By John P. Mello Jr. 

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