Comcast developing 'X2' user interface

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While Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) hasn't yet completed a nationwide rollout of its Xfinity X1 digital video service and program guide, the MSO is developing an improved user interface that it calls "X2," Comcast Cable Communications CEO Neil Smit said Monday.

"We're working on the X2 already," Smit said at the Deutsche Bank 2013 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Fla. Smit said the X2 guide will deliver more personalized recommendations to Xfinity subscribers by relying on recommendation engine technology.

"It builds in recommendations in a much more intuitive way," Smit said, adding that the interactive program guide will have a "much cleaner and slicker UI [user interface]."

Smit said Comcast is seeing reduced subscriber churn rates and increased video-on-demand usage in markets where it has deployed X1, such as Atlanta, Boston and San Francisco. He said the MSO expects that it will be able to reduce capital expenditures on the X1 rollout as it moves to an "IP multicast" architecture and increases the volume of set-tops and home video gateways that it purchases from multiple set-top vendors to support X1.

Smit said Comcast is also seeing a strong performance from its Comcast Business Class products and its Xfinity Home security and automation service. He said the MSO is posting profit margins of more than 50 percent from selling Metro Ethernet and other products to small and medium-sized businesses.

Comcast plans to step up marketing efforts this year for its Xfinity Home product, Smit said. About 20 percent of Xfinity Home subscribers are new Comcast customers, and about 75 percent of those customers order a quadruple play of services, he added.

Smit said about two-thirds of subscribers who take the home security and automation service have never had a home security service. "We think we can expand this market. It's about a $9 billion market," Smit said.

Comcast will also look to introduce new tiers of service for the Xfinity Home product, Smit added.

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