Reviewer unimpressed with Comcast's Xfinity X1 service

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Comcast's (Nasdaq: CMCSA) new Xfinity X1 is "a work in progress," The Boston Globe technology columnist Hiawatha Bray wrote Thursday in the first review of the digital video service.

"While it's a substantial improvement over Comcast's older system, the X1 experience already feels a little dated," Bray said. The X1 comes with an improved RF (radio frequency) remote control, which is more powerful than the infrared remotes Comcast and other multichannel providers supply to subscribers. But Bray noted that the capabilities of X1 pale in comparison to Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) Xbox 360, which lets subscribers navigate content with hand gestures and voice controls.

"It still leaves us pushing buttons, a sluggish, clumsy way to tune a TV," Bray said.

He also criticized the traffic app available on the X1, noting that it can only show conditions on major highways and roads while Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) traffic service can offer details on smaller streets. And while Comcast lets subscribers post "prepackaged comments" from X1 on Facebook, he noted that they can't read Twitter feeds. That's a feature Verizon (NYSE: VZ) offers its FiOS TV customers.

Comcast launched X1 in Boston last month at The Cable Show convention. For now, it is only offering the X1, which comes with a home gateway from Pace (LSE: PIC) that contains six tuners, to new subscribers. The MSO said that it will soon expand X1 to other major markets, but it hasn't said where it will market the product next.

For more:
- see The Boston Globe review

The Cable Show scorecard: Who were the winners and losers in Boston?

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