Comcast COO Watson: Virtual Xfinity 'opens a myriad of possibilities'
October 24, 2013 | By Steve Donohue
ATLANTA--Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is letting other cable operators kick the tires on the platform it has built for its cloud-based Xfinity X1 platform and could eventually develop relationships that would see its Xfinity brand used by other distributors, Comcast Cable EVP and COO Dave Watson told FierceCable here at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo.
Through the formation of its RDK LLC joint venture with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Comcast has been offering other distributors the ability to license the software platform it developed for X1, which allows it to rapidly deploy cloud-based applications and multiscreen programming. Several hardware and software vendors are developing interoperable products based on that RDK. Asked in an interview if Comcast would be in a position to expand Xfinity subscription video programming outside its cable footprint if other operators deploy RDK-compliant gear, Watson said, "there's a bunch of different possibilities."
"If others want to take a look at it, and say, 'That's interesting. We either want to develop something similar, or we like that,' then obviously we'll talk to everyone," Watson added.
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Watson said Comcast is focused on improving the Xfinity experience. The MSO, which launched X1 last year, will add features such as personalized program guides and a voice-activated remote with the launch of its X2 platform.
Comcast hasn't indicated that it plans to use Xfinity to compete head-to-head with fellow cable MSOs. One
continued - One option may be to team up with other cable operators which would sell high-speed Internet access to subscribers but would use the platform Comcast has developed and its Xfinity brand as the subscription video service in their triple-play bundles.
"It's way early," Watson said when asked if Comcast saw opportunities to expand Xfinity through virtual cable distribution. "I think our primary focus is on the experience. It starts with that. I think it starts with operators being able to look at it, and go, 'You have to buy in.' But that is the game changer, the way we think it is. And from there, it opens up a myriad of possibilities," he added.