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Comcast (S cmcsa) has released two sweet additions to its home broadband service that allow users to turn their TV into a big-screen home and life dashboard. Using gesture and voice controls, Comcast’s new Dayview service lets users see their email, calendar, any home automation service offerings, etc. on their TVs. It’s kind of like how your caller ID used to pop up on your TV screen when the phone rang, only this can also work when the TV is set in “screensaver mode,” creating an open window on your Comcast services.
Comcast is also launching a true cloud TV service dubbed X1 that the cable provider was somewhat vague about, but it appears to be a joining of a customer’s Comcast services from DVR and Xfinity On-Demand shows to any other Comcast service. This enables the Dayview dashboard, but also things like integrated search across all of the Comcast offerings. The new X1 products (read more about it here) will launch in Boston with several major markets planned to follow this year, and will be available to new Xfinity Triple Play with HD/DVR service customers at no additional cost. The X1 cloud service will be available on all devices. Dayview will launch before the end of the year and is so far limited to TVs.
Comcast says it may one day use API calls or other means to open up this platform for other services such as webmail from other providers, which would make it far more powerful. At that point, Comcast would be doing the heavy lifting for consumers. It will have built both the backend and the user interface for a home network that delivers consumers exactly the sort of information they want and need, while recognizing that any true platform on the web has to be open to other players.
If Comcast does take a lesson from Sonos, X1 and products like Dayview could become a reason to subscribe in Comcast’s service area and would be pretty awesome reasons for customers outside its market to pay for some kind of over-the-top service. Already it has offered remote control apps for mobile devices, which is a good first step to being a user-oriented platform.
I know Comcast hasn’t been behaving all that well lately, but it’s hard to harsh on a company that is doing exactly what its supposed to on the innovation front with services like Dayview and its new TV in the cloud offering. So while I can’t condone the anticompetitive actions around its possible prioritization of traffic, I am happy to point out that Comcast was the first to deploy DOCSIS 3.0, with its faster speeds, to a wide audience as well as release cool stuff like this.
Now if it just takes it one step further to becoming a true platform, I’m not even sure Comcast would have to worry about losing subscribers on the pay TV side to Netflix (s nflx). I’d pay for a service like Dayview if it played nicely with my other services around the web.