Comcast opens first Studio Xfinity concept store, seeks that Apple vibe

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) officially opened its first Studio Xfinity concept store in Chicago, with the goal of changing its image as a cable conglomerate to that of a maker of elegant, forward-looking technology.

The 9,000-square-foot location at 901. W. Weed St., was originally unveiled to media members at the INTX trade show in early May. It will feature the latest video, broadband and home automation gadgets being developed or sold by Comcast.

While keynoting that May gathering, which was convened to announce a comprehensive $300 million customer-service improvement campaign, Comcast customer service czar Charlie Herrin described the retail outlet as a place where consumers can "learn about new products and play with them to see what they're all about." He did not hide from the direct comparison to the Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) chain of retail stores. 

"Studio Xfinity is a significant investment and is part of a much larger effort underway here in Chicago and around the country to redefine the customer experience," said John Crowley, senior VP of Comcast's Chicago region,in a statement. 

Comcast is currently upgrading more than 100 of its Xfinity Stores to the Studio Xfinity configuration, a spokesperson told FierceCable. But those locations and their opening dates have not yet been announced. 

The Chicago outlet features a Apple Store-like appointment page, which is currently highlighting a number of grand-opening week events, including a Friday store takeover by the Minions, the eponymous yellow trolls powering the Universal Pictures blockbuster film set for release this weekend.

Earlier this week, Herrin introduced a new tech support tool, Co-Pilot, designed to let Comcast service employees view and take over the video screens of befuddled X1 users. It's the first time such a screen-sharing tool—long popular in computer hardware and software tech support—has been used in the pay-TV market.

For more:
- read this Chicago Tribune story
- visit the Studio Xfinity homepage

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