Comcast prepping HDR-capable Xi6 set-top for 2016

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) will follow up the launch of the 4K-capable Xi4 set top later this year with the 2016 deployment of an even more advanced device, the Xi6, that features high dynamic range (HDR) technology.

"We actually think there's an opportunity to offer an even more enhanced experience combining 4K with HDR," said Matthew Strauss, executive VP and GM of video services for Comcast Cable, in an interview with FierceCable.

Comcast ten months ago released a version of its Xfinity TV app that works with new Samsung 4K/UltraHD TV sets. Beyond device compatibility, the amount of available 4K programming for the service has remained limited.

Comcast's deployment of a dedicated 4K set-top, the Xi4, will open up the range of 4K display devices Comcast customers can use. Strauss said the Xi4 is currently being tested by Comcast employees, and remains on schedule for wide deployment in the next few months.

But Strauss thinks the integration of the complimentary HDR technology -- standards for which are still being hammered out by technology companies and programmers -- will be a game-changer for UltraHD adoption. 

"HDR is going to be a tremendous quality driver that we want to embrace," Strauss said. "We feel very good about our ability to support it."

Comcast sees the addition of 4K and HDR as a further enhancement of its advanced X1 video platform, which the MSO credits for significantly reducing video subscriber churn.

On Tuesday, Comcast reported the loss of only 48,000 video subscribers in the last quarter, its best third-quarter performance in that metric in nine years. 

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