Continuing to evolve pay-TV's most technologically advanced -- and expensive -- platform, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has unveiled a new DVR feature for its X1 service that automatically extends recordings of live sports events that go past their scheduled run time.
Overtime periods, extra innings and slow-running games have been the bane of sports fans since the dawn of the DVR age. In recent years, most pay-TV services have integrated features that allow users to extend the recordings in advance of events. The cloud-based X1 is the first product that can do this automatically with games that are in progress.
"When it is determined that an event will air past the scheduled airtime of a recording, X1 will automatically extend the recording in 30 minute increments to ensure you capture the entire event," wrote Peter Nush, VP of product management for Comcast Cable. "Starting out, the feature will be available on major sporting events including NFL Football, MLB Baseball, NBA Basketball, soccer, NHL Hockey as well as NCAA Men's Football and Basketball, and NASCAR, and we'll be rolling it out to a wider range of events over time."
In addition to the extended recording feature, Comcast is testing a new "Play by Play" option that lets users jump to the highlights of recorded live sports events.
Comcast is also testing "Welcome Back," a feature that delivers an update on what has been recorded on a customer's X1 DVR -- or what is trending on TV -- when a user first turns on their box.
Comcast credits its IP-based X1 platform with increasing its customer retention. The MSO had its best video subscriber performance in nine years in the second quarter, although it still lost 69,000 pay-TV customers. The rollout of X1 has been slow and arduous, but Comcast says it's now installing the platform into 30,000 residences a day.
While the feature-rich X1 has provided Comcast a way to deliver pay-TV subscribers a viewing experience they can't get in OTT channels, it hasn't come cheaply. According to analysts, each X1 installation costs the MSO more than $300.
- read this Comcast corporate blog post
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