Comcast slows plan to upgrade program guide for older, non-X1 Motorola set-tops

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is not placing high priority on plans to upgrade the program guide on its older Motorola set-tops not operating on the X1 platform.

In the company customer forum, first reported on by Multichannel News, Comcast reps said that with penetration of the similarly priced X1 platform approaching 50 percent of the MSO's video subscriber base, the priority is shifting away from the so-called "A31" guide.

"We are targeting fixes and enhancements for our older cable boxes, just the pace for that has always been much slower (due to many reasons)," a company rep said. "These legacy guide code releases are not a huge priority as we continue to have less and less of these boxes in customer homes and we have an alternative solution in place (at the same monthly price) that is a vastly improved experience. We will continue to have legacy cable boxes available (and support for them) for some time for any customer who chooses that option.

A31, the rep said, is actually cooked. It's the deployment that's not a priority.

"Actually, code development was complete and we had already begun our internal testing for this release," the rep added. "This release was only recently cancelled in order to focus the right resources on the right projects that have the greatest positive impact on our customers and on our business.

So what were the improvements?

"At a high level, there were certainly some code efficiency improvements, bug fixes, minor performance enhancements and additional self-service options for customers to self-diagnose and self-heal some minor issues," the Comcast rep said. 

Users of the Comcast Motorola set-tops should see an A31 upgrade next year, however.

"There are plans for a simpler and more surgically deployed guide release for A31 legacy set tops to address some of the issues that a few of our users have experienced and mentioned in this thread," the rep added. "That will likely not be until early 2017. We will certainly continue to support our legacy platform for some time."

For more:
- read this Comcast customer forum
- read this Multichannel News story

Related articles:
Comcast/NBCU to broadcast 85 hours of Olympics coverage in VR
Comcast acquires Xfinity Home vendor Icontrol Networks, will maintain Austin offices
Comcast announces more X1 upgrades: 'Remind' 'Auto-Extend' features go live