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Comcast Unveils New Cloud-Based TV Guide, Set-Top Box

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp., holds an XI3 cable box, that will run on the X2 platform, during a presentation at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Cable Show in Washington, D.C., on  June 11, 2013. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp., holds an XI3 cable box, that will run on the X2 platform, during a presentation at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) Cable Show in Washington, D.C., on June 11, 2013. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp., the largest U.S. cable provider, said its new X2 TV guide will be available to customers later this year, as it seeks to offer a more interactive service similar to online video platforms.

The guide is cloud-based and builds on the current X1 interface, which the Philadelphia-based company introduced last year. The interface segments content into new categories including live listings, kids, movies, sports and recommended programming to help users find the shows they want, Chief Executive Officer Brian Roberts said today at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association Cable Show in Washington.

“We’ve refocused X1 to make it faster for consumers to get what they want,” Roberts said. “The home screen is simple, beautiful and elegant.”

While X2 is a software update, Comcast also debuted a new set-top box and a remote control with voice technology which allows users to find movies, actors and TV shows by pushing a button and speaking commands. Comcast and Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-biggest U.S. cable company, which said yesterday it will begin testing a cloud-based video guide, are trying to retain customers by improving search functionality to match the service of online platforms like Netflix Inc.

Comcast’s new X2 software will also include recommended Web videos for the first time and a new Comcast mobile application will allow customers to shift online video from their devices to the TV screen. Comcast hasn’t decided on the pace of the X2 rollout or when it will begin, Roberts said.

“By taking most of the brains out of the box and putting it into the cloud, we’re able to innovate at a pace and with elegance that we’ve never had before,” Roberts said.

Comcast’s current X1 guide will be available to all of the company’s 22 million customers by the end of the year, Roberts said.

The company’s stock fell 1.3 percent to $40.16 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 7.5 percent this year through today, compared with a 14 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Sherman in New York at asherman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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