Apple's mantra for Apple TV is "the future of television is apps." Yet its recent Apple TV updates that were revealed during their developer conference last week showed us that it's trying to advance Siri to push the boundaries of their app framework. Apple seems to be positioning Siri to be the central interface of TV moving forward, a digital assistant that will grab you the content you want. But now enters Comcast with their X1 platform ready to go to the next level via their new Xi3 box.
According to a new Bloomberg report, NBC plans to broadcast every Olympics event live from Rio de Janeiro this year, either on TV or online. Comcast's CEO has made it clear that it's taking their Apple TV-like X1 black box to the next level and is stating that "This is the future of television." Hmm, I think we know who inspired that marketing line.
Yet that aside, Comcast wants their version of Siri to be star player in their X1 upgrade for the Olympics that will rival digital assistants from Apple and Amazon. During the Olympics, Comcast subscribers will use it to search by event, athlete or country, get alerts when an American is close to winning gold, and navigate by speaking into the remote. The idea is to make it easy to find what you want to watch on TV or online as the wall between the two gets washed away in the expanding ocean of video content.
X1 lies at the heart of Comcast's strategy to keep its 22.4 million cable subscribers from cutting the cord for online alternatives like Netflix and Hulu.
Comcast also has big plans for its voice-activated remote. Executives compare the device to Amazon's voice-controlled speaker, Echo.
Roberts has spent time with the creators of Siri, Apple's virtual assistant, to better understand the potential of digital helpers. Comcast's remote understands more than 180 million commands -- like "Show me free kids' movies I haven't seen" -- and is in the hands of 8 million customers. While most Comcast subscribers so far use the device to try to order pizza, Comcast wants to work with other companies to do "more and more magical things" with the remote, Werner said.
Comcast also plans to add video from Periscope and Facebook Live, so you can, for example, watch live concerts filmed by your friends on their phones. Roberts added "That's a glimpse of the future, when anybody with a phone is broadcasting. That is this new world. You have to reset your definition." For more on this story, see the full Bloomberg report here.
Comcast will introduce their new Home/Entertainment OS called X2 this fall that will be open to developers of software, box and remote makers according to Roberts. You could watch the full video presentation on the new Xi3 box and X2 OS here.
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