WASHINGTON – Worried about filling up your DVR? The nation’s largest cable TV provider, Comcast Corp., is rolling out a new TV platform that does away with the hard drive and saves your TV shows online.
Comcast unveiled the platform, called X2, on Tuesday at the annual gathering of cable TV companies, The Cable Show. The system takes its name from the X1 platform that it introduced last year, and will be available to customers this year.
The update is akin to a new operating system for cellphones or computers and will also work on X1 set-top boxes through an optional update delivered over the Internet. Comcast also unveiled a small set-top box for secondary TVs in a home. It is a third the size of a normal set-top box.
X2 is one of many offerings from cable TV companies that seek to improve the living room experience.
Time Warner Cable Inc. showed off an updated channel guide with personalized recommendations that it plans to roll out on new set-top boxes this year.
Cable and satellite TV companies have faced criticism for offering hundreds of channels while providing clunky guides that make it difficult to find shows. As they seek to keep customers, cable providers are updating channel grids. Newer guides do a better job of showing off what’s available on-demand, what’s saved on the digital video recorder, and what’s on live TV.
The X2’s channel guide acts more like a website than traditional channel guides. Customers can customize the view to include weather and road traffic apps. Program listings include movie ratings from Rotten Tomatoes, as well as a buzz meter showing how many posts from Twitter a particular show is getting each hour.
The guide also displays video from the Web and includes voice-enabled search results for the first time.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts demonstrated the new guide’s search ability by saying, Find Don Cheadle. The guide pulled up 25 movies and TV shows featuring the actor as well as videos from the Web.
The whole look and feel is meant to be easy, personal, smart, fast and fun, Roberts said. And I think we’re just scratching the surface.