As expected, Comcast announced this morning that its CEO Brian Roberts will demo the company's new "Xcalibur" video delivery platform on Thursday morning at the Cable Show in Chicago. Xcalibur has been in trial in Augusta, GA and is meant to deliver a new, more web-like experience to the TV, complimenting what Comcast has been doing online with Xfinity TV and in mobile with its iOS and Android apps. A new interactive guide will be unveiled as well as "MyTV" which is a central location for storing recordings, favorites and recommendations.
In addition, apps for traffic, weather and social sharing through Facebook will be available. Comcast announced a handful of technology partners - using Intel chips with higher graphics performance for the UI in new set-top boxes, Pace as the first hybrid set-top box manufacturer and wholly-owned subsidiary thePlatform for content management (thePlatform just unveiled yesterday a joint solution with Alcatel-Lucent to deliver similar IP-based video services).
With the unveiling of Xcalibur, Comcast is furthering its message around how it will use IP to deliver new services and increase its flexibility to compete with new over-the-top services like Netflix, Hulu and others. Just yesterday Comcast announced a partnership with Skype that while interesting, requires a new adaptor box which will be an inhibitor to adoption. Xcalibur will improve the odds of partnerships with Skype and others succeeding because a broadband IP connection and processor will already be connected to the TV.
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