Advancements in software tools, connectivity and API's are enabling small teams to create amazing things quickly.  Our X1 Platform has enabled and is using some of those same advancements. Across the country, "Hackathons" are being held where devoted techies spend a few intense 24-hour days together trying to create something amazing, inspiring or just cool.   

Last weekend, Comcast was a sponsor of the the PennApps Hackathon, held at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.  The event drew more than 1,000 student hackers from over 100 different schools and five international teams, making it the largest student hackathon in the country.  725 applicants were selected from 1,600 applications to vie for a $10,000 grand prize.  The teams produced 204 hacks in 36 hours of coding, setting a new record for the event. 

We offered a prize to the best Media and Entertainment hack.  The winner received $1500, 50 Major League Hacking points, a chance to demo the hack to CEO Brian Roberts, a behind-the-scenes VIP technical tour of broadcast operations at 30 Rock and VIP tickets to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  For Comcast, events like PennApps are a great recruiting tool as well as a way to increase the exposure of our innovations. 

After an intense 36 hours of students non-stop coding, we awarded our prize to Screenshades, who built software that automatically filters tweets that give away spoilers to unwatched shows.  We loved how the team showed real creativity in identifying and solving a problem unique to social TV, especially as we see more audiences timeshift their viewing using their DVR or On Demand services, and not wanting the plot ruined before they watch it.  Maybe we'll see this incorporated into our future products! 

Watch this video for Daily Pennsylvanian’s coverage of the event.