How to Beta New X1 Features Before They Launch

With Xfinity on X1, Comcast has taken the brains out of the set-top box and moved it to the cloud, allowing faster innovation and seamless integration with the user experience at home. Now, Comcast is leveraging the innate power of the platform to allow customers to experiment with new features in real time.

Comcast engineers have added a subsection under "Settings / Preferences" called "Comcast Labs," designed as a sandbox to beta test new features before they go live.

Named for Comcast’s 'advanced internal technology arm' - with a focus on developing, integrating and deploying products that change how people are entertained and informed - Comcast Labs on the X1 encapsulates the same spirit and serves as a playground where customers can test innovation before it receives the final stamp of approval.

"Gmail has always had the Gmail Labs features," Piers Lingle, Vice President, Product Development and Planning, told GigaOM in an interview, adding that the beta-tested features will be given a thorough test-drive to aggregate user data in order to determine whether the new features get the green light to officially launch on X1.

Comcast Labs on X1 launched with four new features:

Next Episode Suggestions: Allows easier playback of episodes in a TV series. Once users have finished watching an episode, they will have the option to jump to the next episode in the series, whether that is through Xfinity On Demand, DVR or purchase.

Shuffle Play: This feature automatically plays a set of episodes from a kids TV series or music videos from a specific artist, as long as there are two or more On Demand selections to watch. By selecting "Shuffle" from the program info screen or personality info screen, the playlist will begin playing in random order.

Last Watched: Already one of the most popular features of the X1 platform, Comcast is expanding the functionality of the "Last" button to include additional rows such as "Last Channels," "Continue Watching" so users can quickly find and resume On Demand or DVR programs they were watching, and "Recent Applications."

Childproof Remote: Kids love remotes. Now, users can hand the remote to a toddler and not worry about them changing the channel or deleting recordings. This new feature temporarily locks the remote by pressing the Up Arrow button three times followed by L-O-C-K (5-6-2-5). Subsequently entering this code will unlock the remote.

X1 is now available in 100 percent of Comcast’s footprint, with 20,000 X1 unboxings happening across the country every day.


Comcast engineers have added a subsection to X1 under "Settings" called "Comcast Labs," where users can beta test new platform innovations before they're set live.