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The Comcast interview: The conglomerate people love to hate charts a new direction

Pulkit Chandna | Aug. 24, 2015
Who’d have thought one of the world’s largest pay-TV service providers would develop a product aimed at cord cutters? And that’s just one of the big projects Comcast is working on today.

MJ: Xfinity Games is an opportunity to integrate another experience right into the X1 platform and we think it will appeal to casual gamers and families. It’s in beta now, so we can work out the kinks, and we have a terrific partner in EA that will help us make the experience better and better over time.

TH: What has the consumer response been like in the three or so years that Comcast’s connected-home offering, Xfinity Home, has been in business?

MJ: Well, we really started Xfinity Home as a home security platform, and the home control aspect has grown and evolved over time along with advancements in technology and consumer adoption. We’re now at a place where I think Xfinity Home is ready to take off and offer the best of both worlds. No one else is really positioned to do that right now. We have more than 500,000 customers, new partnerships in place with some terrific tech companies, and a real vision for where we want to take the platform.

TH: As you open Xfinity Home to third-party connected-home devices and platforms, will Xfinity Home solve the fragmentation issue afflicting this market?

MJ: I think we can be one of the solutions for sure. Look, there has been an explosion in the number of connected devices out there, but there still isn’t a single, simple platform that can tie them all together. Xfinity Home has the potential to be that comprehensive solution.

So we’re partnering with as many popular device makers as possible, so that when you buy a Lutron lighting system for example, it works seamlessly with all your other Xfinity Home security and control functions. These controls are also going to be accessible in one app, so you don’t have to dive in and out of dozens of different experiences. And by being on the same platform, we’re making individual devices smarter by letting them talk and interact with each other. The thermostat, the wearable on your wrist, the lights in your house, and the opener in your garage—all should be enabled to trigger one another and just start working as you pull into the driveway.

TH: The industry likes to call TV, Internet, telephone service bundles the “triple play.” With landline telephony on the decline, could the connected home, broadband, and TV be the new triple play?

MJ: We don’t have plans to change our triple-play structure. Remember, for tens of millions of people, having a reliable home phone is still very relevant and important. And there are some big saving opportunities for home phone users too.

Today, people spend billions of dollars on cell-phone charges related to international calling and millions more on worldwide calling cards. So we just added five new countries [Editor’s note: that would be China, India, Mexico, Singapore, and South Korea] to our most popular home phone plan, Xfinity Voice Unlimited, a change that’s free and has the potential to save some users hundreds of dollars each year.


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