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Comcast IP Control for X1 Cable Box Launches Next Month, Starting with Control4

Since announcing IP control for its X1 cable boxes last year, Comcast/Xfinity has yet to deliver, but CEDIA 2016 showed some progress with Control4 for home automation integration.

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Last year at CEDIA, Comcast/Xfinity announced some new integration-friendly features for its X1 cable box, including a rack-mount form factor, Dolby Atmos support, remote access … and IP control. The IP control hasn't materialized yet, but at least we saw some progress at CEDIA 2016 with Comcast's first home automation partner, Control4 (Nasdaq: CTRL).

At the show, Neal Roberts, director of Comcast's “special ops” team, said Control4 would have a one-way IP driver for the X1 in 30 days.

Compared to one-way IR control, the IP version “does it a lot faster and a lot better, with discrete commands,” Roberts tells CE Pro, adding that Comcast is working on some “deeper links” that allow users to jump straight to commands that might otherwise be buried deep in the Comcast user interface.

Already, these “deeper links” can be accessed via voice commansd through the Comcast remote. For example, Roberts demonstrated how uttering, “Device settings” jumps to that screen.

After Control4's one-way driver is released, the two-way driver should be available 30 days after that.

“Control4 has it for themselves for 60 days,” Roberts says.

In the first phase of two-way control, Control4 and other home automation companies will only receive status reports from the Comcast X1 box.

Roberts says the second phase of IP control will be to include metadata such as programming guides.

The third phase, he says, will be to open up the API for voice commands, allowing third-party smart-home systems to be controlled via the Comcast remote — a service that is offered today for Comcast's own Xfinity Home automation system.

Check out more highlights from CEDIA 2016.

About the Author

Julie Jacobson
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Julie Jacobson:

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson

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