While the cable industry in general isn't known for being terribly user friendly for the custom residential install business, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has introduced a range of new service and equipment features recently that are winning praise in that sector.
Last fall, the MSO introduced rack-mountable versions of its set-tops that made Xfinity TV service easier to integrate into more sophisticated home AV systems. According to custom integrator trade CE Pro Magazine, however, Comcast has also ushered in a range of other improvements.
For one, its X1 set-tops can be Ethernet-controlled.
"No more IR emitters, no more RS-232," said Neal Roberts, director of Comcast Special Operations, to CE Pro. "The set-top boxes have Ethernet."
There's also upcoming support for Dolby Atmos, a preferred surround-sound tech of the custom install channel.
"I have tested it on live-production and on-demand content, so it works," Roberts added. "Anyone in Philly who wants to try it, come on in."
Meanwhile, the MSO has also adopted a new protocol to help custom installers deal with Comcast on behalf of their customers. Integrators get their own Comcast ID number to expedite business and they have access to the cable company's tier 3 support.
"Those are the same techs that our techs call," Roberts said.
Comcast isn't alone in trying to mend fences and play nicer with the custom install channel. Last year, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) hired a former custom install operative, Frank Defilippes, to oversee a division specifically designed to develop business in the customer integration sector.
- read this CE Pro Magazine story
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