Comcast says self-install kits significantly speeding up X1 deployments; other MSO's are following

While its next-generation X1 video platform has been arduously slow to roll out the last several years, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) recently said its deployment rate has accelerated from 20,000 boxes a day to 30,000, thanks in large part of self-installation kits provided to customers. 

Speaking to FierceCable last month, Matthew Strauss, executive VP and GM of video services for Comcast Cable, would not reveal exactly how many self-installations have been successfully performed by customers. "But it's becoming a meaningful number," he said 

Comcast began testing user self-installation of X1 in June of last year and is now aggressively promoting the offering.

Per a Comcast online self-installation tutorial, the typical kit comes with a set-top, power cord, two coaxial cables (a six-footer and a three-footer), an HDMI cable and two AA batteries for the set-top remote. A simple two-page guide is also included to walk users through hardware set-up.

A separate 16-page manual is intended to lead customers through software and settings configuration. Comcast has also produced a YouTube video to serve as a set-up tutorial.

Quietly, other cable companies are following suit. Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR), for example, allows existing customers to install a digital receiver without the help of a professional technician.

Cox, meanwhile, offers customers a self-installation option for video, Internet and telephone products in every market it serves. "Just this month we expanded this installation option to include our advanced guide and set top box option, Contour, which provides customers with a better guide experience and more DVR storage," Cox spokesman Todd Smith told FierceInstaller.

Rather than following Comcast, Smith said Cox has started trialing a self-install option in 2000. "Over the past two and a half years, self-installations have grown from 25 percent to 40 percent of all eligible installations, enabling customers to complete the installation on their own time schedule while reducing operating expenses for the company. With the migration to an all-digital video platform, which started last year, the strategy to deploy new video miniboxes was to designed around a self-install experience. To date, more than 90 percent of customers choose to self-install their miniboxes, with only 10 percent needing assistance."

For more:
- read through this Comcast X1 self-installation tutorial

Related articles:
Comcast X1 at three: Painfully slow rollout belies potential of the platform that could keep cable in the video business
Variety unearths Web-based demo of Comcast's upcoming 'Watchable' online video platform
Comcast testing $30-a-month unlimited data option

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