Comcast’s New X1 Cable Looks Nifty

Too bad the company is saving the service only for those with deep pockets.

So, Comcast. We meet again.

It’s not that we don’t stay in touch. It’s just usually me that’s reaching out—either because my DVR is on the fritz, or my “promotion” for free HBO has expired. This time, though, it’s you who’s doing all the talking. You showed off to the Philadelphia Business Journal. But we both know you were speaking to me. Message received.

I see that you’re launching a new cable platform called X1. Stepping up your game. My first thought was, it’s about damn time, considering this is 2013 and my set-top box has a certain Prince-esque functionality—like it’s 1999. Save a few high-definition shows and the DVR is halfway to capacity. I can only record two programs at once, which could be a real inconvenience if Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Real Housewives of Atlanta ever overlap. There are the nights when my DVR seems to achieve sentient thought. How else to explain why some shows decide not to record themselves? Then my OnDemand goes OnTheFritz. Or my channel guide reboots and takes days to reset.

The point is, you’ve been letting yourself go lately. Or so I thought

Turns out, you’ve been on a self-improvement kick. I’m not talking about cutting back on cheese curls and Shake Shack burgers. This is a juice cleansin’, pilates bendin’, marathon-runnin’, Dr. Phil-watchin’ total transformation. You have a sleek new remote that can send tweets like “Working on my Raylan Givens impression” or “Golden Globes Spoiler Alert—George Takei is also gay.” Three tuners, so I can record two shows while viewing a third. The technology to control my television by talking to my iPhone. New graphics-driven on-screen menus that look more like the internet and less like Space Invaders. User friendly search options. And the pièce de résistance—500 gigs of storage, not on the physical unit, but somewhere out there, in the magical cloud.

Color me impressed. But this ain’t my first time at your digital rodeo, darlin’. There’s a catch, right?

Of course there is. The X1 upgrade is making its official debut here in Philadelphia. But only Triple Play customers get a golden ticket. That includes plenty of folks, I’m sure. Just not me. Which means that for the roughly $110 I shovel your way each month, I’m still the customer service equivalent of a guy with no shirt or shoes. You will show me no love. Not that I haven’t come to expect it. Every time I sit on hold for 20 minutes, waiting for a customer service rep to send a refresh signal and hoping it doesn’t wipe out all my back episodes of The Price Is Right, I’m reminded how, in this dance of ours, you always lead. And I keep coming back for more.

So go ahead, Comcast. Strut your fancy new wares all over town while I curse your name and write out my monthly check, knowing that yes, I’d probably save a crap-pile of money if I just gave into your Triple Play advances. I’m hooked, it’s true. For now, though, I’ll pass the time trying to figure out why Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel only taped halfway through. Maybe imagining all the stress I’m probably saving without X1 in my life will make me feel better. If my outdated DVR causes this much trouble, what drama awaits with a magic box that runs my cable TV, social media and apps at once? Sounds like a reality show I should probably skip.

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  • Greg

    Don’t be a hater. Like Verizon is better?

  • CC

    I just listened to a conference call with a Dev. VP that said in Boston the X1 boxes will be opened up to use all 6 tuners…shows will be stored in the cloud with an included in monthly price 1 TB of storage and you will be able to watch live tv on any wifi device ..this should happen by the end of April

  • john foley

    You’re a moron Mr.Rys. You’re not going to get better service than Comcast. Why do you have to be such a dick to this Company? They’re doing their best.