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YouTube meets cable on Comcast's X1 boxes

Cable boxes are a new home for streaming video.
Richard Lawler, @Rjcc
September 12, 2017
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Last year Comcast plugged Netflix streaming into the X1 setup and starting today it's rolling out YouTube access nationwide. Just as the company announced earlier this year, the service's videos will be available via the YouTube app, or in Comcast's video on-demand section. According to YouTube exec Robert Kyncl, "The living room is YouTube's fastest growing platform. We are excited to supercharge our distribution there and bring Xfinity X1 users a seamless way to consume all of the content they love. Voice is a key enabler to discovery and we are looking forward to bringing it to Xfinity X1 users."

When viewing through X1, users who are signed into their YouTube accounts will see their personalized settings and subscriptions. The service is also tied into Comcast's voice remote so that people can search or simply say ""Watch Carpool Karaoke on YouTube," and then it will start playing. In the VOD section, there will also be themed categories covering eSports, music, entertainment and local news.

Even though YouTube (like Netflix) has been available throughout living room devices, spreading to Comcast cable boxes is a reflection of the public's changing video habits. A report released this morning by Limelight showed that US viewers are averaging over seven hours a week watching online videos, and for Comcast, keeping them within its ecosystem may be a better option than sending them to another interface it doesn't control. As executive VP Matt Strauss puts it, "By adding billions of YouTube videos to our video platform, we are taking our role as the aggregator of aggregators to a new level and reaffirming that X1 is the best place to easily discover and access all types of entertainment with the sound of your voice."

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