Comcast’s next-generation Xi4 set-top box passes the FCC

It looks like Comcast is getting ready to ship its next-generation set-top box to consumers: A filing for the company’s Xi4 set-top box just popped up in the FCC’s database. The filing, which has been approved by the FCC, is heavily redacted but it does give us some clues as to what the new box is all about.

Comcast's next-generation TV sett-op box, as shown in an FCC filing.

Comcast’s next-generation TV set-top box, as shown in an FCC filing.

The new set-top box is being made by Pegatron on behalf of Cisco, which is notable, because its Xi3 predecessor has been made by Pace. The device goes by a range of model numbers, including Cisco CX041AE1 as well as Cisco ATV8100, but it looks like Comcast will be calling the box Xi4v1-C. The box includes support for 2.4Ghz Wifi and Bluetooth, which is likely being used for the remote control. A photo of the FCC label shows a square device, much like what Comcast has been showing off for some time as its next-generation X1 set-top box.

Interesting about these new boxes is that they likely won’t contain a local hard drive anymore. Instead, Comcast is now storing all of it’s customers’ TV recordings in the cloud as part of its cloud DVR.

Comcast has been gradually expanding the footprint of its cloud DVR service over the last several months, and brought it to San Francisco last summer. At the time, Comcast executives told me that the company could eventually offer unlimited storage for TV recordings in the cloud, and possibly even ditch set-top boxes altogether.

Comcast has integrated its X1 platform with IFTTT

Users of Comcast’s Xfinity X1 set-top box can now make use of IFTTT to receive messages on their TV or even change the channel upon a certain event. Comcast’s Chief Business Development Officer Sam Schwartz unveiled the integration at a press event in San Francisco Wednesday, where he showed off a recipe that linked a WeMo switch to the X1, allowing users to change the channel whenever the switch was used. Other possible integrations include messaging on the TV, or the ability to switch to a sports channel whenever a viewer’s favorite team is in the news.

Comcast is getting ready to launch its cloud DVR in Boston

Comcast (s CMCSK)  is preparing to launch its cloud DVR in the Boston market “very soon,” according to a FierceCable report. The company’s SVP and GM of Video Services Matt Strauss told FierceCbale that the new network DVR, which will store customers’ recordings in the cloud, will be rolled out market by market this year. The cloud DVR will only be made available to subscribers who also have Comcast’s new X1 set-top box, which was also rolled out in Boston first.

Review: Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 Possibly the Nicest WinMobile Phone

x1_slider_black_1 For the last couple of days I have been playing around with what could arguably be the best Windows Mobile phone in business – Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X1. From the packaging to the diminutive USB charger to the sleek finish of the device itself, the whole X1 experience is flawless. It is a well-designed smartphone that is very well-engineered. It is no different than Sony VAIO laptops or Bravia TVs, and as such it’s no surprise that it’s expensive: $799. The device is going to be available in the U.S. starting Nov. 28 on Sony’s (s sne) web site, Sony Style.
It comes with a very comfortable slider keyboard, great connectivity options (WiFi, 3G, Quad-band GSM etc.) and is a multimedia powerhouse. The phone comes with a 3-inch WVGA display with resolution of up to 800 X 480 pixels screen, which means it can play back videos in almost DVD quality and makes it easy to play 3D mobile games. I love the photos taken by the 3.2 megapixel camera and the music playback is solid and clear. X1 has a pretty decent battery life — and yes, it beats the pants off the iPhone 3G battery. It got about 8 hours on AT&T’s 3G network — ahead of my iPhone — but lagged the Android G1. However, it had better GSM standby and talk times. But again, battery usage differs from person to person. One thing I hate about the device is that it lacks built-in memory, but the good news is that it can take up to 32 GB in a memory card.
What will surprise you the most is that this phone is powered by Windows Mobile 6.1. Despite the torturous Windows Mobile interface, I found myself liking this device, which shows that with some creativity and lots of imagination, even Windows Mobile can stand up to assaults from Apple’s (s aapl) iPhone, RIM’s ( s rimm) Blackberry and Google’s (s goog) Android. Of course Windows Mobile means that the phone syncs with Microsoft Exchange over the air. It can read documents, spreadsheets and presentations natively.
I was surprised by how nimble the phone feels — I have yet to use another Windows Mobile phone that comes close to X1. The device gives you many ways to interact with the contact touch, full QWERTY keyboard, 4-way key and optical joystick navigation and panels. It is the panels which are awesome and function almost like how the applications are accessed on the iPhone.
Bottomline: If your company insists that you need a Windows Mobile phone, then Xperia X1 is an obvious (and perhaps the only) choice.