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Comcast closes in on ‘TV Everywhere’ promise with cloud-based DVR launch in Boston

Comcast is a step closer to delivering on its “TV Everywhere” pledge after launching in Boston a cloud-based DVR feature as part of its continuously developing X1 service. The updated X1 platform now allows customers in the area to stream DVR content in the home, as well as the ability to store recorded content from their DVR to a mobile device when away from an Internet connection.

This initial form of Comcast’s cloud DVR includes 500 gigabytes of video storage to which customers are allowed to record up to four programs at once, even while watching a fifth. (Comcast says the feature will eventually widen to allow six simultaneous recordings while watching a seventh program.) Users can then move copies of their DVR recordings (up to 10 per device) to their tablet or smartphone for offline viewing, anywhere and at any time. Comcast doesn’t currently offer this so-called “check-out” service for PC use.

Most of these newly upgraded X1 cloud services are accessible to Boston customers through Web browsers and the iPhone and iPad app “Xfinity TV.” Comcast plans to roll out the new X1 live-streaming and cloud DVR features to more US markets later this year.

Comcast’s move into more cloud-based technologies doesn’t come as a huge surprise. Companies like TiVo have already begun to focus less on developing the standard, physical DVR boxes and more so on content delivery via the cloud.

Despite initial concerns last year that Comcast could take even deeper hits as a result of the growing “cord cutter” movement, the company posted a 26% profit increase for Q4 2013 — the quarter was the first in seven years in which Comcast gained more customers than it lost. The company added 43,000 net video subscribers in spite of the public’s increasingly popular decision to opt out of paying for traditional cable television services.

Updated by Ryan Waniata 10/01/2014: This piece has been updated to clarify that out of home DVR streaming for the X1 system in Boston is currently limited to the “check out” feature to allow downloading of recorded content for offline viewing.