I love when the Olympics come every two years. It might make me a dork, but there’s something thrilling about cramming so much multiculturalism, athleticism, teamwork, and behind the scenes drama into a few intense weeks that is absolutely captivating.
Everyone knows that watching the Olympics in the USA means turning to just about any NBC-owned channel for 24/7 Olympics action, but if you have Xfinity X1 your Olympic experience is about to jump to a whole new level!
If you have Comcast and Xfinity X1, you should be very, very excited for the Olympics in Pyeongchang this year. There are a number of enhancements to the usual broadcast and on-demand offerings that can help make the Olympics a more personalized and immersive experience. There’s simple stuff, like how the X1 Voice Control remote can respond to commands like “medal count”, or “Olympics home” by pressing the blue microphone button which means you won’t need to scroll through an enormous list of sports or laboriously type out the name of your favorite athlete one button at a time. If you’re looking for more of a browsing experience, the Olympics Home is a good start; X1 will be aggregating live, on demand and online offerings, plus it acts as a starting point to research the sports and athletes if you wish. There will also be a daily summary so you can quickly check the standings of your favorite athletes or see where the competition stands in curling (admit it, you’re excited for the Winter Olympics because curling rocks).
If the above was all Xfinity was offering, that would be a pretty solid Olympics experience for their subscribers. But Xfinity is doing even more, including select sports in 4K with Dolby Atmos (including the Opening Ceremony, Closing Ceremony, figure skating, short-track speed skating, ski jumping, one men’s hockey game per day and snowboard big air). 4K TVs have come way down in price, so if you’ve been drooling over getting one, this might just be the incentive that pushes you over the edge! And when you’re watching the figure skating and racking your brain for what song they’re using, X1 will let you ask that too, so you won’t need to go through the effort of pulling out your phone and asking Siri.
On top of all that, Xfinity has given a lot of thought to the various ways people watch the Olympics. As a result, there’s a number of tailored streams, called Olympic Virtual Channels, that you can watch, with clips of medal-winning moments, highlights of the prior day, times people wiped out, etc. You can also ask it for clips and stats on your favorite athletes, which is very cool if you follow athletes from events that aren’t necessarily the marquis sports. For example, I wish I had access to something like this during the 2016 Summer Olympics when women’s rugby 7’s debuted-it would have been a great way to follow athletes that weren’t necessarily top of mind for the main network coverage. These virtual channels are going to be dynamic, so they’ll consistently have new content as the games continue. This way, even if you aren’t sitting down to watch an entire evening of broadcast coverage you can still be up to date for the discussion around the office Keurig in the morning.
Finally, Xfinity is offering two new ways to catch their coverage that allows you to be extremely flexible with your time. First, they will have Instant On Demand (iVOD), which means any Olympic coverage can immediately be restarted/rewound once it starts. In other words, if you forget to set the DVR, the kids get to bed late, and you’re in front of the TV 20 minutes after figure skating started you can still start from the beginning. And if you’re not home but need to catch the biathlon coverage immediately (and who doesn’t, really?), Xfinity will be allowing people to stream Olympics coverage from the Xfinity Stream App. So you can enjoy Xfinity’s Olympics coverage anywhere you have internet.
We had the chance to see all these Xfinity features demoed while at CES, and it was incredibly smooth and intuitive. It was easy to navigate, offered up an immense amount of data, and the voice recognition on the remote control was extremely impressive. Sadly, Xfinity isn’t an option in my area, though my parents have it at their house…and I walked out of that meeting ready to take two weeks off to spend at their place just so I could take advantage of Xfinity’s Olympics package… Real life means I can’t quite do that, but if you have Comcast, for once you have bragging rights and a reason to invite all your friends over for Olympics parties!