Comcast Introduces Enhanced Movie Extras for Xfinity X1 (Exclusive)

Comcast X1 Enhanced Extras - Product Shot -Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of Comcast

The program starts with a selection of films from Universal, Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures.

Movie extras are getting a modern-day boost on Comcast's Xfinity X1 platform. 

The cable company on Friday is rolling out a new feature it calls enhanced movie extras, a new way for people to interact with content — photos, behind-the-scenes videos and games — related to the movies they are watching. 

Comcast says it has partnered with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Paramount Home Media Distribution and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for the launch. Extras, which comes with the digital purchase of a title, will include integrated internet content, photo galleries and videos that update as the movie plays, maps and set tours. 

X1, a cloud-based set-top-box that offers voice remote control, personalized recommendations, universal search and DVR recording, is being used by close to 50 percent of Comcast's subscriber base, according to Matthew Strauss, executive vp and general manager of video and entertainment services for Comcast Cable. X1 also allows users to purchase videos on demand, which Strauss says, "in a short amount of time we've been able to grow into a meaningful business." 

The company first experimented with enhanced extras this summer during the Rio Olympics, but Strauss notes that "movies are ripe to create new experiences that continue to add value." 

It's like a super-charged version of DVD extras, if those were accessible as the movie played. But Daniel Spinosa, general manager of movies, pay-per-view and commerce at Comcast Cable, says that movie studios can actually develop more robust experiences using the enhanced movies platform and update the extras with new content as time goes on. "We can redefine what a movie experience can be," he says. 

X1 currently offers about 100 titles with enhanced content. It worked first with Universal, which it owns as the parent company of NBCUniversal, before pitching the product to other studios. “These experiences are highly produced, engaging and employ the latest technology to bring the content to life on Xfinity in a manner fans haven’t seen before,” says Thomas Hughes, executive vp worldwide digital distribution for Lionsgate.  “Building a collection of their favorite films with enhanced content that can be enjoyed seamlessly in their living rooms offers even more value to the Comcast customer.”

Comcast is giving X1 users a free 10-day sample of the content, including interactive experiences for Secret Life of Pets, Jason Bourne, Star Trek Beyond, Nerve and Warcraft, until Dec. 25. Enhanced extras for Universal's upcoming animated film, Sing, will also be part of the free trial and the film will be available to pre-order starting Dec. 19. 

Apple in 2014 introduced an update to its extras feature that let Apple TV users view additional content with the purchase of a movie.