Comcast is allowing its X1 subscribers to take new features out for a test drive with a new feature.

 The new section on the X1 user interface is called “Comcast Labs" in homage to the cable operators’ advanced technology arm. The Comcast Labs subsection is located under the “setting/preferences” section. Comcast subscribers can use the Comcast Labs sandbox to beta test four new apps before the cable operator decides which ones will get the final stamp of approval.

comast labs

Comcast said in a posting on its blog website that the Comcast Labs feature on the X1 “encapsulates the same spirit and serves as a playground where customers can test innovation before it receives the final stamp of approval.”

Comcast Labs on X1 launched with the following features:

• Next Episode Suggestions: Allows easier playback of episodes in a TV series. Once users have finished watching an episode, they will have the option to jump to the next episode in the series, whether that is through Xfinity On Demand, DVR or purchase.

• Shuffle Play: This feature automatically plays a set of episodes from a kids TV series or music videos from a specific artist, as long as there are two or more On Demand selections to watch.  By selecting "shuffle" from the program info screen or personality info screen, the playlist will begin playing in random order.

• Last Watched: Already one of the most popular features of the X1 platform, Comcast is expanding the functionality of the "last" button to include additional rows such as "last channels," "continue watching" so users can quickly find and resume On Demand or DVR programs they were watching, and "recent applications."

• Childproof Remote: Kids love remotes. Now, users can hand the remote to a toddler and not worry about them changing the channel or deleting recordings.  This new feature temporarily locks the remote by pressing the Up Arrow button three times followed by L-O-C-K (5-6-2-5). Subsequently entering this code will unlock the remote.

X1, which was first announced two years ago at The Cable Show, is now available across Comcast’s entire footprint. Comcast said it was rolling out 20,000 X1 boxes a day to its subscribers.