Comcast Would Rather Be More Like Tesla Than Netflix

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

While it remains to be seen what Comcast’s Next Big Thing will be — though it probably won’t be a streaming TV product — there’s one thing the company knows for sure: it doesn’t want to be anything like those Netflix guys.

Comcast recently held its Lab Week — which brings together engineers and product developers who pitch ideas in teams that could be the hot new ticket in tech town — at four of its facilities around the country. The best ideas go on to be commercialized into a new Xfinity feature or product, reports.

But whatever comes out of those efforts, it’s not going to be like Netflix — that’s not “premium” enough, Sree Kotay, Comcast’s chief technology officer and executive vice president in the cable division told

“We kind of don’t want to be Netflix. We don’t want an $8 or $9 product,” he explained. So who would Comcast rather be?

“Not to knock them or anything, but we want to be a Tesla or a Mercedes and be a premium product,” Kotay said. “The point of empowering our product and development teams is fundamentally not just about direction and ambition, it’s also about tapping into their creativity, and that’s how you make great products.”

Whether or not it’s a good idea for a company that frequently has a monopoly on a vital utility — home broadband — to compare itself to a rare luxury good like electric cars, is another question.

Some ideas floating around at this year’s Lab Week included a voice control system named “Ralph” that turn business phones, computers, and security on and off; push alerts for Xfinity home to alert Comcast subscribers when their neighbor’s house gets burgled; and emojis that would be inserted into movie posters on the X1 screen for an easy indication of a movie’s genre.

Whether any of those ideas will become real products or services has yet to be seen: after Lab Week, the higher-ups discuss the projects, and whether any of them can help enrich the current experience, or should be slated for new products. This year, the emoji team was invited to present their idea to a product group in Washington, Philly,.com points out, which means perhaps that it has a chance.

‘We … don’t want to be Netflix,’ exec says, as Comcast discovers its own innovations []

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