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IFTTT notifications will pop over whatever is on the screen
IFTTT notifications will pop over whatever is on the screen

There’s a wealth of smart TV options, from built-in solutions running Android to little boxes like the Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV. But none of them have push notifications for things besides what’s on TV. In a surprise twist, Comcast is the first one to adopt a push notification system thanks to IFTTT integration on its high-end Xfinity X1 cable box.

The integration, launching today, lets users set up “recipes” that trigger on-screen notifications for various services, including Gmail, Instagram, Evernote and your calendar. Basically, anything that has an IFTTT trigger can show a notification.

For those who don’t understand what I’m talking about, IFTTT is a tool that connects various online services by setting up simple recipes. IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that,” can save every photo you Instagram to Dropbox, for example, or save every link you post to Facebook in a Google Spreadsheet.

IFTTT is always adding services. Just last week, Amazon added IFTTT integration to the Echo, allowing for custom voice commands to trigger various digital actions. IFTTT also has integrations with Tumblr, Square and Nest, just to name a few.

The integration with Comcast is only available on the X1 cable box, which operates more like the streaming media players from Apple and Amazon than your traditional cable box. It has a voice-controlled remote, apps and a slick user interface. The integration with IFTTT further sets it apart from standard cable boxes.

To set up the IFTTT integration on your X1, you’ll need a free IFTTT account and activate the Comcast Labs channel through that. You can see some sample notifications here.

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