They can download a beta version of an Xfinity TV app. It will enable them to access all of the live and on-demand programming that they’d see from Comcast’s set top box — including local TV stations and cloud DVR recordings — along with company’s programming guide and user interface.
But they’ll have to switch to different apps in order to watch streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. And they’ll need either a Comcast modem or IP gateway: The service will run over Comcast’s TV line, not the public internet — which means it won’t be available outside the home.
Beta customers will be able to access all of the services except transactions, such as movie purchases for downloading. That’s expected to be ready later after the companies work out the bugs: They’ll officially launch it “later this year,” they say.
Those were the same words the companies used last April when they announced their partnership and the timing for their plan to launch the app.
Comcast cited it in FCC filings as an example of its willingness to do away with conventional set top boxes — and therefore a reason to reject former Chairman Tom Wheeler’s effort to let independent manufacturers offer their own set top boxes.
Newly named Chairman Ajit Pai just scrapped Wheeler’s plan.
Roku CEO Anthony Wood joined in the campaign, for example in an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal saying that there’s “no need” for government action to promote competition.
The goal with the new app is to provide Xfinity customers “even more choice in how they access the programming that is included with their cable subscription,” Roku VP of Pay TV Andrew Ferrone and Comcast VP of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development Michael DelCiello say in a joint blog post.