Comcast Launches Xfinity TV App Beta for Roku Devices
00:42, Feb 3, 2017
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Variety has the details technically correct - Comcast will charge "additional outlet" fees on Roku devices after the TV app exits beta. On Tuesday, Roku and Comcast announced that the two companies would soon be making Xfinity TV available on Roku streaming media players via a new Xfinity TV app, now entering a public beta. In essence, all you're doing is replacing Comcast's proprietary cable box with a Roku box you already own.
Initially, Roku is offering the Xfinity TV beta app to customers with Roku TV and all Roku players released in the last couple of years. A representative for Comcast told Variety the cable company is evaluating its additional outlet prices. And that certainly casts Comcast's objections in a different light: perhaps it wanted not to guarantee constant revenue from X1 rentals, but rather to be allowed to charge for this Roku app and other future apps like it - something the FCC rule would have prohibited.
Comcast might also see revenue streams increase if new Roku users decide they need to crank up their internet service to enjoy the higher resolution, higher data rate 4K Ultra HD versions of Netflix and Amazon Instant Video content.
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CNET contacted Roku to determine whether the app required at least one cable box in the home, among other details, but didn't receive a response by press time. Additional outlet charges are now billed at $7.45 per month, on top of the $9.95 customers pay for the set-top box rental.
Cable television subscribers now pay $9.95 per month to rent a box from Comcast, while others who use other boxes, TiVo, for example, receive a credit on their account for not renting one.
Currently Comcast offers the Xfinity TV app with similar functionality to Apple and Android mobile phones and tablets as well as Macs and PCs. In the future, it might be possible to watch Comcast TV on a Roku without a Comcast Internet subscription, as Comcast says it is "working hard to make cable-only gateway equipment available soon".
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The app does, however, include a number of limitations, including fees.
Given Comcast's FAQ, though, it appears the cost-savings might not be what they seem. It also won't work with DVR recordings stored on a local hard drive, though as previously mentioned, it can use Comcast's cloud-based DVR.
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