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Comcast Testing Xfinity TV App on Roku

31 Jan, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Roku would supplant need for separate set-top box

Comcast Cable has begun testing an app for the Xfinity TV platform on Roku, the streaming media player pioneer, which could result in the nation’s No. 1 cabler forgoing the traditional set-top box in the future.

The beta test is available to Xfinity TV subscribers who opt in (download the app), and is not being carried out via traditional Internet-based networks. Instead, participating subs with an appropriate Roku device connect via Comcast’s private managed network for both security reasons and avoiding hits to their monthly data plans.

The app allows access to the Xfinity TV cable service, including live and on-demand programming as well as cloud-based DVR recordings. Roku, in 2007, helped create the subscription streaming video business model with Netflix.

In a statement, Comcast said the app is in the development stages with consumer feedback part of the vetting process.

“Allowing customers to access the app before we complete all of our planned development will help us make some final tweaks before our official launch,” Comcast wrote in a blog post.

The beta test comes as the Ajit Pai, newly-appointed chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, reportedly pulled from the agenda a proposal — from previous chairman Tom Wheeler — that sought to mandate pay-TV operators use apps rather than set-top boxes.

Pai Jan. 27 said the proposal could return for commission vote or as a revised proposal.


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