Comcast will charge extra fee for watching TV on Roku boxes
Comcast TV field
Comcast has introduced a beta model of its Xfinity TV app to Roku streaming units, however clients who use the app along with a Comcast TV field after the beta trial ends should pay an additional charge.
Utilizing the app is free in the course of the beta trial, however for now the app can solely be used in case you’re additionally paying for a Comcast set-top field. That limitation will ultimately go away, however initially which means the Roku app will not have the ability to utterly substitute a standard TV field.
Roku announced the Xfinity TV beta app yesterday, and Comcast posted an FAQ with more information. The Comcast FAQ explains that “further outlet” costs are being waived in the course of the beta trial, however that will not be the case after the beta ends: “Prospects won’t pay tools costs with respect to their use of Roku units,” Comcast wrote. “All different charges related to a buyer’s service will apply, besides that, in the course of the Beta trial, further outlet costs for companies to shops linked to Roku units are being waived. On conclusion of the trial, you may be knowledgeable of the fees that may apply for connecting this system along with your Xfinity TV service and could have the chance to decide in.”
Former Federal Communications Fee Chairman Tom Wheeler tried to push by way of guidelines that might require pay-TV firms to supply free apps that may substitute rented set-top bins. However he wasn’t in a position to get sufficient votes, and present FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has taken the proposal off the desk.
Selection points out that “Comcast’s further outlet service charges per set-top field are $9.95 per thirty days; clients utilizing their very own substitute tools, similar to a TiVo, obtain a $2.50 credit score (leading to a web cost of $7.45 per thirty days).” That may give a sign of what Comcast will cost for Roku use, although Selection quoted a Comcast rep as saying that the corporate is “evaluating our further outlet insurance policies.”
Comcast is looking this a beta as a result of the app “remains to be in its improvement phases,” and the corporate desires buyer suggestions. One large limitation in the course of the beta is that the service cannot substitute a Comcast set-top field: “Throughout this Beta part, resulting from technical limitations, clients utilizing the Xfinity TV Beta app on Roku (aside from Stream clients) can solely use that app on secondary TV shops and might want to have not less than one Comcast-provided TV field of their house. You shouldn’t have to attach the Comcast-provided TV field and Roku to the identical TV.”
The “Stream clients” Comcast referred to are these signed up for Stream TV, a primary TV service for Comcast Web clients that doesn’t require a TV field. The beta app is out there on all Roku gamers launched within the final couple of years (full list in the FAQ), and help for added Roku fashions is within the works.
We requested Comcast a number of questions on why Roku outlet costs are essential and the way a lot they’ll price, the necessity for a Comcast TV field in the course of the beta part, and anticipated availability date for a non-beta model of the app. We’ll present an replace if we get one.
(UPDATE: Comcast responded to us and confirmed that Roku units will likely be handled equally to CableCard units when it comes to pricing. Prospects who use a Roku as a “main outlet” after the beta is over will get a $2.50 credit score on their invoice; the “main outlet” is not an itemized charge however is included as a part of paying for a TV subscription. Utilizing a Roku as an “further outlet” will price $9.95, however the $2.50 credit score will decrease the value to $7.45. Xfinity TV app entry on telephones and tablets doesn’t price further.)
The Comcast Roku app lets clients stream stay TV from their whole channel lineup, entry the Xfinity video on-demand library, and supplies recordings to clients who even have the X1 Cloud DVR. To make use of the beta app, clients should subscribe to Comcast TV and Web service “and have a appropriate IP gateway.” Although it requires Web service, TV on Roku is nonetheless thought-about a “cable” service and does not rely in opposition to Comcast information caps. “The Xfinity TV service delivered by way of the Xfinity TV Beta app is not an Web service and doesn’t contact or use the Web,” Comcast’s FAQ mentioned. “Slightly, it’s a Title VI cable service delivered solely over Comcast’s non-public, managed cable community, so it won’t rely towards your Xfinity Web Information Utilization Plan.”
The Comcast Web gateway will also be used because the cable service gateway, Comcast mentioned. Sooner or later, it is likely to be attainable to look at Comcast TV on a Roku with no Comcast Web subscription, as Comcast says it’s “working onerous to make cable-only gateway tools out there quickly.”
The beta app has another limitations. It “won’t embody the power to hire or purchase programming or play again beforehand bought packages,” and “SAP could expertise intermittent availability.” It additionally will not work with DVR recordings saved on an area onerous drive, although as beforehand talked about, it might use Comcast’s cloud-based DVR. Whereas not all X1 options can be found within the beta, Comcast mentioned it’s “working diligently” so as to add new performance in future releases.

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