It is the X1 platform that covers all the live broadcast channels, cloud recordings, and video-on-demand services, but without X1 box. It has been almost a year now since the Comcast last announced its work on the “Xfinity TV partner app” for Samsung and Roku, and the Roku version is now ready for the actual beta testing. The Xfinity TV beta app is available now in the channel store, with access to “live and on-demand programming services, including local broadcast as well as Public Educational and Governmental channels, along with their cloud DVR recordings.”
According to Comcast, this beta test is done so that it can check out the performance and added features before the official launch actually happens later this year. The customers should also expect their full in-home cable experience that will be just delivered over Comcast’s “locally managed network” as the IPTV instead of the traditional QAM broadcasting. The locally managed network also means that whatever you are watching you are actually watching it on Roku, that doesn’t result against the Comcast’s recently expanded 1TB cap.
However, it does not mean that you will need a “compatible IP gateway” for access that Comcast says it will have to make it available soon for the cable-only customers who do not have its modem. You will also need a cable subscription, of course, and so this is not really a solution for cord-cutters like the One Time Warner Cable is testing in the New York City.
One interesting wrinkle for this particular app is the changing world that revolves around it. At the time Comcast proposed its plans, the FCC was finally working on a mandate for cable applications that has since been shelved. It is unclear anyhow that the newly reformed commission will be looking upon these specific efforts when compared to other plans, or what rules it might actually roll out in the near future. Still, the new leadership appears to be more motivated to agree with the Comcast’s view that a “government technical order is preventable.”
At the launch, the beta app will be working on recent Roku devices including the Roku Express, Roku Streaming Stick (model 3600), Roku Premiere, Roku Express+, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra, Roku 4 (model 4210), while the support for older hardware can come before the official launch of the product.
The launch of Roku actually comes nine months after the Comcast first announced its third agent partnership program- the company’s plan to increase the access to its TV services to more hardware platforms. The program was actually touted as a way to watch Xfinity cable TV without actually requiring leasing a set-top box from the Comcast. Some Samsung smart TVs were one of the first to gain access to Comcast’s TV service by the initiative.
But for most of the Xfinity users, this Roku launch doesn’t actually mean that you can ditch your set-top box. It seems like still there are some kinks to work out on that front.