Comcast to deliver content without proprietary set-top box

By Jim O'Neill on Apr 20 2016 at 4:45 PM
Comcast to deliver content without proprietary set-top box

Some Comcast customers will be able to save a few dollars a month after the cable giant today said it would allow subscribers to watch Comcast content without leasing a cable set-top box.

The move was in response to a push by federal regulators to relax the STB market, allowing customers to use devices like Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV instead.

Comcast said that “later this year” a small number of Comcast subscribers will be able to use a 2016 Samsung Smart TV or a Roku streaming device to stream content through Comcast’s Xfinity TV Partner app. Comcast expects to ramp up the project through the year. Comcast will make its entire TV lineup available through the devices, and said it is open to other partners besides Roku and Samsung.

Users still will need to be Comcast subscribers.

“We remain committed to giving our customers more choice in how, when and where they access their subscription,” said Mark Hess, an SVP at Comcast.

The Federal Communications Commission has been working on rules that would allow consumers to access pay-TV programming without renting STBs – an annual savings of more than $230.

In a statement, the FCC said: "While we do not know all of the details of this announcement, it appears to offer only a proprietary, Comcast-controlled user interface and seems to allow only Comcast content on different devices, rather than allowing those devices to integrate or search across Comcast content as well as other content consumers subscribe to.”

Stay tuned.

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