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.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn


Data? A growing, critical resource for the pay-TV and OTT industry
Pay TV, OTT, Big Data
Data? A growing, critical resource for the pay-TV and OTT industry
Jul 25 2017 5:15 AM

Earlier this year, a survey of pay-TV providers by the Pay-TV Innovation Forum 2017 found that the majority of pay-TV execs believed data and analytics will be critical to pay TV direction over the next five years.

SVOD, Pay TV, Millennials, Cord Cutting
Q2 likely to be miserable as operators brace for big customer losses; OTT anyone?
Jul 24 2017 3:00 PM

Could second quarter pay-TV subscriber losses in the United States top 1 million, the highest figure ever? In a word, yes.

The second quarter routinely is a weak one for operators and in the current environment – remember the first quarter saw more than 800,000 subscribers cut the cord, according to Kagan – reaching one million may be an easy task.

Pay TV, Live sports, Millennials
A skinny bundle without sports? Duh
May 25 2017 10:30 AM

Skinny bundles from cable operators – and their OTT surrogates like Sling TV – are becoming more common as the companies try to look more attractive to consumers tired of paying for 200-plus channels when they really only watch a dozen or less. Survey after survey has shown that subscribers are hungry for not just a slimmed down offering but also for the subscription savings smaller bundles would engender.

For SVOD, churn much less of a threat than for pay TV
For SVOD, churn much less of a threat than for pay TV
Feb 06 2017 8:15 AM

OTT video viewers may be just about as fickle as traditional TV viewers, with roughly 19% churning some of their SVOD services during the past 12 months, which is down from 20% a year ago, according to a new report.