Industry giant, Comcast, recently announced a plan that would allow some customers to eschew the venerable set-top cable box in favor of a streaming video app. This is yet another example of how access to fast Internet speeds sees more users streaming content over the Internet instead of watching TV using their cable box.
This is essentially a new service aimed at owners of the Roku streaming device or a Samsung Smart TV model, with other manufacturers — including iOS and Android — to come. The new plan is arguably the result of a recent FCC ruling which will require pay-TV companies to make their content available to third-party providers of hardware and software used for streaming. Needless to say, expect other content providers to follow Comcast’s lead in foregoing the set-top box as a source of programming. Let’s look more closely at this soon-to-be growing trend.
Comcast’s “Xfinity TV Partner Program”
Comcast’s new service comes with the moniker of Xfinity TV Partner Program, so if you are a current Comcast customer, keep an eye out for marketing info with information on its availability in your city. Additionally, the company hopes other device makers include support for the service, which is offered as an app. HTML5 compatibility is the essential requirement according to Comcast vice president, Mark Hess.
Interested customers need to wait until later in 2016 for the new service to go online. Other rumored features include a Cloud-based DVR for storing your own recordings. Whether content streamed using the Comcast app counts against the company’s controversial data caps remains to be seen.
FCC Favors New Comcast Streaming Service
FCC chief, Tom Wheeler praised Comcast for the new Xfinity streaming program. “I think that what Comcast just did is proving our point that you can take a third-party device, put set-top box functionality into it, and protect copyright, protect the economic ecosystem, not have to rebuild the network, and all these other horrible things that the industry has [claimed would happen],” said Wheeler.
On the other hand, the company claims the genesis of its new service was innovation and not necessarily the FCC’s directive. Of course, if Net Neutrality rules are violated by not counting content streamed using the new service against a customer’s data cap, the FCC might take a different view.
For what it’s worth, the FCC ruling isn’t yet set in stone, with the final verbiage expected later this year. Cable companies would then have two years to fully implement the government agency’s requirements. As such, Comcast is definitely ahead of the game with the Xfinity streaming service.
With full implementation of the Comcast app still a few months away, keep an eye on this space for further developments in the rapidly changing world of streaming content. In the meantime, be sure to perform regular Internet speed tests to ensure your bandwidth is up for streaming HD quality video.