The TV content supplier and the streaming TV box maker/service aggregator launched a beta version of the Xfinity app for Roku devices. It provide Xfinity TV customers across the United States. the option to also access their cable subscription through Roku boxes attached to TVs in other rooms in the same home. Streaming to the Roku boxes will not count against an Xfinity cable/internet subscriber’s data cap. The Roku TV devices, selling for as little as $30, also will not carry a monthly rental fee.
The move to making cable service available using an app through a streaming device, rather than the traditional box rented from the cable company, is part of Comcast’s efforts to embrace the domination of TV apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and Amazon Video Prime.
It also lets customers watch their cloud DVR recordings. But make no mistake: this is not really an app for cord cutters for the time being. To use the Xfinity app, most of the Comcast users will have to subscribe to both Xfinity’s internet service and Xfinity TV, the Comcast’s FAQ explains.
The impact on you at home:
The beta period requires at least one TV along with a Comcast box in the home. Comcast says that ‘due to technical limitations’the beta app can only be used on secondary televisions. It isn’t clear if this will really change once the app exits beta. Comcast says that it is also working on an option that enables cable-only gateway equipment to work with the app for non subscribers.
The Roku offers voice control along with lots of subscription service content on its high end ($100 and up) boxes with voice-activated remotes and the X1 system also has same features. But will the beta version let you change channels by voice and search for the content? Do not hold your breath.