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03 February 2017, 12:42 | Wayne Allen
Comcast is the largest cable company in the United States, and Roku powers some of the most popular streaming device and TVs - which also do extremely well in CNET reviews.
That's where the asterisks come in: for now, Comcast customers still need to rent one of those set-top boxes; the Roku would be for a second TV.
You'll be able to access live content, on demand content, and your cloud DVR recordings using this app. During the beta, Comcast is waiving the standard $9.95-a-month charge for deploying a second set-top, which is essentially what the Roku is acting as under the plan.
Comcast is trying to bridge the gap with the Xfinity TV app.
Otherwise, guinea pigs participating in the beta phase trial of the service will only have to fork out initially for a Roku stick, receiver box, or television that has the Roku TV service installed. With this, Comcast and Roku took another step towards the future. The company says this is because the app is not an internet service, despite needing an internet connection to work.
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The cable box overhaul is nearly certainly not going to happen now that Democrats have lost control of the FCC, which means Comcast is free to continue adding fees for using your own equipment.
The Roku-Comcast beta app release provides further illustration of the alternately competitive, collaborative relationship between OTT tech-driven video services providers and incumbent cable pay-TV companies.
Comcast now charges $9.95 per month in service fees for each cable box they rent, with a $2.50 credit applied to those who use alternative equipment such as a TiVo.
For now, the Xfinity app is only available within Comcast's current markets.
Customers will also only be able to use the app when they are at home and have a Comcast Xfinity-enabled cable modem, TV box, or CableCARD device (such as a TiVo) in use.
After a ton of industry pushback, that was later scrapped in favor of a more moderate plan that would have required cable providers to offer free streaming apps on major platforms, like Roku. Doing so would let Comcast turn broadband subscribers in any part of the country where it isn't - like, say, Charter customers - into Comcast cable customers, even if it runs no wires anywhere near there at all.
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