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Comcast Xfinity App on Roku Will Carry Additional Monthly Fee

Variety logo Variety 1/31/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Comcast is releasing a beta version of the Xfinity TV app for Roku devices and TV sets — but the while users don’t have to lease a set-top box, the cable giant will still charge customers an additional monthly fee per once the app formally launches.

The U.S.’s No. 1 cable operator said it plans to officially launch the Xfinity TV app on Roku later this year, and is soliciting feedback from customers during the beta-test period. The Roku app can be used only in a Comcast subscriber’s home, over a broadband connection from the cable company (although the operator said it is working to make internet-gateway equipment available soon for subscribers who have another broadband provider).

During the beta program, Xfinity TV customers will not pay a fee to use the Roku app. However, Comcast will levy additional outlet charges for connected Roku devices once it the app officially launches. Currently the operator’s additional outlet service fees per set-top box are $9.95 per month; customers using their own substitute equipment, such as a TiVo, receive a $2.50 credit (resulting in a net charge of $7.45 per month). A Comcast rep said the company is currently “evaluating our additional outlet policies.”

While the Roku app is not available for use as a “primary outlet” during the beta, customers will be able to use the Xfinity TV app for Roku as their primary outlet once it is formally launched.

On Roku players and TVs, the Xfinity TV app will provide access to live and on-demand programming, including local broadcast and public, educational and governmental channels. Xfinity users also can watch their cloud-based DVR recordings on Roku devices in the home.

Comcast wants a presence on Roku to better compete for consumers’ watch-time alongside numerous other streaming-video options on the platform like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Coincidentally, the move comes as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has dropped the agency’s proposal to “unlock” set-top competition from vote consideration — a plan that was designed to force pay-TV operators to do exactly what Comcast is doing with Roku.

Comcast Xfinity customers can access the Xfinity TV beta app from the Roku Channel Store. Initially, the app will be available on Roku TV models and all Roku players released in the last few years, including the Roku Express, Roku Express+, Roku Streaming Stick (model 3600), Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra, Roku 4 (model 4400), Roku 3 (model 4230 and 4200), and Roku 2 (model 4210). Comcast said it will expand support for additional Roku players leading up to the official launch.

More info on the Xfinity TV app for Roku is available at xfinity.com/xfinitytvbeta.

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