The dawn of the post-cable box era is upon us. Comcast on Tuesday afternoon rolled out a beta version of its Xfinity TV app for Roku users in the US (although you wouldn’t know it considering their press release is dated January 31, 2016).
Jokes aside, the new beta app lets Comcast subscribers use their Roku set-top box in their home (along with Xfinity Internet service) to watch live and on-demand programming as well as access their cloud DVR recordings. In essence, all you’re doing is replacing Comcast’s proprietary cable box with a Roku box you already own.
To get started, simply download the Xfinity TV beta app from the Roku Channel Store. Comcast says the app is compatible with most newer Roku boxes 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).
For those still clinging to Comcast’s old hat pay-TV service, there’s no harm in giving Roku delivery a try if you already have a box.
During the beta, Comcast won’t charge customers to access their programming via Roku device but that’ll apparently change once the app exits beta later this year. A Comcast rep told Variety that they’re still evaluating additional outlet policies.
As it stands today, it doesn’t look like you’ll be able to save $9.95 per month per box rental as Comcast will instead just charge you to access its app via Roku. How much they'll charge, however, could be key.
Update - Comcast has reached out and supplied the following clarification.
The primary outlet is included with an Xfinity TV subscription. Once formally launched later this year, our customers will have the ability to utilize the app on Roku devices as a primary outlet and receive a $2.50 credit on their bill (similar to CableCARD devices today). Our current additional outlet policies address access to a customer’s Xfinity TV subscription on additional TVs in the home. So customers who opt to use their own equipment, like a CableCARD or Roku device, on a secondary outlet would incur a $9.95 additional outlet charge but would also receive a $2.50 credit.