Comcast Launches Non-Authenticated ‘TV Sampler’ App

Comcast has introduced a “TV Sampler” app that offers a small library of shows and movies to anyone with access to Wi-Fi or a device that runs on Verizon Wireless’s 3G and 4G cellular network, but is primarily intended to promote the cable operator’s service bundling deal with the mobile service provider.

The app’s video streaming library averages a mix of 20 to 25 TV shows and full-length movies from several programmers, including NBC, AMC, Esquire, We, BBC America and Disney’s family of cable networks. The TV Sampler app rotates its titles about every 30 days. The Android version of the app (OS 4.0.3 or higher) of the app went live on September 10, and the version for iOS (devices that run 6.0 or higher) was introduced on October 30.

Unlike Comcast’s Xfinity Player and the soon-to-be-launched, rebranded Xfinity TV Go TV Everywhere applications, TV Sampler is not an authenticated app, meaning users do not need a Comcast subscription or a username and password to partake. “[A]ll content is free. No strings attached!” proclaims the TV Sampler FAQ, which refers to the app as a “content-limited trial.”

TV Sampler is open to anyone with a Wi-Fi connection, while cellular access is limited to the Verizon Wireless network. That’s because it was developed primarily to promote the ongoing Comcast/Verizon Wireless deal that enables each party to bundle and sell the other’s services, Comcast said. Among possible promotional uses, the app could be highlighted in retail outlets to show off the video streaming capabilities of Verizon Wireless’ cellular network.

Comcast also confirmed that TV Sampler was created separately from the now-defunct innovation technology joint venture originally formed by Verizon Wireless, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in late 2011.

TV Sampler does come with a couple of limitations. Streaming is not available outside the U.S. Users also aren't allowed to mirror TV Sampler content through an Apple device because  HDMI-out support is not enabled by the app.