Comcast: No Charge to Register and Participate in New Xfinity TV Program

Facing the specter of new FCC rules aimed at “unlocking” the set-top box, Comcast launched a partner program Wednesday that will enable partners, including Samsung and Roku, to offer the MSO’s full suite of video services, including live, VOD and cloud DVR, to the home via retail video devices.

An FAQ about the new program sheds light on some of the requirements potential partners must live up to if they want to offer the Xfinity TV on their respective retail platforms.  

In it, Comcast notes that program partners won’t be charged to register or participate in it, but that they “bear their own expenses for any development, marketing, and operations associated with integration of the Xfinity TV Partner app on their device.”

Regarding technical requirements for app partners, Comcast outlines some of them, including compliance with HTML5 standards, Media Source Extensions (MSE), and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) with the Adobe Access CDM (Content Decryption Module) and/or Microsoft PlayReady CDM, and Web Cryptography API

Because the app replicates the elements of Comcast’s pay TV service, participating devices must also enable their  Xfinity TV Partner app to comply with “all applicable regulatory requirements for cable service,” including Emergency Alert System, closed captioning, and must also support requirements set out in Comcast’s programmer deals spanning copy restrictions, geographic restrictions, and content branding.

Multichannel News has asked other companies such as TiVo, Google and Apple if they intend to join the new Xfinity TV Partner Program. 

TiVo, the first to respond, offered this statement: “We don’t have anything in the works with them on this program at the moment, but we’re always open to discussions.”

However, app partners will be using Comcast’s UI, which could make the program less attractive to TiVo, which would prefer to use its interface. Per the program’s FAQ: “Customers will discover and navigate content via Xfinity TV’s award winning user interface.”