The Xfinity TV app for Roku is now available in beta form. It allows Comcast subscribers to watch live and on-demand TV, as well as cloud DVR recordings, without having to use the cable box. Instead, that content can be accessed via the app on Roku using a customer's Xfinity login information.
There's no charge for the beta app but after its official launch, scheduled for sometime later this year, Comcast will begin charging a monthly fee for "additional outlets." Currently that fee amounts to $7.45 for devices, such as Roku, that the customer owns. A Comcast representative couldn't confirm that pricing would hold after launch, saying the company was still evaluating its policies.
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. The launch of this app brings another viewing option to Comcast subscribers who own a Roku, and saves some money on renting cable boxes.
The app will only work on Roku devices inside the home and requires an Xfinity Internet access device. During the beta test phase you'll also need a Comcast cable box in the house, but after launch that won't be necessary -- the Roku can serve as the primary outlet, no cable box required. At that point users with DVR services as part of their subscription can use Roku to "record" shows to the cloud. Moreover, if the Roku is your primary (and only) outlet, you won't be charged the "additional outlet" fee and will receive Comcast's standard credit of $2.50 for using your own equipment.
Roku confirmed to CNET that the app will offer all live channels, on-demand content and cloud DVR recordings the subscriber can normally access via cable box. During the beta, however, the app will not include the ability to rent or buy programming or play back previously purchased programs.
The interface of the app has an "immersive guide with rich graphics, imagery, personalized recommendations and detailed information for tens of thousands of movies and TV shows," according to the press release.
The app is available to all Comcast subscribers and compatible with all Roku TVs and most Roku streaming devices launched in 2015 ad 2016, 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 says it will work to add support for more Roku players throughout the beta period. We will work to expand support to additional Roku players throughout the beta as part of the official launch, and encourages users to provide feedback as they explore the app.
Currently Comcast offers the Xfinity TV app with similar functionality to Apple and Android mobile phones and tablets as well as Macs and PCs.
Roku has also offered a similar app to Time Warner Cable subscribers since 2013, and it remains among Roku's most watched apps.
Updated with additional information from Roku and Comcast.