Comcast said Wednesday said that it has launched an Xfinity TV Partner Program to expand the range of retail devices its customers can use to access Xfinity cable TV service, and Roku and Samsung are on-board.

The Xfinity TV Partner Program will leverage open standard technologies, including HTML5, to provide a common framework to connect with smart TVs, and TV-connected and IP-enabled retail devices. In that way, participating electronics manufacturers will be able to use the Xfinity TV Partner app on devices used in Comcast markets without the need to lease a set-top box.

Using the app, certain Roku media adapters, Roku TVs and Samsung 2016 smart TVs will be able to receive Comcast programing in high-quality, presumably at lower cost and with less clutter and electricity use.

Read more about the Xfinity TV Partner Program after the jump:

In addition to accessing subscription Xfinity TV channels of live and on-demand programming, the app in new Samsung smart TVs and on some Roku TVs and adapters will provide an on-screen guide and access to cloud-based DVR recordings.

News of the TV partner program comes as the Federal Communications Commission gathers comment on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rule changes that could open up cable programming and program guide information, among other things, to third party equipment manufacturers who would like to make cable boxes and equipment with unified program guides. That way cable customers could purchase set-top equipment one time, and save paying potentially hundreds of dollars over a long period from on-going leases to the cable company.

President Barak Obama recently issued his support of the proposed rule changes, pointing to the potential to lessen the power of large corporate interests looking to extract additional fees from citizens.

Wheeler’s proposed rule changes would make it easier for consumers to purchase cable decoders, DVRs and other gear from multiple manufacturers, driving down prices through competition. Recent surveys have shown the vast majority of cable set-top boxes are leased from cable system operators, who charge customers more than $200 year in equipment fees in some cases.

Potentially, the new rules could also bring cable TV programming to tablets and other devices.

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Cable companies have argued that the proposed rule changes are unnecessary since new apps were being developed to send cable programming to smart TVs, media adapters and other devices, which would supplant the need for most cable set-top decoders.

Comcast stressed that the Xfinity TV Partner app is not an over-the-top product or Internet streaming service, but will enable Xfinity TV customers to receive Xfinity TV cable service on connected TVs and other IP-enabled third-party devices.

“Comcast has long partnered with Samsung to bring our customers advanced, high-quality entertainment viewing experiences, and we are thrilled to have them on board to help launch this exciting program,” stated Mark Hess, Comcast Cable Business and Industry Affairs, office of the chief technology officer senior VP. “We remain committed to giving our customers more choice in how, when and where they access their subscription, and the Xfinity TV Partner Program enables us to efficiently and effectively expand the range of devices our customers can utilize to do that.”

By Greg Tarr


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