Comcast Tests Open Internet Principles With New Streaming Video Service
Comcast Tests Open Internet Principles With New Streaming Video Service
 22 November 2015

It turns out that Comcast's new video app, Stream TV, comes with a big asterisk: If you have access to the service and you are one of the growing number of customers who has to abide by Comcast's 300-gigabyte monthly data cap, Stream TV won't count against it. In essence, you'll be able to watch as much Stream TV as you want and never hit your limit. Viewers can live stream local broadcast channels, including all major network affiliates.

Comcast first played this end-run strategy with a service (recently discontinued) delivered to Xfinity connected Xbox 360 game systems. In essence, Stream TV treats tablets, PCs and smartphones like a regular set-top box, but uses an IP path into the home (DOCSIS 3.0 modems are flexible in that a few tuners can be used for regular high-speed Internet service, while others can be used for managed IP services, while still keeping the traffic from each approach separate). However, the service is only available to current Xfinity Internet-only customers. The policy director at Free Press stated that Comcast's Stream TV is definitely not a cable service, as all the streaming is done straight over the internet.

A report issued last week by Clearleap shows that streaming has caught up with cable in terms of overall market penetration, particularly among millennials.

However, likely to the alarm of net neutrality advocates, the government's rules might not even apply to Stream TV - and that's exactly how Comcast hopes regulators will see it. Furthermore, Stream includes thousands of on-demand movies and TV shows that users can watch anywhere they are. It doesn't provide the same flexibility as streaming services like Netflix or Sling TV, which work the same on any Internet connection. Outside of the home, Stream TV offers access to on-demand and recorded videos, and customers can use their Comcast username and password to sign into channel-specific applications like HBO Go. Xfinity Internet customers can just sign-up online, download our Xfinity TV app and start watching. The rollout has gone slower than expected, though. Most of the channels that the service offers are available in HD and the service allows members to access popular channels such as HBO, ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS, Telemundo and Univision.

It's not yet clear whether regulators will conclude that Comcast's new service violates net neutrality principles.

 

Source: The News Oracle

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