Comcast to Pull Xbox 360 App

IP-VOD App Was Once the Target of Netflix’s Ire
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Comcast confirmed that it will soon pull the Xfinity TV On Demand app for the Xbox 360, a service  that delivered an array of IP-delivered VOD content to the Microsoft gaming console.

Windows Central first reported the news on Monday (August 17), noting that Microsoft informed Xbox 360 console owners via a message that the app would be removed on September 1.

Following a question about the decision by Windows Central’s John Callaham, the Comcast Cares Twitter handle  responded that the app was being removed “to make way for new updates and improvements to our online experience for customers.”

It’s not clear if or when an Xfinity app will return to the Xbox 360, but Comcast pointed out that, even after the app sunsets, credentialed customers will still have access to on-demand TV Everywhere content from 20 programming networks via the Xbox 360.

Comcast’s Xbox 360 app, launched in March 2012, drew the ire of Netflix, which held that the app violated network neutrality rules at the time because it did not count against a customer's high-speed Internet data cap (Comcast continues to test a usage-based data policy in select markets).

Comcast countered then that the app did not violate the FCC’s rules at the time because VOD content was being delivered via a separately provisioned and managed IP connection, and not delivered “over-the-top” via a customer’s public Internet high-speed Internet connection. The Xfinity TV On Demand app, Comcast said then, "essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service" and is therefore governed under Title VI of the Communications Act. That managed IP video approach, which Comcast uses today for its in-home Xfinity TV app for mobile devices and will also soon use for the in-home delivery of its coming “Stream” skinny-bundle service, is somewhat akin to the way AT&T delivers its separately-managed U-verse IPTV service.

Comcast, meanwhile, has been pushing hard on the deployment of its own IP-capable video platform, X1, and is now deploying about 30,000 X1 boxes per day.