Sony is the latest major TV maker to sign on for Comcast’s Xfinity TV Partner program, announcing that it will support the MSO’s app on sets running Android TV starting sometime in 2018.
Accessible in the home of the Comcast customer, the app will look and feel much like Comcast’s X1 experience and support live TV (including local broadcast network feeds), VOD and the pay TV provider’s cloud DVR service. That content is not delivered into the home over-the-top via a public internet connection, but instead is delivered via Comcast’s private, managed IP network. Customers that take advantage of it won’t need a traditional set-top box from Comcast, but will still require a compatible IP cable service gateway from the operator.
Sony joins LG Electronics (webOS) and Samsung (Tizen OS) among TV makers that have announced agreements with Comcast’s Xfinity TV Partner program, an initiative introduced in April 2016 that relies on HTML5 technology standards. LG is expected to offer the Xfinity TV Partner app on 2017 and 2018 smart TVs that run webOS sometime next year. Comcast expects to begin trials on Samsung TVs after it receives a software releasae from the TV maker, but plans to launch a beta of its on Samsung TVs in early 2018.
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Under a separate partner app agreement, Roku launched an Xfinity TV app in beta form for certain streaming player models and integrated Roku TVs in January 2017.
Sony, whose cable-focused retail ambitions have run hot and cold over the years, including some scuffling around tru2way/OCAP, is the first TV maker that leans on Android TV to join the Comcast app program.
“We’re pleased to partner with Comcast in bringing their Xfinity TV application to Sony Android TVs, allowing our customers to directly access great content on Sony 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) TVs,” Kevin Brinkman, director, product marketing, TV and projector at Sony, said in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with Comcast to deliver consistently high-quality programming to our best in class smart TVs, combining Android TV streaming with the immersion of 4K HDR experiences via their advanced managed network.”
"We remain focused on providing our customers with more choice and flexibility in how, when and where they access the content included with their Xfinity TV subscription,” added Mike Gatzke, vice president, video subscription services, Comcast Cable. “Providing our customers with the highest quality entertainment experiences across devices remains a top priority, so we are thrilled to partner with Sony to give our customers access to the Xfinity TV app directly on Sony Smart TVs.”