Xfinity VOD app

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by TiVo_Ted, May 22, 2019.

  1. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    As regulars here know, I've been trying to read the tea leaves for the past few years with regards to Comcast's long-range plans to switch to all-IP video. The transition is taking longer than some might have anticipated but Comcast continues to take baby steps in that direction.

    This year's baby steps (so far) are:
    1. making all-IPTV service (IP linear channels, IP cloud DVR, IP VOD) the default option for new TV customers (Comcast will still give new TV customers X1 boxes with QAM tuners and hard drives in them but you have to specifically ask for that. It's not even a listed option when you sign up online.)
    2. on June 25, apparently shutting down QAM-based VOD and moving to all-IP VOD for all TV customers

    Wow, I live in Comcast/AT&T country and I think you're the first person I've ever heard of (offline or online) who subscribes to Comcast TV but AT&T Internet. But, if you love your TiVo but don't love Comcast internet, that makes sense.

    As for Uverse TV...I might have some bad (or good?) news for you. It's been rumored for awhile by AT&T installers that Uverse TV will cease to be offered as an option to new customers around the time that AT&T introduces a new streaming subscription TV service that they've been working on for awhile now. Introduction of the new service keeps getting pushed back -- it was originally slated for last fall -- but signs are now pointing to this summer (3Q). This new service will become the default option that AT&T sells to their home internet customers, as opposed to DirecTV satellite (which will still be around for years) and Uverse TV (which will continue on for some time for existing customers but probably be unavailable for new sign-ups).

    There're are a lot of unknowns about AT&T's new TV service, including the branding, the channel packages, the pricing, whether there will be an initial contract, etc. We do know that it will use the same underlying tech platform and online distribution system that's already in place for their DirecTV Now service. We know that it will use a 4K HDR (HDR10 & HLG) AT&T-issued STB running their own customized version of Google Android TV with full access to Google Play Store apps (with Netflix and YouTube already pre-loaded) and a full-featured voice remote with Google Assistant. It will rely exclusively on cloud DVR (no hard drive inside the box). AT&T will almost certainly offer a bundle discount if it's packaged with their home internet service (currently they offer a $10 TV+internet bundling discount) and they'll almost certainly waive any data cap you might have on your home internet service if you subscribe to the streaming TV service too (since they already do this for their customers who have DirecTV Now).

    My hunch (could be wrong, of course) is that the upcoming service is basically going to be the same thing as DirecTV Now currently is, except it will come with the new AT&T STB. By the time it's all unveiled, I think AT&T will have added several popular cable channels that are currently missing from their Plus and Max channel packages (A&E, HGTV, History, Food, AMC, etc.) -- they're in the midst of renegotiating some of their carriage contracts lately. And when it comes out, they'll offer a long-rumored cloud DVR upgrade from the current 20 hours to 100 hours (probably for an extra $10/mo).
     
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  2. alexofindy

    alexofindy Member

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    I am also not pleased with this; I use the Tivo Comcast VOD app quite a bit. In my home, it's more robust than IP-based apps; I have many cable outlets, but I don't have hard wired ethernet in most rooms, and rely on Wifi for my Internet. Maybe time to try MoCA or Powerline. Anyone have any experience with these technologies?

    My family TV is a 2015 Samsung SmartTV, but the Comcast Xfinity App is only available for a few 2017 Samsungs, and 2018 and later. So, I am SOL in this regard. The Roku beta app is my best option, it seems. I hope Comcast doesn't slap a monthly charge on this when it goes off beta.

    I would guess that Comcast is ending support for TiVo VOD for one of two reasons: either VOD over QAM is inefficient use of bandwidth, so they only plan to support IP-based technologies for delivering on-demand services, or Comcast is not happy with Tivo's business model of suing everyone in sight over patent issues. Tivo has long used lawsuits as a major source of revenue; it's worked for them in the past, but it's not a good way to make friends. Playing hardball with Comcast is likely to be a strategic mistake for TiVo. As Jim Croce put it, you don't tug on Superman's cape.

    My major concern with Tivo is that the loss of Comcast VOD is a portent of worse things to come. If Comcast switches existing cable customers to IP based services like X1, my existing Tivo, which has PLS, will be most useful as a paperweight. If Tivo is to survive, they will have to support DVR functions for IP-based linear TV (and maybe even streaming), and treat existing customers properly by providing an economical means of transferring PLS. For what they provide, Tivo's monthly subscription costs are way above market given that all you get is access to the program guide - Tivo itself does not provide content. Check out the cost of guide services from other providers, say Silicon Dust.

    And while I'm venting, a couple of additional notes for TiVo Ted:

    Why didn't you have a replacement app for Comcastt VOD available before Comcast discontinued the existing app?
    Second, if you continue to introduce new products, please do a better job on design than the bent-in-the-middle Bolt, and please provide a product that does what my circa 2010 Premiere XL4 does, and handles both OTA and Cable (soon to be IP) channels.

    Thanks, all!
     
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  3. alexofindy

    alexofindy Member

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    That's food for thought, NashGuy. Thanks very much. I also live in Comcast/AT&T country, about 4 or 5 hours north of you, if you get on I-65 and forget to get off.

    I have pretty reliable Comcast service delivered via cable (at least the last mile is cable, most of the network is probably fiber), AT&T recently installed fiber to my door, which I don't now use.

    I often ponder what I'll do when my TiVo becomes impractical, say when Comcast goes all IPTV. I'd consider AT&T if their offerings are reasonably priced, and their user interface at least acceptable. I'd also have no problem with either Comcast or AT&T cloud-based DVR service; in many ways, they're more versatile than my ancient TiVo. (My ancient TiVo has PLS and does both OTA and QAM, which is why I haven't replaced it). But both AT&T's and Comcast's cloud based DVR's are, at least last time I checked, limited in capacity - AT&T to 1 TB, and Comcast to 0.5 TB, with no option to upgrade. And AT&T's prices are a bit high, when you include their surcharges for more than one TV, and the usually monthly extra charges. So, we'll see....

    Thanks again, very much, for your very well informed insight!
     
    NashGuy likes this.
  4. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    TiVo can only do this if the cable company (the IPTV provider) cooperates with TiVo to make this happen. And since the FCC isn't forcing IPTV providers to do that, most of them aren't. The ones who ARE cooperating with TiVo to make their IPTV systems work with TiVo are simply licensing the whole TiVo system to use for ALL of their customers instead of using their own system and boxes (like Comcast does with X1).

    In other words, as we move into the IPTV era, TiVo will die as a retail option for individual pay TV customers to choose. It will live on only as a systemwide solution adopted by entire cable TV operators. So far, RCN and Service Electric (and possibly other small operators) have adopted TiVo's Next-Gen IPTV Platform.

    Because a replacement app mainly depends on Comcast, not TiVo. I'm sure TiVo would have loved to deploy a new and improved IP VOD app for Comcast (like the one TiVo already has for Cox) on their TiVo DVRs years ago. But it's up to Comcast to make that happen.

    Bottom line in all of this: don't blame TiVo, blame Comcast!
     
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  5. CharlesH

    CharlesH Member

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    And Comcast would say that this is payback for TiVo suing Comcast for patent infringement.
     
  6. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Ah, yes, I know Indy pretty well. Got family on the west side in Avon.

    If you want to see the UI in action for the upcoming AT&T TV service on its dedicated box, click here. Start watching at 8:25 into the video if you want to see the initial set-up or just skip to 14:15 to see the UI for normal TV viewing. (Keep in mind this was a beta from over 6 months ago, so the final result should be faster/smoother.)

    Here's my prediction on where this is going. We'll see how much I get right, ha.

    • This will roll out around Aug. 1, 2019.
    • There was be three main channel packages available: Starter, Plus and Max.
    • Starter will cost $30 and contain pretty much the same 35+ channels now available on AT&T WatchTV, but also include HBO too. Note that this package does not include any local broadcast networks or all-sports channels.
    • Plus and Max will sell for their current regular prices of $50 and $70 (with no additional fees for broadcast or RSN channels). About a month ago, DirecTV Now began offering a $20 discount off of each for the first three months. Just this week, they changed that to $15 off for the first two months. By Aug. 1, those deals will have lapsed. They'll still both include HBO (and Max will also still include Cinemax too). They'll have all the same channels they currently do, but by that time, AT&T will also have added popular channels from A+E Networks (A&E, History, Lifetime), Discovery Networks (HGTV, Discovery, Food, Travel, ID), and AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, BBCAmerica). If PBS stations aren't included at launch, they'll be added at some point in the coming year as they become available for streaming.
    • All plans will come with 20 hours of cloud DVR storage, with recordings auto-deleting after 30 days. Like now, you'll be able to FF in all recordings from any channel, including past ads.
    • You can upgrade to 100 (or maybe 120) total hours of cloud DVR, with a longer auto-delete period (3 months? 6? 9?) for an extra $10/mo.
    • Niche cable channels that aren't included in Starter, Plus or Max might be offered in the form of add-on packs that can be added to one of those base packages. Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and Epix will be offered as a la carte premium add-ons.
    • Each subscription allows 2 simultaneous steams on any combination of devices, whether in or out of home. Each additional stream will cost $5/mo.
    • The Android TV-powered set-top-box and remote will be sold directly to customers (maybe $80 each), perhaps with the option to spread the cost out over sequential monthly bills. (The rumor is that AT&T wants to get out of the STB rental business). I definitely expect AT&T will actually give a lot of them away as promotional items for new subscribers (maybe if you commit to sticking with the service a certain number of months or because you bundle it together with AT&T Internet/Fiber). Rather than having long-term commitments, like the 2-year agreement DirecTV satellite has in exchange for deeply discounted monthly rates the first year, this service will be sold with a "no-games-playing" everyday standard price. The free boxes will be the up-front bonus for certain customers. (I still expect folks getting AT&T Internet/Fiber plus TV to score up-front Visa gift cards, though.)
    • Unless you're getting AT&T Internet/Fiber installed at the same time, the TV box will be a simple self-install option that is shipped to you by UPS. (WAY cheaper for AT&T than a satellite TV installation!) For those who can't even connect a box to their TV and wifi, AT&T will send one of their in-home sales consultants to help you out (and also "helpfully" try to sell you other AT&T services while they're there).
    • Netflix and YouTube will come pre-loaded on the box, along with the Google Play app store, which by that time should offer the Amazon Prime Video app for Android TV. You can definitely expect the upcoming on-demand streaming service from AT&T's WarnerMedia (called HBO Max or HBO+) to be integrated into the box too. Like regular HBO, a subscription to HBO+ will be non-optionally included in Starter, Plus and Max for no additional cost.
    • Although it will be available to anyone with home broadband from any provider (e.g. Comcast, Verizon, Charter, etc.), bundling this service with AT&T Internet/Fiber will knock $10 off the price and also score you unlimited data from them, i.e. no data cap. (And running the service over AT&T's own network could only make it more reliable, one would think.)
    • Uverse TV -- which is only available to homes wired for AT&T Internet/Fiber -- will cease to be sold to new customers. Existing customers will have a long while (couple years) to transition over to the new service before AT&T pulls the plug on Uverse TV.
    • DirecTV satellite will continue to be sold for several years but AT&T will focus their marketing on rural areas that lack broadband service. Anyone with broadband will have the option to go with the streaming TV service and AT&T will price it cheaper overall to attract consumers in that direction. Starter, Plus and Max will also be available as channel packages to satellite subscribers. (In fact, Plus and Max are already listed as options during online sign-up for satellite TV but with current prices of $110 and $130 rather than $50 and $70!)
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
  7. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

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    Lots of folks here have experience with MoCA, some have experience with Powerline. Plenty of help available if you choose either route. I'd recommend MoCA, but I'm biased because that's what I use.
     
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  8. Falkor

    Falkor Member

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    Comcast may have given you a router with MOCA built in. Go to the router settings and turn it on.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  9. David B Gregory

    David B Gregory Member

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    I received my notice today from Xfinity/Comcast. Considering we pay fees to both Tivo and Xfinity for services and they are not interested in updating technology as needed I will be moving to OTA and dumping cable as soon as my contract expires!
     
  10. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

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    Plenty of TCFers do. MoCA’s preferable, especially if the coax is already available, and the only other method (beside Ethernet) officially supported by TiVo for streaming. Feel free to start a new thread in the Help forum if looking for feedback.
     
  11. hybucket

    hybucket Member

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    First, Comcast refuses to pay TiVO for their remote access patent...then they (Comcast) do whatever it is they did so that TiVO has to shut down their VOD. Coincidence? I think not.
     
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  12. Davelnlr_

    Davelnlr_ N5GGG

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    Ok, this is good to know. That means hopefully, when the Roku stream app comes out of Beta, and they attempt to charge me an "extra outlet" fee for it, I can tell them I have to use it to get VOD and Streampix which are included in my contract. As for Tivo sueing Xfinity, what is this one about? I figured when Tivo was bought out, that crap would have stopped.

    As for the Beta App on Roku, I watched all night last night without a single hiccup. No pause, skip back, or anything tho unless you record it on their cloud DVR.
     
  13. Ken Nelson

    Ken Nelson New Member

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    Yes, Verizon, Spectrum and RCN
     
  14. Ken Nelson

    Ken Nelson New Member

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    Yes, thank you. I do have options, Verizon, Spectrum, RCN and the satellites Dish/DirectTV. Also, I live in the NYC broadcast region so there are lots of OTA channels too. Other than this latest VOD app issue, I'm actually pretty happy with my Comcast service (which includes internet) so I'm not planning on switching just yet as I can live without their VOD app and be just fine. if, however, down-the-line Comcast gets out of control and tries to make TiVo incompatible, then I'll definitely switch. I'm still going to call customer service on the phone and log my displeasure in their system (just in case they don't monitor boards like this).
     
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  15. Bigg

    Bigg Cord Cutter

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    The way I interpret it, they have to provide CableCard as long as they use QAM delivery, possibly unless they find a way to provide the same functionality as CableCard with QAM. Once they're not using QAM, there's no requirement.
     
  16. pdhenry

    pdhenry Recumbent

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    I think we're in agreement. The question is how long before they turn off QAM.
     
  17. southerndoc

    southerndoc TiVo Fanatic TCF Club

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    Start writing the FCC and your legislators now. Just like the CableCARDs became a requirement, so can any alternative.
     
  18. WGB

    WGB New Member

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    I was pointed to this thread and I'm more angry than I was before. Much to the acronyms I don't know and shouldn't have to know. I have Comcast and none of their boxes. I have my own cable modem that does internet and phone. I have 2 Tivo boxes that support 2 tvs and two others via minis. My wife and I watch things using the Xfinity app and record things on the tivos to watch later.

    So now I have one month before all the HBO on demand which we watch (and other on demand that we don't watch) go away.

    I don't really care who is to blame. I know this. I pay Comcast alot of money every month for cable/internet/phone. I own expensive Tivo hardware and 4 TVs. It has all worked either really well or in the case of the Xfinity app, well enough.

    Hearing Tivo_Ted say there is an app coming is nice, but when?

    Here is what I have in black and white. I have the message from Tivo on Thursday - no mention of a replacement, just death on 6/25. Yesterday I get email from Comcast, again the only thing is it goes away on 6/25 and I guess I can watch HBO on my phone. I get a letter today from Comcast saying it dies on 6/25 and yea, I can watch it on my phone.

    This tells me I'm paying alot and getting much of what we watch dropped.

    This thread seems to say the rest will die when QAM dies. With this experience that tells me I will get 30 days notice of everything going away sometime (6 months, a year, whatever).

    --

    I have had Tivo for many years and Comcast longer than that. I can get FIOS.

    --

    So, do I cut out cable entirely? If I have to buy something, I want it to last.

    --

    So, what to do. Right now I hate Comcast more than ever. That said when complaining, they have made things work. I have complained to Comcast support and left voicemail with Comcast corporate.

    I have called Tivo support who say they are logging calls to get Comcast to change.

    --

    What to do? I don't have alot of time to figure this out and it really should be easy, but in today's world apparently it's bizarrely complex with too many devices.

    --
    2 companies I have been a loyal customer of for literally decades are screwing me.

    --

    What to do?
     
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  19. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Let me get this straight: your home is served by three different cable companies? Comcast Xfinity and Charter Spectrum and RCN? I've never heard of such. It's highly rare for a particular address to be wired by even two different cable companies. But three?

    As for Verizon, sure, it's not unusual for an address to be served by a telco plus one cable company. As a TiVo owner, you're lucky to have the option to use Verizon. (It and Frontier FiOS are the only telcos with TiVo-friendly systems.)
     
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  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Verizon FiOS isn't showing any signs that they're going to switch away from QAM (and therefore become incompatible with TiVo). In fact, they just recently launched a 4K channel in QAM that can be viewed and recorded with the TiVo Bolt! (Comcast has repeatedly stated that they'll never offer 4K in QAM, only in IPTV, which TiVos cannot access.)

    My advice to you would be to check with Verizon and see what it would cost for your desired package of TV, internet and phone. FiOS TV doesn't have an on-demand app available for TiVo but you seem to mainly be concerned about watching HBO on-demand on your TiVo and (unlike Comcast), Verizon WILL let you use your FiOS TV credentials to activate the HBO Go app on TiVo. So you could watch it that way. (It would be a better experience than you were used to on the old Xfinity OnDemand app for TiVo too.)

    If you really want to continue using TiVo long-term, going with Verizon is probably your better option.

    Order online and you can get their Extreme TV package + gigabit internet + home phone for $110/mo with a 2-yr contract. You'd have to pay another $15 (I think) for HBO. (You get a price break on additional premiums you bundle in.) But you get a $200 Visa gift card as a sign-up bonus. Free installation. Equipment charges and taxes are extra.

    I don't know how they charge differently for using CableCARDs rather than their own TV boxes or whether you can specify during the online sign-up process that you need CableCARDs rather than their boxes. Maybe a Verizon FiOS TV customer can chime in here.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
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