Comcast is opening up its ridiculously restricted UHD Xfinity service today
by Stephan Jukic – December 19, 2014
As we’ve already covered recently, Comcast has been putting together a 4K VoD content offering that it was going to unveil to all newer model Samsung ultra HD TVs over the Christmas holidays.
This is starting as of today, Friday the 19th of December and as was already mentioned, the App and all of its associated content is for now at least only accessible to owners of 4K TVs made in 2014.
Thus, fans of series like “Suits”, “Chicago Fire” and “Covert Affairs” who also happen to subscribe to “Xfinity in UHD” from Comcast and own a 2014 Samsung 4K TV can now enjoy these streams directly from their TVs via the Xfinity app on Samsung’s Smart Hub system.
Given all the conditions of being able to access the new Comcast service, one is almost left wondering if the total number of subscribers nationwide goes above the number of fingers on both hands. Nonetheless, Comcast itself is promising that the currently limited selection of content and the highly restrictive conditions of availability for the Xfinity service will ease up in 2015.
We’d like to hope so, given that this is a pretty weak offering from what is in effect the largest cable provider in the U.S.
And by limited content, we do mean limited: currently, only episodes of the three shows listed above are going to be available and this tiny selection is probably why the Xfinity UHD app’s title for now just reads “Ultra HD sampler” on the Samsung app store.
Comcast will soon add the series “Parks and Recreation” (in February, according to the company) and the current roster of shows belongs entirely to NBC Universal, which is a subsidiary of Comcast itself.
The Xfinity UHD service is free to all Xfinity TV customers whose video subscriptions include participating networks and moving into 2015, Comcast plans on expanding its on-demand programming across multiple networks and studios.
Matt Strauss, SVP of Video Services for Comcast Cable has also explained that next years plans include a much larger library of content in Ultra HD and also the release of a new X1 set-top box that will deliver the 4K directly to a wider range of 4K TV brands.
This trend of keeping content exclusive to a single brand of UHD TV doesn’t just apply to Comcast. DirecTVs newly arriving 4K service can also only be watched on 2014 Samsung 4K sets and the same applies to M-Go’s 4K download service, also for TVs from the same manufacturer.
Samsung seems to be benefitting wonderfully from this collection of exclusivity contracts that it’s building but these VoD services themselves are failing their customers in taking such a narrow approach.
Considering that Netflix and Amazon both let any owner of any kind of 4K TV with HEVC and a decent internet connection to watch their 4K streaming content, the limitations being imposed by Comcast, DirecTV and M-Go on their own customers seem downright ridiculous.
Story by 4k.com