Comcast, at long last, has decided to remove the ban it had put on HBO and Showtime apps on Roku devices.
While reasons for the block still aren’t clear, this sudden flip of decisions and the groundbreaking deal securing has actually been brought about by Roku with a complaint about the entire thing forwarded to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Comcast, earlier, was in agreement with only a few companies, including Apple for Apple TV, keeping Roku totally out of the scene.
The good, the bad and the ugly…
Roku is one of the few companies which have been successful in convincing Comcast of signing a deal to allow HBO Go and Showtime Anytime apps. Although this is beneficial for the company, consumers are, but, suffering big time. And, the Roku-Comcast list of disputed points and issues is the perfect example of how merging channel subscriptions with online streaming can bring about such huge mess for the consumers. Further, if the scene continues to be this, then, by the end of 2015, there will be a surge of streaming devices hovering all over the market and more people demanding fluider access to all the shows they pay for. For how long can such clamor be ignored?
Why rushing after the agreement was a big deal?
According to Roku users, pay TV subscriptions earn them more benefits when there are options to watch shows via ‘TV Everywhere’ channels. The channels like HBO Go and Showtime Anytime are big-time hits because they offer unlimited access to a range of famous, original shows, popular movies, sport and what not. Be it Game of Thrones on HBO Go or Ray Donovan on Showtime Anytime, every season of every series can be relished with a lot of indulgence and enjoyment. Roku understood this need of its users. Hence was the mad rush after the agreement.
The story at Comcast:
The HBO Go app was launched for Roku devices a long time ago, in 2011. Although it was working fine with a lot of authorized cable providers, Comcast’s disregard for Roku has gone without an explanation. A deal signed between the two warms up the cold shoulder a bit, yes, but Comcast continues with its ban for the app on Sony’s latest launch, PS4. The reason, it stated, of course, is the much needed tricky work on technical compliance that is to be accomplished before authenticating any streaming device. Also, ‘priority,’ as stated by Comcast, will be hugely responsible for future alliances too.
Priority does sound good for a newbie streaming devices. But, Roku? It’s filthy famous! Did it really deserve the cold shoulder for so long? We still have no answer to that. Also, everyone knows how Comcast is toiling hard to make the $ 45.2 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable happen. So, were the blocking endeavors actually a way to weaken those who were opposing the deal? And certainly, it doesn’t sound like a mere co-incidence, does it?
Well, indeed. Everything, right now, is just a ‘maybe.’ With actions like improving customer services (which we all know is very bad) and now releasing Roku of the long-term banishment, it does seem like a sugar coating upon a bitter pill.