After withholding access under lock and key, Comcast finally relinquished authentication for two major streaming apps for the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick streaming devices today.
Comcast Xfinity subscribers will now be able to access HBO Go and Showtime on Amazon’s streamers, according to the company. The new availability for subscribers of Comcast Xfinity on Amazon’s streaming video devices follows a similar deal which allowed Comcast customers to watch HBO Go and Showtime Anytime through Roku media streamers in December.
“Both the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick join platforms like Roku, AppleTV, Xbox One and Google’s Chromecast where subscribers can download the network’s app, sign in with their Xfinity TV credentials, and immediately start watching the channel’s shows and movies,” explained Comcast Cable Executive Vice President Matt Strauss in a company blog post.
It’s a long-awaited concession for Comcast, which is perpetually one of the last holdouts among pay-TV providers to allow access to popular streaming apps that require authentication from a cable or satellite subscription. As the largest cable and Internet provider in the country — one which is often the only available option for consumers in many regions — the service has been notoriously slow to allow subscribers to access content from third-party hardware.
Comcast would, of course, rather have users access on-demand programs from HBO, Showtime, and other popular apps like WatchESPN through the cable giant’s own products. Without missing a beat, Strauss was sure to mention Comcast’s own on-demand HBO and Showtime streaming options in the announcement. “Of course, our customers continue to have instant and unlimited access to nearly the entire HBO and Showtime catalogs through Xfinity on Demand. And on the go, they can access both the entire On Demand catalog, as well as live streaming, via the Xfinity TV Go website and app.”
This latest Comcast deal bears similarities to the difficult negotiations between the company and Roku last year. Negotiations between Roku and Comcast over HBO Go and Showtime Anytime support took “several months,” according to a Re/code report.
Comcast said that it now “authenticates more than 90 networks across 18 devices” and it expects that number to grow in the future.
While today’s move is a welcome one for Fire TV faithful, unfortunately, the wait for HBO Go access for Comcast subscribers on Sony’s PS3 and PS4 game consoles continues.