May 15, 2012

The Facts about Xfinity TV and Xbox 360: Comcast is Not Prioritizing

As we previously announced, Xfinity TV customers are now able to watch Xfinity TV On Demand on the Xbox 360 — the latest new platform that we are using to bring more content to consumers. And while we'll continue to deliver our cable service through set-top boxes, the Xbox 360 is the first of many consumer-friendly changes we'll be announcing in the months ahead as we respond to consumers who want to watch their favorite content when they want to watch it, where they want to watch it, on multiple devices.

But our Xfinity TV Xbox launch — which we thought was a great, pro-consumer benefit — continues to prompt questions about how we deliver this new service, and we think it's important to clarify how this all works.

Your Xbox 360 running Xfinity TV On Demand essentially acts as an additional cable box for your existing cable service. This is an exciting development because it enables consumers to watch their cable service video-on-demand in their homes through a device other than a traditional set-top box — in this case, using a gaming console that delivers Xfinity TV On Demand over our managed network. Rather than delivering this content in the traditional way we deliver our cable services (which is often referred to as video over QAM) or delivering it over the Internet (as, for example, a Netflix or Hulu Plus would do), we are sending that cable service using IP technology to the Xbox over our managed network.

Specifically, we provision a separate, additional bandwidth flow into the home for the use of this service — above and beyond, and distinct from, the bandwidth a customer has for his or her regular Internet access service. Our Xfinity TV content is provided through the Xbox over that separate service flow, and therefore does not use a customer's provisioned Internet service capacity. We use Differentiated Services Code Point ("DSCP") markings to mark the Xfinity TV packets to identify these packets so our network knows that these packets must be transmitted over the separate service flow from the CMTS to the customer's cable modem.

There's also been some chatter that we might be prioritizing our Xfinity TV content on the Xbox. It's really important to us that we make crystal clear that, in contrast to some other providers, we are not prioritizing our transmission of Xfinity TV content to the Xbox (as some have speculated). While DSCP markings can be used to assign traffic different priority levels, that is not their only application — and that is not what they are being used for here.

It's also important to point out that our Xfinity TV content being delivered to the Xbox is the same video subscription that you've already paid for, to your home over our traditional cable network — the difference is that we are now delivering it using IP technology to the Xbox 360, in a similar manner as other IP-based cable service providers. But this is still our traditional cable television service, which is governed by something known as Title VI of the Communications Act, and we provide the service in compliance with applicable FCC rules.

Many of the other services that are delivered to the Xbox 360 travel to the device via the public Internet. And like traffic that runs over the public Internet and is usually available both inside and outside of the home, including our XfinityTV.com content, our Xfinity TV iPad app, and NBC's digital properties like nbc.com, our broadband data usage threshold applies. We treat all of this traffic the same, as required by the FCC's Open Internet rules and the FCC Order and DOJ Consent Decree entered into in connection with the NBCUniversal transaction. And Comcast's network is consistently rated among the best in terms of the quality of delivering broadband Internet services — including by online video providers.

Comcast is committed to an open Internet and has pledged to abide by the FCC's Open Internet rules — and our policies with respect to Xfinity TV and the Xbox 360 fully comply with those rules and our commitments. Comcast continues to evaluate the impact, effectiveness, and fairness of its data usage standards, and our fundamental philosophical approach is that the application of broadband Internet data usage thresholds must be based on fair treatment for all of our customers — services that go over the Internet, whether they are XfinityTV.com, nbc.com, or others, are all subject to the same data usage thresholds.

Whatever the delivery method, all of these new ways to watch video, and devices like the Xbox 360 that receive content in an IP format, enable us to bring new experiences to consumers...and that's what we'll continue to strive to do.

Tags : Microsoft Xbox 360, TV Everywhere, XFINITY TV, XFINITY TV on Xbox

 
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