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The future of TV is arriving faster than anyone predicted

Late last week, Comcast announced a new program that allows makers of smart TVs and other Internet-based video services to have full access to your cable programming without the need for a set-top box.  Instead, the content will flow directly to the third-party device as an app, including all the channels and program guide. 

The Xfinity TV Partner Program will initially be offered on new smart TVs from Samsung, as well as Roku streaming boxes.  But the program, built on open Internet-based standards including HTML5, is now open to other device manufacturers to adopt.

As video services move from hardware to software, the future of the traditional set-top box looks increasingly grim. With this announcement, Comcast customers may soon eliminate the need for an extra device, potentially saving hundreds of dollars in fees.

[Comcast’s bid to kill the cable box is good for consumers]

Many in the industry have long predicted eventual death for the box, driven in part by a rapid migration by pay TV providers (including fiber and satellite-based companies) to Internet standards for both video content and services, and by the enthusiastic response of consumers to a growing number of Internet-based alternatives. These include Roku, as well as Amazon, Apple, Google, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, SlingTV, Sony, HBO and many others.

AT&T Giving Free 48-Inch Samsung TV To New DirecTV And 'Next' Customers

 

Communications giant AT&T T +0.54% has announced a promotion that will enable new customers – or existing customers who take a new service and phone – to claim a free 48-inch Samsung smart TV.

The details of the deal, which will run throughout April 2016, go like this. To qualify you will need to buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge on AT&T’s ‘Next ’ platform, and activate either a new AT&T wireless line or a new DirecTV service (you must have both to qualify, but only one needs to be new). Then you’ll need to submit an online offer claim and your purchase receipt within 60 days of the phone purchase, and that’s it – a Samsung UN48J5200 TV will be winging its way to your door.

I’ve added a table at the bottom of this article that simplifies the terms of the deal further if you’re still feeling confused.

You Can Now Get Comcast TV and Internet Service Through Amazon

With the promise of better customer service.

Comcast has struck a big online retail partnership.

The media conglomerate has begun selling its Xfinity TV, phone, and Internet services through Amazon AMZN -0.45% . Comcast’s CMCSA 0.77% service bundles are available through Amazon.com’s recently debuted Amazon Cable Store, a web page whose existence was first reported on Sunday by the television news outletsTV Predictions.

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Comcast customers have long complained about the company’s shoddy customer service. “We’re improving dramatically, but we can always do better,” said Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast, at Fortune’s Global Forum conference this year. Now the company is tapping Amazon’s expertise to make its online sales and support interactions smoother.

“They helped us in our thinking about how to simplify the experience and just make it clean,” said Neil Smit, president of Comcast’s cable division, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal—for instance, by minimizing the number of clicks per transaction. “We’re partnering with a company that’s so good at the customer experience—I think that’s really what excites me.”