Comcast Preventing New Starz App From Working for Comcast Users

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Starz recently unveiled a new streaming app that offers Starz content for $9 a month if you’re not a cable customer, but free if you already pay for Starz through a traditional cable provider. And while most cable operators have quickly enabled the relatively-simple authentication needed to access the app work, Comcast is once again refusing to make authentication work — and once again refusing to explain why they can’t.

“Blocking” users from authenticating their Comcast credentials via the app does have one notable bonus for Comcast: it means more customers looking to watch Starz content will need to do so via the website and the Xfinity TV mobile apps.

This isn’t Comcast’s first conflict of this type. The company has oddly been preventing Comcast users from enjoying HBO Go on select devices for years now. Since 2011 users complained that the cable giant didn’t allow HBO Go to work on Roku if you’re a Comcast cable subscriber, and while that was only recently remedied, Comcast’s also been blocking its customers from using HBO Go on the Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.

I’ve yet to see a meaningful answer as to why that’s the case, Comcast only telling different news outlets that getting authentication to work (the app has to confirm you are a traditional cable subscriber) takes time:

“With every new website, device or player we authenticate, we need to work through technical integration and customer service which takes time and resources. Moving forward, we will continue to prioritize as we partner with various players.”

And indeed, getting HBO Go working on Roku took years. But more recently, over at the official Comcast forums, the company has backed away from the “technical integration and customer service” excuse, and now will only say authentication on the PS3 and PS4 won’t work due to unspecific “business decisions”:

HBO Go availability on PS3 (and some other devices) are business decisions and deal with business terms that have not yet been agreed to between the parties. Thanks for your continued patience.

If you check out the HBO Go for PS4 activation page, you’ll note that most of the other major broadband ISPs have approved the app (including AT&T, Verizon and Comcast), so whatever “business terms” Comcast is waiting for HBO, Sony, and now Starz to agree to are quite specific to Comcast.

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