(credit: Mike Mozart)

As expected, Comcast will officially offer a paid television service over the Internet. For now, the new service will only allow Roku and Samsung Smart TV owners to purchase access to the cable giant’s broadcast offerings. The program likely will be expanded over time.

As Ars reported two months ago, the Federal Communications Commission approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would force pay-TV companies to provide content and programming information to makers of third-party hardware and applications. This would create a software-based replacement for CableCard, allowing other companies to build set-top boxes or mobile applications that display a pay-TV subscriber's channels without a physical CableCard. (That vote has gotten support from the White House as recently as last week.)

Comcast’s new "Xfinity TV Partner Program" appears to be in direct response to that FCC move, although the company stated earlier this year in an FAQ that such a service was coming in 2016.

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