Comcast and XBOX.. what a pain.

I currently use my XBOX360 as my home entertainment center. I mostly use it for Netflix and downloaded movies/TV, but also occasionally use it to play music, watch youtube and even play games. It’s a pretty good solution for me. (with a few small caveats)

Before I went XBOX, I had been using a Windows Media Center PC to run my entertainment center. It worked ok, and with a tuner card I could even watch/DVR shows from cable. (one thing the XBOX _can’t do_) Ultimately, the never ending stream of Microsoft updates and random reboots made the MCE PC too much of a hassle..

Where am I going with this?

Comcast now (since earlier this year) has an “Xfinity” XBOX app for watching TV “on demand” from the XBOX. Sounds great, right? Well.. it would be if it worked. At every attempt to use it I get one of a list of error codes, mostly 999. For a long time these codes were a mystery. The Comcast support forums had many posts about them, but no answers. When I talked to a CSR on the phone, they told me I needed a digital TV package (I currently just have internet) as well as a cable box hooked up to a TV. As I have no desire to put a cable box on a tv, I didn’t want to pay for one, and the CSRs couldn’t tell me _why_ one was actually needed. I gave up on the idea…

Recently I saw an update for this issue on the support forums. It basically says you need everything on this check list to watch TV on your XBOX:

-XFINTIY TV (Digital Starter w/ a On Demand STB connected to at least one TV in the house.)

-XFINITY Residential Internet Service (Business Class not eligible)

-An Xbox 360 console and Xbox LIVE Gold subscription

-A D2 or D3 modem (see for a list of supported modems)

-XFINITY TV App installed (the XFINITY TV App is available from the Xbox Marketplace)

-The primary account holder’s Comcast ID or address and password (make sure entire e-mail address is entered)

Bummer.. I still don’t want to pay for a cable box. Shortly after seeing this info, I happened across a link in my bookmarks from the lame-o Xfinity installer. From this Xfinity TV page you can watch a bunch of shows. ..without logging in. ..even when not on a Comcast connection. Granted, some of the content is protected, such as HBO or TBS, for which you have to buy a subscription, but there is still a lot of programming there. I can watch Conan now!

So this is my rant: If I can watch this content without being a Comcast customer or on a Comcast connection, why the hell can’t I watch it on my XBOX?!