Comcast is joining Meerkat and Periscope with its own take on a live-streaming app that lets X1 cable subscribers beam live video back to their own TV or the big screen of a friend or family member. Xfinity Share is available beginning today on iOS and Android, though at launch it's limited to Comcast customers paying for a Triple Play package.
Once it's installed, you enter your Xfinity account credentials and tap "stream live" to begin recording. From there, you choose whether the stream will be directed to your own X1 cable box or sent to someone else's. To share live streams with people in your contacts list, you'll need the phone number tied to their Xfinity account. (Recipients will also need the X1 set-top box to view streams.) Assuming the broadcasting smartphone has a solid connection, live streams are shown in HD on TV.
So the scope is obviously much smaller than Periscope and Meerkat in that you can't broadcast to the world at large; your streams are one-to-one and exist only on Comcast's fancy X1 platform. And so far, that X1 "entertainment operating system" (Comcast's words) still isn't widely available to all customers. On the plus side, Xfinity Share allows users to beam other content like photos and existing videos from their camera roll. Comcast seems to think customers will take advantage of this for special moments like birthdays, graduations, or a child's first baseball game.
Could it be used to share pay-per-view events between friends? I've asked Comcast whether anything's stopping someone from recording a show or live broadcast on their own TV and streaming it to someone else's X1 box. In an emailed statement, the company told The Verge that Xfinity Share is subject to its regular copyright infringement clauses. And again, you'd be limited to sharing with a single person — not the millions that witnessed Mayweather and Pacquiao thanks to Periscope. It might be possible, but it's not advisable.