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Fire TV Hack: How to stream Comcast Xfinity cable in your FireTV?

Update Mar. 2017

Hi y’all –

Thanks everyone for your comments/questions to this post. From reading all your comments I gather we are finding two main issues:

a. Comcast App is no longer working: So sounds like our friends at Comcast updated their mobile app in a way that makes the FireTV crash and exit the app without even loading. Apparently the Xfinity TV Go app has been replaced with a new app called XfinityStream. I’ve tried multiple versions of the new XfinityStream app, all of them crashed. However the Xfinity TV 3.2.1.028 seems to work sometime, give it a shot. You can download the apk in this link. I got as far as this screen and then kaput!

However there is an…

Alternative (not-kinda-lame) Solution, but simpler!

Since this post was initially written, TV providers have improved their individual apps (a lot). So, while we figure out how to hack the FireTV to support the Comcast app, you can download the following apps (some of them even support Live TV!), which can be downloaded directly from your FireTV:

ABC (Full episodes + Live TV): Download app here – You can watch American Crime, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Modern Family, etc.

NBC (Full episodes + Live TV): Download app here – You can watch Dateline, SNL, Superstore, Chicago Fire, Shade of Blue, etc.

CBS (Full episodes + Live TV): Download app here

CNNgo (Live): Download app here

b. Sideloading – For those who would like to keep trying installing different versions of the Xfinity app. Sounds like Jocala sideloader is not working for some of you. If that is the case & you are using a mac, you can try the following. Go to Terminal (for those who don’t know what this is, spotlight search in the top right of your screen: Terminal, you’ll see an icon with a black developer-ish looking screen) and do this magic:

Step 1: Install Homebrew, to do so in Terminal enter the following (copy paste):

ruby -e “$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)”

Step 2: Install adb. In Terminal enter:

brew install android-platform-tools

Step 3: Start using adb. In Terminal connect to your FireTV via WiFi, for that you need your FireTV IP:

adb connect 192.168.1.XX 

Now your computer and your FireTV have a bridge to communicate and you can sideload any app (install apk file from your computer to your firetv or firetv stick). To do so, enter in terminal

adb install [drag file from Finder here and it will paste the path]

 

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UPDATE 1: The new Fire TV ($99) supports 4K.

UPDATE 2: If you have problems using adfFire to sideload from your PC. Try other options for sideloading. AdfFire was what worked for me when I went through this process.

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Fire TV ($99) and Fire Stick ($39) work on an Android platform, so certain Android tablet/phone apps work on the Fire TV. These apps are not designed for the Fire TV, therefore they are not perfect, but they are functional. These are the steps I followed to the Comcast Xfinity TV To Go app to work on my Fire Stick, so that I could watch cable from it.
Note: Two things you need to do this: a) a Comcast account, that is you must have cable at home or have a friend give you their credentials, b) get a paid app – since the Comcast app is designed for a touchscreen, you will need a remote mouse (different from Fire TV remote app) to enter your credential, I did quite a bit of research to find such app for free, but didn’t find it, so I just paid the $2.98 for the remote mouse app (info below).

Steps:CNN Fire TV

  1. Download adbFire (from the Jocala site) to your PC/laptop http://www.jocala.com/adbfire.html. This software allows you to connect your PC to your Fire TV through your wifi connection and install apps from an APK file (APK file is the raw file of any app) directly into your Fire TV (rather than the Amazon App Store). This is called “sideload” apps.
  2. In your laptop, download the APK file for the Comcast Xfinity TV To Go app. You can google this to find the latest version, or use the APK file I used on May 23, 2015. Link to APK file I used (Dropbox).
  3. Now you got the APK file in your laptop and the software to install it on your Fire TV. In order to do this you need to change a couple of settings in your Fire TV. In your Fire TV, go to Settings > System > Developer Options and turn ON the two available settings: (i) ADB debugging and (ii) Apps from Unknown Source.
  4. Write down the IP number of your Fire TV connection. Go to Settings > System > About > Network. There you will find your IP address. Write this down.
  5. In your laptop, open adbFire. Enter your Fire TV IP address and hit connect. Now click on “Install APK”, find the APK file in your laptop and hit install. A progress bar at the bottom of the adbFire window will show you when installation is completed.
  6. Now the Comcast Xfinity TV To Go app is in your Fire TV. To open it go to Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications > Find the Comcast App and hit “Launch Application”

Tadahh! Except that since it is an Android App and it is designed to be used on a touch screen and your TV is not a touch screen, you won’t be able to enter your Comcast user and password. Now you will need the remote mouse app to get a mouse pointer in your TV and enter your credentials. Follow these two extra steps:

  1. This is the app I used, Remote Mouse for Fire TV. You need to get it installed on your Fire TV and on your phone, so those two can talk to each other. App for Fire TV $1.99, iPhone app $0.99. Total $2.98!
  2. With the mouse remote app enter your Comcast credentials and voila!

Another option is to get a real wireless mouse and plug it in your FireTV box (this option is not available for FireStick as there is not US input). One low cost alternative the AmazonBasics Wireless Mouse with Nano Receiver.

If you find any workarounds let me know in the comments section.

 

 

Poverty Lab: The ROI of Policy Making

If you have not yet, use 20 minutes of your time to Esther Duflo‘s TED Talk. Her ideas would sound like a no-brainer in the for-profit world. Yes, odd enough, watching this reminded me of my days at P&G, when I would need to meet with Finance to discuss the ROI of my sampling plans for Pantene. Aren’t education, health and lives in general way more important than shampoo? Then, why not take the same discipline to find the most effective plans to do so?

You can find Esther Duflo’s famous article in the New Yorker magazine here.

 

Photo: 20 minutes outside of Managua – Nicaragua, by Toni Del Rio.

 

What’s so cool about Pinterest?

This is what I think is very cool about Pinterest. But before answer this question, have you ever said something along the lines “hey, can you send me the link?” or “sure, I’ll send you the link”. Well, Pinterest builds on the simple idea of sharing your favorite stuff through links. The fun (very smart of the Pinterest guys) is that these links are shared in a very cool visual interface. So if you are interest in sharing your “LIKES” with your friends or the rest of the world, go to Pinterest.com. Continue reading “What’s so cool about Pinterest?”

My Tribute to Steve Jobs

My favorite Apple ad. Used to fantasized about that meeting where Steve all excited approved this TV copy. As a tribute to Steve, I wanted to share this and add him to the list of ‘the people that are crazy enough to change the world’. Continue reading “My Tribute to Steve Jobs”

Android vs. iPhone: How is Android taking over?

While doing some research on “what phone to get next?” (yes, I don’t think I can wait until G-d knows when to get the iPhone5), I bumped into this interesting infographics about the growth of Android. Apparently, the app store is the big winner for iPhone, but with the exponential growth in penetration of Android devices across all segments, it is not crazy to think the apps developers will be soon as interested or more interested in building apps for Android, making the Android App Market as exciting, fun and competitive as Apple’s app store. Continue reading “Android vs. iPhone: How is Android taking over?”

The A-B-C of Twitter

Different from e-mail and Facebook, Twitter is not about keeping your profile ‘private’, of course you can set it private, but the essence of Twitter is that it is an open source of information. Twitter won’t be your diary; Twitter will be your newspaper.

Let’s start with the Twitter A-B-C, if you know the basic concepts in e-mailing you will get Twitter easily: Continue reading “The A-B-C of Twitter”

How to use Twitter for Research?

While Facebook is about your friends, Twitter is about following people and topics you are interested in. That said, Twitter can also be used as a research tool.

As some of you know, I am a Lab Associate at Walt Disney Imagineering. My current project involves market research in Nicaragua. The big challenge is that all our team is in the US (Glendale, Seattle, Boston, etc.). The plan is to visit the country in the coming weeks. However, how do we stay in touch with Nicaragua while we are working in the US? How can we learn from what is going on in the country in the meanwhile?. I will use our case to exemplify how to use Twitter as a dynamic research tool. Continue reading “How to use Twitter for Research?”

Google vis-a-vis Facebook

This graph summarizes some key highlights of the business evolution of Facebook compared to Google. Now, with this in mind, can you imagine how would a Google + Facebook alliance look like? What will they be able to do with all the information they have? What better services they can offer to users?… Continue reading “Google vis-a-vis Facebook”

Best Mobile Marketing Campaigns: Knorr

Mobile phones are allowing marketers around the world to take a step closer to consumers by making it possible to reach consumers at what I call “the moment of need”. The moment of need is pretty self-explanatory, is being there when the consumer needs the brands, either to use it or to request information related to the category.

When exploring successful mobile campaigns I found a video about Knorr’s mobile campaign “What’s for dinner tonight?”, which is a Mobile Recipe Book campaign in Brazil and immediately downloaded the app in my iPod Touch.  What is the great thing about this campaign. Well, there are a few things I particularly liked:

  • This campaign was designed for a market where smartphones and regular phones coexist, then consumers could be part of the campaign from several kinds of phones, ranging from the cheapest to the most expensive models. The obvious but big learning here is: Ask yourself what kind of phone do your consumers (mostly) use?
  • Given Brazil is still a 80% pre-paid market (consumers pre-paid their minutes), the campaign needed to address the barrier “I don’t want to spend my cell phone minutes in your campaign”. Therefore, Knorr create a tool that can be used totally offline.
  • Importantly, the recipe book is organized by: Ingredients, occasions, cost, calories. From a user point of view, this organization of the data is great as it reflects consumer decisions-tree when deciding what to cook.
  • Content and recipes are shareable via Social Media from the application, encouraging WOM amongst housewives.

Potential:

After participating in this campaign, I found it very appealing as the recipe book was full of nice pictures and organized in a very friendly design. Additionally, after reviewing the categories, found additional opportunities for other mobile campaign related to the non-profit field, such us food banks (what can you cook with what the ingredients we are giving you?) and food stamps (what can you cook with $5.00).

Literally, food for thought.

– Toni Del Rio

VIDEO: Knorr’s “What’s For Dinner Campaign?”

TEDxChange: What Global Health Advocates Can Learn From Coca-Cola?

Waking up earlier than usual today paid off. I was part of the TEDxChange talk, where most of the discussion went around how to apply lessons from the business world into global health and the fight against poverty. For folks like me, folks that have spend years in the for-profit massive consumption industry, and that at the same time feel passionate about having a positive impact in developing nations, this conference brought a lot of “food for thought”.

Melinda Gates started her talk referring to the world-class for-profit company Coca-Cola as an example of a model that works in developing nations. Coca-Cola is in every country in the world. Melinda’s teaser question was, if you can find Coca-Cola in every developing country, why not condoms and vaccines? Then, what can we learn from Coca-Cola’s business model to improve quality of life?

These are the Coca-Cola lessons I extracted from Melinda Gates’ talk and my personal takeaways on those lessons:

Coke lesson 1: Measure and use real time data.

Yes, this is the ultimate business truth: you get what you measure. And chances to succeed are even higher if you measure as you go. Tracking is learning and learning is the only way to make sure you are on the path to success. Tracking, scorecards, color coding and KPI are all associate to the corporate world where you measure things such as market share, penetration, sales, etc. Let’s put it this way, if for Coca-Cola it is so vital to measure their how many more bottles of Coke they sold today vs. last month; isn’t it even more important to measure how many less kids died today due to malaria vs. last month? Now, can you spell out the KPIs of your organization?

Coke lesson #2: leverage on local entrepreneurial talent.

Very frequently I hear the saying “think globally, act locally”. I invite both for-profits and non-profits to go the extra mile: Become local. Especially in the global health field, many of the causes of illness and death are related to local habits. Those habits do not come obvious in focus groups or one-day guided field trips. Give yourself the chance to live under your target’s reality, insights will come naturally.

Coke lesson #3: Marketing. People want a Coca-Cola. It’s aspirational. They associate the brand to the kind of life they want.

So why can Coca-Cola achieve such great distribution in countries where drinking soda is not necessarily a priority? Why can’t we achieve the same distribution for vaccines, condoms, books, water purification kits, etc.? For any company, distribution plans are costly, especially in remote rural areas. You can invest millions in ‘pushing’ your products to be on the shelf. However, what I call “sustainable distribution” only happens when your product or brand is addressing a consumer unmet need, when people want your product. Question now is, do people in developing countries want condoms, vaccines and books as much as they want Coke? How can we make people want all this things? How do condoms, vaccines and books stand for ‘better life’? Not only in people’s mind but also hearts. Coca-Cola purchase drivers are not in people’s minds, they are in people’s hearts. As we used to say in P&G Beauty Care: “we don’t want to be in the business of I NEED, we want to be in the business of I WANT”.

Melinda Gates finished her inspiring presentation by sharing her vision of happiness, she said: “My vision of happiness is a mother holding a healthy baby in her arms”. My vision of happiness is to live in a world where every person feels they have a contribution to make and goes for it. My vision of happiness is that we all feel responsible for building a world where opportunities are equal for everyone, where your destiny is not determined by the place you are born.

Toni Del Rio

TEDxChange recorded webcast: