Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Xumo app is now Xumo Play, and I don't like it

Xumo is the new name of the joint venture between Comcast (Xfinity) and Charter (Spectrum), with a little Walmart thrown in. And prior to this week, it was the name of the free ad-supported television (FAST) service that Comcast owned.

With the Xumo name now applying to the project, OS, and devices, the streaming service has been rebranded as Xumo Play.

There are not a lot of changes to the app and service, apart from the new name and modified logo. There is one recent change that I really don't like, though. And I really don't like it.

When you launch the Xumo Play app, your live stream starts playing. And there is no option to stop that.

Let me first explain that Xumo Play, like the Xumo app before it, is similar to Pluto TV. The main difference in what the two apps/services do is mostly cosmetic and who owns them. Pluto TV is owned by Paramount. Xumo Play is (and has been) owned by NBCUniversal.

Previously, the Xumo app didn't autoplay. Now it does. And there is no setting to stop that.

Let me be clear that I absolutely hate autoplay and never use it. I hate it in every form it appears. I don't like content playing before I press Play. If I don't press Play, I don't want things to play.

I suppose it's there way of being helpful. It's not helpful. It's simply them forcing the playing of content on the customer so they can pad their playback stats. And those playback stats are used to justify their advertising fees.

I have no problem with autoplay being the default action of any app/service. Well, I do, but I can deal with it, as long as there is a way for me to turn it off. I prefer to play content when I want it to play, not when they decide. It's arrogant for them to decide that when I want the content to play, rude for them to not allow me to stop it, and deceitful for them to pad the playback stats in order to charge advertisers more.

The content of Xumo Play is great. The app itself is one that I will not use. I used to recommend Xumo Play as a great service, when it was simply Xumo. The rebranded service is one I'll not use until they either turn off autoplay or allow me that ability. Until they do, it's no longer a part of my Streaming Life.

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