Comcast, the cable behemoth is offering a new streaming package aimed at customers without cable TV. The service which is distinctly similar to Aereo will be available in Boston by the “end of the summer” and trickle to other cities including Chicago and Seattle later.
What is the new service?
The new service is available to Xfinity Internet customersusers and costs $15.00 and is called Stream. It includes local broadcast stations and HBO, which is helpful except that it only works within the range of the system at home along on demand viewing of numerous TV shows and movies on the go. It also features a cloud DVR. Cloud DVR is an often requested service because it provides more space for users to store programming.
Why so few cities?
If this pattern seems familiar it is because it is the same model that Sony is employing with Vue. In order to stream local stations live new contracts must be negotiated between the cable company and the station. Comcast may be promising to roll out the service to its entire footprint in 2016 but it should come as no surprise if this does not in fact happen due to complications with the individual channel owners.
Will it work on set-top boxes?
There is not a set-top box app for the service. It is available on phones, laptops and tablets. Not offering a set-top box option to those who do not have a regular TV service is either an intentional slap in the face to encourage people to pay up so that they can watch TV shows on a TV, or it is a lack understanding their audience. Cord cutters and cord nevers still use TV sets via Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Android set-top boxes and more.