Taking aim at millennials and other consumer groups that aren’t gravitating to traditional pay TV services, Comcast is preparing to launch “Stream“, a $15 per month no-contract video service that will feature major broadcast networks and HBO, and be bundled with the MSO’s high-speed Internet service.
The service lets subscribers watch shows from HBO, Fox, NBC, and other networks on laptops, tablets, and phones, but it appears that subscribers will only be able to stream inside their home. It will offer access to a library containing on-demand films and shows, and supports TV everywhere and a cloud DVR. The roll out of the service will also be limited, with the first Stream service coming to Boston at the end of this summer and then to Chicago and Seattle.
But where Stream ostensibly similar to over-the-top services such as Sling, but there are fundamental differences between the two. “It’s an exciting time to be a TV fan – there is more quality content than ever and seemingly limitless ways to keep up with all the shows and movies people are talking about”, said Comcast executive vice president and general manager video services Matt Strauss.
In his blog post, Strauss credited Comcast’s OTT service targeted to select college campuses-Xfinity on Campus-as being crucial to the development of Stream.
The hotspots are available for Comcast Xfinity customers only, but non-subscribers can access them twice a month for one hour, free of charge. “Not everybody is going to want a full pay-TV bundle”. The New York Times reported that the service will not be directly available on TVs. Stream differs from Sling in that the latter includes access to not only HBO, but also major cable networks including ESPN, TNT, TBS, AMC, History Channel and A&E.
Comcast lost about 8,000 video subs in the first quarter of 2015, ending the period with 22.37 million. (Both Showtime and HBO offer premium channel options that don’t require a cable TV subscription.).
Strauss told the paper that Comcast could eventually add optional kids, sports, lifestyle and movie packages to the service for an additional $5 to $10 per month.