Comcast Introduces $15-Month Streaming TV Service
After years of battling against online TV, Comcast is now diving head-first into streaming television. The cable giant has just introduced a $15-per-month streaming TV service featuring live TV from approximately a dozen channels including all the major broadcast networks and HBO.
Called Stream, the service appears to be Comcast’s attempt to attract younger, price-conscious consumers who have “cut the cord” and watch programming on their laptops or via streaming services like Apple TV, Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire. To use Stream, you must be a Comcast Internet customer, and the live TV portion only works at home.
The service launches in Boston at the end of the summer, then rolls out to Chicago and Seattle. (Just like the company’s 2 Gigabit Internet service, Philly was not picked as an early market.) It will roll out countrywide in early 2016.
The service has a few limitations. It excludes all major cable networks aside from HBO. That means no ESPN. No AMC. No Comedy Central. Most of the networks featured on Stream can be seen in HD cheaply using a high-definition antenna or by using existing streaming services like Hulu.
It does, however, include thousands of on demand movies and shows that can be watched at home or on-the-go. Stream also comes with access to TV Everywhere and a cloud DVR so you can record shows to watch later. Plus, dad can watch the game on the big TV while his daughter can watch SpongeBob on an iPad.
“We want to make ordering Stream as easy as buying a song online,” said Matt Strauss, executive vice president and general manager of video services for Comcast Cable. “And make tuning in to a show as simple as opening an email.”
It’s clear that Comcast executives realize that streaming TV online is an important piece of the entertainment puzzle. In fact, it lost 8,000 cable subscribers in the first quarter of 2015 alone as more people watch shows on different devices.
“Clearly, there are changes that are happening in the market,” Strauss told the New York Times. “Not everybody is going to want a full pay-TV bundle.”