What They’re Saying About Comcast Stream (Hint, It’s Not Good)

Tech and consumer sites aren't pleased with the new offering.

Soon after Comcast announced it’s new streaming television service, the negative reviews started piling up. With headlines like “Comcast’s Streaming Service Sounds as Bad as You’d Expect” and “Comcast Sells Its Own Cord-Cutting Service — Which Requires Comcast’s Cord,” tech and consumer publications don’t seem very pleased with the cable giant’s latest offering.

First, a recap. Comcast Stream is a $15-per-month service featuring live TV from approximately a dozen channels including all the major broadcast networks and HBO. Yes, it’s a cheap way to get programming (especially HBO Now which costs $15 on its own) but not very convenient because the live TV portion only works with a Comcast broadband connection. Even though the devices are portable, you can only watch at home. (It also features a cloud DVR so you can record shows to watch later.)

Wired really doesn’t like Comcast’s plan — or what they see as lack of a plan. “It’s difficult to fathom who exactly would want a service like this,” the magazine wrote. Wired seemed miffed that the cable giant announced the streaming service without really telling us what it’ll be like when it actually gets released in 2016. “Right now, Comcast doesn’t have a streaming service any more than an acorn has limbs and leaves.”

Meanwhile, Recode thinks Comcast is “really trying to make old-fashioned TV more attractive to cord-cutters.” To attempt proving that point, it offered this example:

“Comcast sells basic broadband-only subscription in its home market of Philadelphia is $67 a month. Add in the cost of Stream and you’re up to $82 a month. But Comcast sells a basic TV + Broadband package, including HBO, for $45 a month,” it said. Recode concludes that “Comcast would still rather sell you cable TV than Web TV.”

BGR calls Stream “nearly pointless” arguing that “cord cutters” are more likely to watch big TV networks like NBC and ABC in HD for free on their TVs using an antenna — then pay $15 per month for HBO Now, so they can watch from anywhere.

Consumer Reports thinks it’s Comcast’s play for a younger audience. “It appears to be designed primarily for a younger generation of users who prefer to watch programs on their laptops, tablets, and smart phones,” it wrote.