Comcast Offers Streaming TV for $15

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In a move that is a surrender to current media consumption trends, Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has begun to offer streaming TV for $15. The cable company must know the new service will bite into its old ones, particularly cable TV.

According to a Comcast blog post by Matt Strauss, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Video Services for Comcast Cable in TV:

[W]e’re announcing a beta test of a new streaming cable service that furthers our goal to provide TV choices for everyone. It’s unlike anything we’ve ever offered: no extra device or additional equipment required … or even a TV. And it’s called Stream.

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With Stream, Xfinity Internet customers can watch live TV from about a dozen networks — including all the major broadcast nets and HBO — on laptops, tablets and phones in their home. It includes thousands of on demand movies and shows to watch home or away and even comes with access to TV Everywhere and a cloud DVR so you can record all your favorites and watch them later.

Stream will be available to our Xfinity Internet customers for only $15 per month and will first launch in Boston at the end of the summer. We’ll take it to Chicago and Seattle next, with plans to make it available everywhere in our footprint by early 2016.

Comcast’s Internet service to the home has been undermined by the universal presence of 4G broadband on smartphones and tablets. These devices are already used for streaming video services, led by Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX). And smartphone companies, particularly Apple Inc. (NASDAQ AAPL), have made certain that these devices have processors and screens that will support high-quality video.

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Comcast began to spread its bet on the future of video when it bought NBC Universal and entered the studio and television business. Those newer businesses need to be a large support pillar to the company’s revenue, because its own streaming product has begun to take much of its traditional markets away.