September 27th 2017
By Mike Flaminio
Comcast announced a new video streaming service called Xfinity Instant TV. The service is geared to compete against other similar services and lure cord cutters back into its billing cycles. The service offers local broadcast channels for $18 per month and then various bundles of channels.
The $18 core package may appeal to the cost-conscious -- but it's limited to broadcast channels like ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox, NBC and PBS as well as public, educational and government channels, and just a few cable channels like C-SPAN, QVC and HSN. Also, Univision and Telemundo are included in most markets.
To get ESPN, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC or CNBC, you'll have to pay an additional $30 per month for the "sports and news" add-on pack. The $15 monthly "entertainment" pack includes A&E, AMC, Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, TBS, TNT and USA, while the $10 "kids and family" option includes Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, MTV, Nickelodeon and TLC.
The service requires Comcast broadband, which has always been the company's leverage. In most markets, Comcast's closest competitors only offer much slower DSL services. I guess the good news is there are more options. The bundles though seem expensive and intended to still drive people to standard cable. Likely, you'll still find a better value with conventional cable after adding up the required core package, broadband, and one optional add-on.
Xfinity Instant TV reportedly will allow subscribers will be able to access on-demand streaming of shows and movies from their TV package. Comcast said they are rolling out the service to customers and no other availability is known.