Comcast is adding a new $5 a month streaming video service.
But Xfinity Flex, which is yet another variation on cable TV without the cable, is limited to the company’s Xfinity Internet subscribers who reside within Comcast’s coverage footprint.
Flex launches March 26, and in functionality resembles a Roku.
As of January, Comcast had about 25 million Internet subscribers who would be able to take advantage of the new Flex offering.
Those who shell out the five bucks monthly, will receive a leased Internet-connected, 4K HDR-ready box and voice-activated remote control, to access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO and Showtime, along with more than 10,000 free online movies and ad-supported TV shows.
There will be some live streaming too, from the likes of ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto, Tubi TV, Cheddar, and YouTube. You’ll also be able to rent and purchase movies and TV shows, listen to music through the likes of Pandora, iHeartRadio, and XITE, and manage security cameras and other smart home devices via the TV.
An integrated personalized program guide promises to help you find stuff to listen to or watch.
If all this sounds similar to what you may already be getting from, say, your Roku, Fire TV or Apple TV box, you wouldn’t be wrong. And the question becomes do you shell out the money upfront to buy such a rival box (and in some cases get it more cheaply) or pay the $5 monthly for Flex instead?
Cord cutters will be intently watching what kind of streaming announcements Apple makes next week during a press event at its California headquarters. It is not entirely clear just how, or even if, what Comcast has come up with here will directly compete against Apple’s the new entertainment service Apple is expected to launch.
What you pay for Flex comes on top of the $50 to $130 a month you currently surrender each month for Xfinity Internet.
Since Flex service is modeled after Comcast’s Xfinity X1 cable service but doesn’t include all the live or other video content you might watch there or elsewhere—YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV, DirecTV Now, are among the missing–you might consider the upgrade path.
Comcast says that pivoting from Flex to X1 is simple from the Flex box, and for sure the company would be all too thrilled to take the extra money so you do just that.
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