Television is a competitive business, and more and more companies are getting into the streaming game to give consumers new and even more convenient way to watch TV. We have standalone streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, network streaming services like CBS All Access, premium cable streaming services like HBO Now, and multi-channel services like Sling TV. Now, Comcast is starting a streaming service of its own. Assuming the streaming service goes about as well as everything else Comcast does, it may not fly with customers.
The Comcast streaming service has been called XFinity Instant TV and is currently estimated to cost between $15 per month to $40 per month. Reuters reports that the option will be available to broadband subscribers who want access to a variety of TV stations but do not want to pay for a traditional cable package. XFinity Instant TV is slated to include sports channels, Spanish language channels, and major broadcast networks.
Comcast will roll out Xfinity Instant TV in the third quarter of the year to more than 50 million households. Cities included in that 50 million include the large markets of Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago. The new service will be the second launched by Comcast, the first being a service called Stream that has been available in Boston and Chicago to Comcast subscribers for an extra $15 per month. Xfinity Instant TV will be a more advanced version of Stream when it becomes available later this year.
Now, objectively speaking, Comcast's Xfinity Instant TV doesn't sound like too bad a deal. A lot would obviously depend on the details that will presumably be released as the launch date draws closer, but it sounds like it could be pretty good... if it was coming from pretty much any company other than Comcast.
If Comcast is known for anything nowadays, it's not for TV packages, Internet bundles, or new services. The company has been voted Worst Company In America by Consumerist on two separate occasions, and came in either second or third on four different occasions. Customer service is so inadequate than some users are actually suing. It set an Internet data cap that could prevent consumers from enjoying Netflix to their hearts' delight.
Then, there are the stories from individual consumers that are pretty appalling. One family was repeatedly charged for porn flicks that they didn't order. One man claims his complaints to Comcast resulted in Comcast calling his employer and getting him fired. A woman's credit was ruined. The supply of Comcast horror stories seems to be endless, and each tale comes across as more depressing than the last. Call me a pessimist, but I don't foresee a great deal of success from Comcast's new streaming service. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what happens next.
Check out our midseason TV premiere guide and our summer TV premiere schedule to discover all of your viewing options now and in the coming weeks, and be sure to take a gander at our rundown of all the TV cancellations and renewals so far. If you're in the mood for some streaming, take a look at our 2017 Netflix premiere schedule for a list of what's available when.