Comcast will provide a free streaming box to its subscribers only on the Internet, helping it control its TV experience without even making them pay for cable. The streaming stream, called Xfinity Flex, was introduced in March and initially cost $ 5 a month, which is a ridiculous price when you consider that you can get Roku for $ 30.
Now Comcast is getting more aggressive, and that's right, as competition for streaming video is heating up. Having Flex in home-only subscribers allows Comcast to reduce some of those subscriptions if it can manage sign-up. Customers can also buy and rent TV shows and movies directly through Comcast using the box.
The box also gives Comcast control over what customers don't see. As my colleague Chris Welch pointed out earlier, Flex does not include alternatives to cable packages such as PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, so the box can also help people get back to Comcast's own cable service if they fall ill with limited offers. There are also no major streaming options from competitors like Apple TV Plus and Disney +. (None of these will be available until November, but no support is mentioned.)
Comcast plans to launch its own streaming service next year, which also seems to tie into all that. NBC's streaming service, now called Peacock, is set to launch next April with a huge catalog and a number of new series, including the reboot of Battlestar Galactica . CNBC previously reported that Comcast hopes to charge cable cutters for about $ 1
Even with this message, Comcast's strategy around the Flex box is still pretty weird, it will still cost $ 5 a month for an extra Flex box and will only be limited to two of these paid units, which may not be big enough house with many TVs. Rents remain a strategy entirely designed to leverage clients, hoping that they will not realize that there is a better way to get a streaming device. To be clear: no one should rent a streaming field. There are far cheaper options that will quickly save you money over the cost of the Comcast option.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, the parent company of Verge .