Comcast Launches Its Competitor to Netflix Instant Streaming

COMMENTARY | Despite some bizarre decisions last year (remember Quikster?) and falling subscription numbers, Netflix is still doing pretty well for itself. In particular, its streaming service is continuing to grow. It seems that Comcast is jealous, because today the cable company announced their answer to Instant Streaming.

Xfinity Streampix is Comcast’s newly announced answer to Instant Streaming, offering a catalog of older TV and movies to current Comcast subscribers. That’s right, the horribly named service is only available to current Comcast users, limiting its user base right out of the gate. Oh, and it’s not an additional feature to your Comcast service. Unless you subscribe to Comcast Xfinity Triple Play, you’ll have to pay an extra $4.99 a month for the service. That is admittedly less expensive than Netflix’s streaming service, $4.99 a month compared to $7.99 a month, but it still seems odd that Comcast is making consumers pay extra for their new service.

The content available for the new service seems solid, at least. Launch partners include Disney-ABC, NBC, Sony Pictures, and Warner Brothers. This means full runs of shows like “30 Rock,” “Heroes” and “Grey’s Anatomy” will be available for the service, along with movies like “Brokeback Mountain” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” The usual array of Disney Channel shows are available as well, if you have any need to watch five seasons of “The Suite Life Of Zach And Cody.” For now, it doesn’t seem like Streampix (I hate that name so much) has the range of content that Netflix has, but Comcast promises that it’ll grow with time.

Currently, it seems hard to recommend Comcast’s new service over Netflix. The partners are there, but there doesn’t seem to be as much content than Netflix. There wasn’t much talk of smartphone or streaming box apps either, which is something Netflix has. However, if you are a Comcast subscriber, this is cheaper than Netflix is, so it’s worth considering.

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