Yesterday, Comcast announced a new $5 a month streaming service. This new service will aggregate both paid and free streaming apps into a single place called Xfinity Flex. This new service includes 10,000 free online movies and TV shows—including live streaming TV—from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. If you want access to live TV channels like ESPN you will need to subscribe to Xfinity TV as Flex does not have any US-based live TV streaming services like YouTube TV or PlayStation Vue.
What may be a better way to describe this new service is a new streaming player that costs $5 a month. A streaming player that would cost $60 a year for what is in short nothing more than a Roku with a monthly subscription.
This new Xfinity Flex is nothing more than an Xfinity X1 set-top box without the cable TV subscription. (You will be able to subscribe to Xfinity TV through the new Flex box.) All the free content that Xfinity Flex will offer comes from free services like Xumo, Pluto TV, Tubi, and more that are already available for free on streaming players already in the market like the Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV.
Not only do they want cord cutters to rent this streaming player from them, but it will only work if you connect it to a Comcast Internet service. That means unlike your Roku, Apple TV, or Fire TV you won’t be able to take it with you when you travel.
Now add in the fact that Comcast’s new $5 a month streaming player has only a fraction of the apps that a $30 Roku has and you have to ask why anyone would buy this device.
This move by Comcast looks like an attempt to push a cable TV model of device rentals on cord cutters. The problem is streaming players offer all the content the Xfinity Flex player does and more without a monthly fee.
Comcast’s one hope is that people would be so in love with their Xfinity X1 user interface that they will pay to keep it after they cut the cord or that people won’t do their research and will just pay the $5 a month fee because they don’t know of all their options.
It will be very interesting to see if Comcast reports the number of Xfinity Flex subscribers in a year.
Do you plan to get Xfinity Flex? Leave us a comment and let us know why.
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