This week Comcast finally announced it will start selling its Xumo Stream Box. This box is similar to a Roku or a Fire TV and streams most streaming services. But get ready for a very cable TV–like experience.
This streaming player is a joint effort with Charter’s Spectrum. Comcast says this streaming player has over 250 apps and comes with 300+ free live TV channels.
The problem comes with the built-in monthly fees.
These boxes will cost $5 a month with an additional one-time $15 activation fee. Customers are also limited to three devices per account. So, if you own more than three TVs, you will need to purchase a different streaming player for the other TVs. Unlike with Spectrum, there doesn’t seem to be an option to buy the box and not pay the monthly fee. Comcast says if you stop paying for these boxes you must return them to Comcast.
Comcast has confirmed that internet customers can get one free Xumo Stream Box, and the company will waive the activation fee. Each additional box has a monthly fee and a one-time activation fee.
Comcast is not offering these boxes to its TV customers. If you also pay for TV, you cannot get these Xumo Stream Boxes. Instead, you must continue to use the X1 boxes that Comcast has been using for some time.
For Comcast, these new boxes offer the promise of a massive revenue stream. Cord cutters may want to think about getting a Roku, Fire TV, Google TV, or one of the many other streaming devices available. Many streaming players are now a one-time purchase starting under $30. Unlike Comcast’s Xumo Stream Box, which will cost $60 a year for each additional box on top of the $15 activation fee.
For years cable TV companies made millions of dollars on device rentals by renting the same box year after year—long after the cost of the box was recovered. Now, they are hoping to do the same with cord cutters.