Comcast launches 20 'FAST' channels on X1Comcast launches 20 'FAST' channels on X1
Following a similar launch on Comcast's Xfinity Stream app and new Now TV service, the operator has integrated 20 free, ad-supported TV (FAST) channels with its flagship X1 pay-TV platform.
July 17, 2023
Comcast has pushed ahead with a plan to stitch nearly two dozen free, ad-supported TV (FAST) channels into the on-screen guide of X1, the operator's flagship pay-TV platform.
Today's launch on X1 follows the addition of FAST channels to Comcast's Xfinity Stream app in April. Those FAST channels are also tied into Now TV, a recently launched no-contract, $20 per month streaming service for Comcast broadband subscribers that features more than 60 channels and the ad-supported Peacock Premium tier.
Back to the X1 launch, Comcast initially has added 20 Internet-delivered FAST channels to X1 for no extra cost. They include NBC News Now and 19 Xumo-branded channels, including those focused on genres such as movies, comedy, documentaries, travel and reality TV. Xumo is the Comcast-Charter national streaming joint venture that, in addition to managing FAST channels, also runs a software platform for streaming media players and a growing family of connected TVs.
Comcast has integrated the new FAST lineup with its voice remote and the "Best of Live" and "On Now" elements of the X1 guide.
By running the new wave of FAST channels on X1's native player for set-tops, viewers will be able to flip to them like traditional channels without having to open up a separate app.
"We wanted to make it [FAST channels] look like any other channel," Vito Forlenza, VP, entertainment apps, at Comcast, explained in a recent interview.
X1 customers will initially be able to pause a FAST channel stream, but not fast-forward, rewind or record the content. Comcast expects to add fast-forward and rewind functionalities to FAST channels featured in the X1 guide at a later time.
Comcast expects to add the Sky News FAST channel, along with others, at a later date as well. Comcast hasn't identified them, but individual apps from several FAST streaming services, such as Fox-owned Tubi, Paramount Global's Pluto TV and Amazon's Freevee, have been integrated with the X1 platform.
"Our strategy is centered around value not tonnage, and we are focused on bringing FAST channels into the experience that are additive to the majority of our customers' lineups," Forlenza explained in this blog post.
That strategy is also coming together as pay-TV providers, many of which are losing subscribers, are turning to FAST channels to expand and enhance the content and value they are providing.
And that idea isn't limited to traditional pay-TV providers such as Comcast. Sling TV, the Dish Network-owned streaming service, also has beefed up its lineup with FAST channels.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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