Comcast has joined the parade of OTT video providers with Monday's unveiling of its Stream service, which allows Comcast Infinity customers to watch live TV from the major broadcast networks and HBO -- about a dozen networks in total -- on any device within the home.
The move is just the latest by the cable giant to try to address specific video market segments and the latest from a major industry player to use over-the-top video delivery which offers live TV over a broadband Internet connection.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) customers will pay $15 extra for the service and can access it by downloading the Xfinity TV app. Stream comes with access to TV Everywhere and Comcast's cloud DVR service, so customers can use the service to record and watch shows later. What Stream doesn't require is a TV set.
Update to clarify: According to Comcast, this service doesn't require a set-top box, just the in-home gateway, and is delivered via a managed IP service, not the public Internet. Comcast thinks that makes this different from other OTT offerings. Outside the home, the video is delivered via TVE, and does use the public Internet.
Stream becomes the latest in OTT offerings from content owners including Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) , Comcast's own NBC network, CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), Showtime Networks Inc. , Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and many more. And it's clearly aimed at adding revenue, not just capitalizing on a viewing trend. (See OTT & the Net New Effect.)
When it's available -- in Boston later this summer then Chicago and Seattle later this year before reaching all of Comcast's footprint in 2016 -- the service appears to target bargain cable users willing to pay a little extra for the OTT service on multiple devices in the home. Comcast targeted the budget set with its Internet Plus service, offering basic channels and HBO in a cheaper package. (See Comcast Set to Bundle Broadband & HBO.)
Xfinity already enables its subscribers to access content via its web interface outside the home.
Other pay-TV providers, such as Verizon, have launched OTT services. The latter's strategy delivers content package specifically aimed at younger viewers, and has tailored its content to do that. (See Verizon, Sony Primp for OTT Debuts and Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals.)
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading