Barely beating its self-imposed year-end deadline, Comcast is introducing a 4K video streaming service for TV viewers, starting with select NBC and USA Network shows.

Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

December 18, 2014

2 Min Read
Comcast Launches 4K Streaming Service

Following closely in DirecTV's footsteps, Comcast has become the second major US pay-TV provider to start offering Ultra HD (UHD) programming to its subscribers.

Comcast, the biggest pay-TV operator in the US with nearly 22.4 million video customers, has launched a 4K streaming app that will enable subscribers to watch select TV shows in the UHD format on an on-demand basis via the Internet. The MSO's Xfinity TV subscribers can download the new 4K app, known as Xfinity in UHD, for free using their standard authentication credentials.

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), which set a year-end deadline for launching the streaming service when it announced its 4K plans at CES last January, is initially making the new Xfinity app available to customers with 2014 Ultra HD sets from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) under a deal it struck earlier with the leading consumer electronics manufacturer. But the MSO will undoubtedly broaden its reach to other CE makers over time. (See Gentlemen, Start Your 4K Engines.)

Right off the bat, Comcast is offering full seasons from select TV shows from its NBCUNiversal unit's NBC and USA networks. Specifically, it's debuting with episodes from NBC's Chicago Fire and USA's Covert Affairs, with NBC's Parks and Recreation series slated to follow in February. Plans call for adding other shows and networks over time as Comcast builds up its UHD programming library.

Get the latest updates on new video services and technologies by visiting Light Reading's video services content channel.

By offering the 4K streaming service for no extra charge to its customers, Comcast is taking a different tack than DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), its huge satellite TV rival. DirecTV, which ranks second only to Comcast in its video sub count, introduced its 4K streaming service last month by offering about 30 movie titles on a pay-per-view basis. Customers must pay up to $10 a title to watch the movies on-demand.

Besides delivering Xfinity in UHD to Sansung TV viewers, Comcast said it will offer the 4K streaming service to portable devices through its Xfinity TV Go app sometime next year. The MSO also intends to introduce an advanced new X1 set-top box that supports 4K video in 2015.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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