With the announcement of Stream, the Internet provider catapults itself into dense competition among the streaming video space.
Initially access to the service will be limited, as it is only available to customers in the Boston area, with Chicago and Seattle following quickly after. The service will be available to the entire comcast service area in early 2016, but those not buying their internet packages from Comcast will not be able to subscribe to the service. This means the $15 service will operate like an addon to existing customer's Internet plan. For $5 more a month, their main competitor Sling TV has more channels and less restrictions than Comcast's Stream, and is available to everyone in the country.
Comcast is betting that this new plan will be attractive to its younger customers.
"I like to watch live on the big screen in my living room," Matt Strauss, executive vice president of video services, said in the release. "My kids, on the other hand, prefer to catch up with their favorite shows on their laptops, on demand."
Strauss said the service is for those who "spend most of [their] time with the screen in [their] lap as opposed to the one on the wall."
The service is not as inclusive as its traditional cable offerings. HBO (TWX) will be included in the package, but cable networks like Disney's (DIS - Get Report) ESPN and AMC (AMCX) will not be included according to the New York Times. The service is also restricted to your home network, meaning subscribers won't be able to watch live TV on-the-go through the service.
Some features of the service include 20 hours of cloud based DVR storage to record and playback live television, and TV Everywhere, which gives them access to television-network apps and websites which require a cable service login, and Streampix, the company's movie streaming service.
Xfinity On Campus is a similar service that Comcast offers to universities which allows students access to 80 cable channels, including AMC and ESPN. Stream may be a first step for the company into a more broad streaming video service, but it may stumble before getting out of the gates because of its comparative limitations.
The announcement comes as the television industry is seeing people cut cords and move to the internet for the reality shows and sitcoms. Pay television subscriptions are in a "nosedive' according to MoffettNathanson, the research firm.
"We estimate that they Pay TV sector shed 321,000 subscribers in the second quarter of last year. This year, we expect the numbers to be markedly worse," Craig Moffett, senior research analyst said in a report. ""The second quarter earnings season will be put up or shut up time for the cord-cutting thesis."
With the FCC tightening regulations on how broadband internet is priced, cord cutting may be a tougher market to penetrate. MoffettNathanson suggests that by placing an emphasis on cord-cutting plans and over-the-top video subscription services, broadband providers like Comcast may be entering a market with limited freedoms.