Comcast just announced a $5-a-month streaming service called ‘Flex’

Ruben Fields
March 24, 2019

Music services like Pandora, iHearRadio, and XITE will be there for those with a need for tunes. Comcast Cable is one of the United States' largest video, high-speed internet, and phone providers to residential customers under the Xfinity brand, and also provides these services to businesses. There's no download-whatever-you-want app store on this thing.

Its a way Comcast, the biggest cable provider in the USA, can push customers to "start thinking of the television as a digital display", Matt Strauss, the head of the company's Xfinity Services line of business, said on a conference call announcing the product.

The Flex hardware box is 4K and HDR-compatible. The service promises to provide customers with an easy way to use their TV and voice control to manage all their connected devices in their home. In the near future, people will also be able to upgrade to the full Xfinity X1 cable service from the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.

In addition to the streaming stuff, Xfinity Flex lets you see which devices are connected to your network, set parental controls, pause WiFi access, and access camera feeds, sort of like you can do with devices that run Android TV. They can opt for either one or two Flex boxes.

Comcast added a net 351,000 internet customers during the fourth quarter, helping the segment grow revenue by 10 percent, it reported in January.

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But while that is that, something unwarranted has popped up and we are not sure how we feel about it. "But he could have called us", he said.

Strauss said Comcast's research showed that an nearly equal segment of consumers were open to leasing a device versus buying one outright.

And since this integrated guide (with universal voice search) is basically just borrowed from the X1 platform, Flex isn't really much extra work for Comcast. As is, this strikes me as a hard sell at $60 / year when a Roku will cost you less money and isn't a recurring rental.

Comcast's move comes ahead of Apple's March 25th event, where it's expected the company will kick off a bigger push into bundling video subscriptions and showcase some of its original programming.

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company with three primary businesses: Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal, and Sky.

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