Comcast gives subscribers one more reason to quit Netflix

comcast streampix

Updated. Comcast is rolling out a new streaming on-demand offering called Xfinity Streampix, which will bring more library content to subscribers that pay for its high-end double- and triple-play packages. For those who subscribe to more basic packages, the streaming service will be priced at $4.99 above their current rate.

Importantly, Comcast has no plans to make Streampix available as a standalone service: To get it, you must subscribe to both Comcast’s TV and broadband video services. That means so-called cord-cutters, or Internet-only subscribers, need not apply. But the Xfinity Streampix offering can be seen as a direct shot at streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus.

Over the past few years, there’s been some debate about whether those services could be cable killers, but lately it’s been mostly accepted that they serve more as a complement to user’s existing pay TV services. Now, Comcast is making a good amount of similar content available through its own service, at a price that’s lower than the $7.99 those streaming services charge, and even giving it away to its highest-paying subscribers. That means Comcast subscribers could have less reason to pay for an additional streaming service.

Comcast will be launching the service later this week, adding thousands of movies and TV episodes to its already expansive library of streaming content available through and on its XfinityTV iPad app. To launch the service, Comcast has done deals with Disney, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Cookie Jar (which does kids programming like Inspector Gadget and Paddington Bear).

While Comcast’s XfinityTV offering has always had recent episodes of broadcast TV shows through a distribution deal with Hulu and CBS, the new service will expand its library by making available older, back-catalog content. At launch, StreamPix content will include previous seasons of TV shows like 30 Rock, The Office, Grey’s Anatomy and Lost, as well as movies such as Brokeback Mountain, Ocean’s Eleven and The Big Lebowski. A Comcast spokesperson told me that the company plans to add more titles as time goes on.

Comcast will also be making the service available on multiple screens: In addition to putting Streampix on the web and on its Xfinity iPad app, the titles will be on Comcast’s cable VOD platform. It’s also planning to expand availability to “additional screens and devices” as time goes on, which will include Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Android devices.

Update: An earlier version of the story said that subscribers needed both broadband and TV services, but they need only pay for TV.

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