Those of you who have been paying attention to the television content space will remember a Comcast service called Stream that launched in select cities in 2015. Apparently, the city tests have gone well because Comcast plans to relaunch the streaming service, under a new name, and make it available anywhere that Comcast is available across the United States.
The new service will reportedly be called Xfinity Instant TV, an IPTV service that will feature a variety of different channel packages. The service will specifically target broadband subscribers who don’t have a pay-TV package from Comcast. Xfinity Instant TV is slated to launch sometime during Q3 of 2017.
While official numbers have not been provided it’s rumored that the cost will start around $15 a month for primary channels like ABC, NBC and ESPN. The monthly cost could go up to as much as $40 depending on what channel packages you select. It is also rumored that Xfinity Instant TV customers will have access to Comcast’s cloud DVR service, no matter what channel package they select.
Xfinity Instant TV has been developed to serve as a competitor for similar services like Playstation Vue, DISH Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now. However, the services are not identical. Aside from channel package differences, Xfinity Instant TV will require its customers to already be paying for Comcast’s internet services.
The final big question surrounding Xfinity Instant TV revolves around the issue of data caps and the FCC. If Xfinity Instant TV follows closely in the footsteps of Stream, which it seems like it will, the data used will likely not count towards a user’s monthly data cap. This would obviously be a huge boon for Comcast, as its competitors data does count towards data caps. However, this gets tricky when the FCC gets involved. Does this violate net neutrality laws? Comcast will say no, but all the matters is what the FCC says.
Xfinity Instant TV looks to be a promising service, in an oversaturated market. Its success will depend heavily on how the FCC reacts—time will tell. If the FCC does allow Xfinity Instant TV to move forward without data caps it will change the entire broadcasting space. What will a world without net neutrality look like? I don’t know, but I do know that Comcast wants to find out.