Love streaming apps but don’t love cable? Your friendly (ahem) neighborhood Comcast cable franchise would like to rent you a streaming set-top for $5/month. Of course, most cord cutters aren’t exactly interested in the ongoing fees and platform limitations associated with hardware rentals. Hence, the meteoric rise of Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku. Yet, here we are:
Xfinity Flex comes with more than 10,000 free online movies and TV shows—including live streaming TV—from ESPN3, Xumo, Pluto, Tubi TV, Cheddar, YouTube, and more. The Xfinity Flex box features an integrated guide and voice control, enabling customers to easily browse and access programming across apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and Showtime, rent and purchase movies and shows from the digital store, access their digital lockers across platforms by pairing their account with Movies Anywhere, or listen to music from Pandora, iHeartRadio, and XITE.
Beyond access to a number of streaming apps, presumably dwarfed by the other platforms, Comcast lock-in provides them an upsell avenue. “Hey, these Internet streaming apps are so great maybe I should get cable too!” What?
Xfinity Flex customers will be able to easily upgrade to the full Xfinity X1 cable service right from the guide, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR.
Anyhow, in Comcast’s defense, the pricing isn’t entirely outrageous, the 4K hardware looks decent, and the Xfinity voice remote has been very good (at my mom’s place). Plus that service fee gets you ongoing tech support. But I’m having mom stick with her Roku TVs for streaming, thank you very much.