Comcast is looking to break into the Internet-based live TV streaming market with a service of its own.
Xfinity Instant TV will attempt to appeal to the growing cord-cutting audience, individuals who have forsaken their cable boxes (and the pricey contracts that go with them) in favor of flexible streaming television packages.
Comcast's new offering is functionally similar to services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue in that subscribers will be able to choose from tiered programming packages.
Despite their similarities, Comcast isn't looking to compete directly with these other services -- at least not right now. That's because Instant TV is only available to existing Xfinity Internet customers in certain markets (see the official FAQ for more details on eligibility) whereas Sling TV and PS Vue are available to anyone, regardless of service provider affiliation.
As is the case with traditional cable, Xfinity Instant TV customers will mostly be watching live content as it airs meaning they'll still be subject to commercials. There is an on-demand library but it's limited in comparison to Netflix or Hulu.
The service will also include cloud DVR functionality, allowing subscribers to record up to 20 hours of HD programming.
Xfinity Instant TV's cheapest package -- "Limited Basic" -- will run you about $18 per month. True to its name, the package's channel line-up consists of about a dozen channels including ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS and other popular broadband channels.
If broadband channels aren't to your liking, Xfinity Instant TV also has a few add-on packages to choose from:
- Kids and Family ($10 per month) - Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, MTV, National Geographic Channel, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, NickToons, Universal Kids, TeenNick and TLC.
- Entertainment ($15 per month) - A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BET, Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, E!, Food Network, FX, FXX, Hallmark Channel, HISTORY, HGTV, Lifetime, OWN, Syfy, TBS, TNT, TV One, USA and VH1.
- Sports and News ($30 per month) - CNBC, CNN, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPNU, Fox Business, Fox News, Fox Sports 1, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports, NFL Network and Regional Sports Networks based on markets.
Comcast is offering a free 30-day trial for those interested in sampling the service.