Comcast recently launched a new streaming service called Stream. The beta launch happened in the Boston area, and the company is expected to soon roll out the service in Chicago and Seattle. It is expected that the service will be available across the country by early 2016. Comcast says that the service will be a great pleasure to use. Well, we know how good their services are. Comcast’s services are so great that people routinely get nightmares of having to deal with their customer care. However, what is attracting people’s attention is the $15 per month bill for the service, which will include HBO. This does sound like a good bargain, but is it? Let’s see.
The Truth Behind $15 Bill
Comcast is all bells and whistles about the fact that its new streaming service needs no additional equipment, or device. While that is certainly true, but what Comcast conveniently does not mention in its announcements, is that you need Comcast’s very own internet connection to make use of the service. That’s right, now you have to get a Comcast internet service, for which you will have to cough up another $50 or more. Additionally, you will need a modem too, which will cost you roughly a one-time $50, or a monthly rent of $10. Do you see how that initial $15 per month bill has now snowballed into $75-$85 a month!
Live TV Streaming Limited to Home
The reason why people love Netflix, Sling TV, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and so on, is that customers can watch their favorite shows and movies on these services anytime and anywhere they want. The only criterion is that they need an internet connection for that. This is not so with Comcast Stream. While you can download and watch on-demand shows and movies from any location (for an extra fee of course), this is not possible with live TV. If you wish to access live TV on Stream, then you should be connected to the home router only. Frankly, this does not make any sense. Why would you watch live shows on Stream, when you can get free broadcasting on your antenna?
Most of the Stream Content is Free on Regular TV
Apart from HBO, the rest of the broadcast networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and others are all anyway available for free on high-definition antennas that cost a one-time investment of $25. In the light of this, Stream would be useful to users only when they are away from their TV, and cannot access it. But, as we discussed previously, this is not a possibility either, since Stream forces us to use home network only. So, there is no additional value in terms of content either.
Absence of Pay TV Channels, Except HBO
Stream service includes only one pay TV channel – HBO. On the other hand, its competitors have numerous cable channels like ESPN, TNT, AMC, and so on. So, to give you an idea of how silly this is, HBO Now, the streaming service from HBO, has the same subscription charge as Stream. Let us remind you
that HBO Now can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, from any internet connection, unlike Stream. In other words, we are not saying that Comcast is charging $15 for providing restricted access to an already great streaming service. Instead, we are saying that Comcast is charging in excess of $75 for providing restricted access to an already great streaming service. Surely, you can find way better services than Stream, as explained in the next point.
Better Options Available in the Market
Considering the fact that Stream costs about $80 a month with its unavoidable Comcast internet service, if you are looking only for some basic channels and HBO, then there are many other less expensive options in the market. Interestingly, even Comcast has services that will provide all these channels at a more affordable price. Its own basic TV channels, broadband package that includes HBO costs only about $45 a month.
Stream is superior to no other streaming service in the market. It is an overpriced offering that Comcast is shoving down its customers’ throats. Comcast also continues in its tradition of pathetic customer service. What is ironic is that because of its restriction on using its internet connection, the service will not be available in the western parts of the country, barring a few major cities. None of this makes any sense, even from a purely business perspective.