Good news and, uh, less good news.
First, the good: In what appears to be an attempt to push back against competitors like SlingTV, Comcast is preparing to roll out a new service called Stream that will offer a limited cable package — including HBO — to broadband internet users for $15 per month. From a blog post on Comcast’s website:
With Stream, Xfinity internet customers can watch live TV from about a dozen networks — including all the major broadcast nets and HBO — on laptops, tablets and phones in their home. It includes thousands of on-demand movies and shows to watch from home or away and even comes with access to TV Everywhere and a cloud DVR so you can record all your favorites and watch them later.
Stream will be available to our Xfinity internet customers for only $15 per month and will first launch in Boston at the end of the summer. We’ll take it to Chicago and Seattle next, with plans to make it available everywhere in our footprint by early 2016.
Now, the less good: It’s not exactly clear if this is more of a cable replacement or a cable supplement for families with screen-addicted #teenz. I suppose that depends more on the networks in the package, which were not revealed in the announcement. I’m not a mathematician, but “about a dozen networks” minus HBO and at least the four major broadcast networks leave us with somewhere in the neighborhood of seven. That is… [slides beans around on abacus]… not very many networks. And if ESPN isn’t one of the seven, it doesn’t solve many viewers’ live sports problem. But for $15 per month, you probably don’t get to expect the world, you know?