Comcast realizes millennials don’t want cable, releases Xfinity Flex streaming box
Weird flex, but ok.
Comcast has finally relented, joining the ranks of Roku, Amazon, and others by releasing its own 4K-enabled streaming box. I presume that they got fed up of trying to upsell cable packages to the growing number of subscribers that only want Xfinity internet service, so now they’re adding Xfinity Flex, a wireless streaming set-top box that will add $5 per month to your Comcast bill.
Side note: why do we still call them “set-top boxes” when we all have flat-screen TVs nowadays? Shouldn’t they be “hide-in-your-entertainment-center boxes”?
That box seems on-par with offerings from the competition, coming 4K-ready, with HDR, and also with deep voice control integration, so you can just say what you want, without having to flick through apps. For example, just saying “Watch Game of Thrones,” will start Game of Thrones on the HBO app (assuming you have an HBO subscription).
Similar to how Roku has its dashboard, the Xfinity Flex box will put paid subscription services such as Netflix, HBO, Prime Video and EPIX alongside free offerings like iHeartRadio, YouTube and ESPN3, and Comcast’s own storefront for buying and renting content. With a recent CNBC study showing that nearly 60-percent of Americans subscribe to at least one streaming service, with 51-percent paying for Netflix, this is a smart move for Comcast to keep cord-cutters happy while still keeping them on its network.
The interface for the Xfinity Flex looks very similar to the X1 set-top box that comes with Comcast’s cable TV packages, minus the TV sections. That’s a good thing, the X1 is pretty usable with an uncluttered dashboard.
The only thing I have a question mark over is why would someone pay $60 a year to rent a streaming box that they won’t own, when the cheapest 4K, HDR-capable Roku is $40 to own? Maybe Comcast is banking on the fact that cord cutters tend to load up on other subscriptions once they drop cable, so they won’t notice an extra $5 per month on their bill.
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