Comcast Introduces $20-a-Month Now TV For Its Broadband-Only Customers, Delivering Peacock, Live Pay TV Channels and FASTs

Comcast Now TV
Comcast Now TV (Image credit: Comcast)

Comcast continues to iterate its post-linear video strategy, introducing on Tuesday a new $20-a-month streaming service for its broadband-only customers called Now TV that will deliver Peacock Premium, more than 40 live pay TV channels from A&E, AMC, Hallmark and Warner Bros. Discovery, and over 20 FAST channels from NBC, Sky and Xumo Play.

The new offering will exist within the Xfinity Stream app, which not only runs on the Xfinity Flex connected TV device Comcast hands out for free to its broadband-only customers, but also on Amazon Fire TV, iOS- and Android-powered devices, and via casting through Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast. 

Notably, Comcast didn’t mention compatibility with the Xumo Stream box, connected TV hardware that is part of its Xumo JV with Charter Communications. Comcast said it said it would start handing out these devices, which are the next-generation iteration of Flex, to its broadband customers later this year.

Comcast already uses the “Now TV” brand for a streaming service available in Europe on its Sky pay TV service, and the platform uses the cable giant's common global technology backbone. 

The introduction of the U.S. service comes as Comcast prepares to stop offering its $4.99 Peacock Premium SVOD (the one partially supported by commercials) free to its Xfinity Internet customers. That will happen on June 26. 

In addition to the baseline Peacock service, Now TV will deliver more than 40 popular entertainment-themed channels, including A&E, Afro, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, BBC News, Comedy.TV, Cooking, Crime + Investigation, Discovery, Discovery Life, Food Network, FYI, Great American Family, Great American Living, Get TV, Game Show Network, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Drama, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, The History Channel, Investigation Discovery, IFC, Justice Central, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, Magnolia Network, Military History, MotorTrend Network, OWN, Pursuit, Recipe.TV, Science Channel, Sony Movies, Sundance TV, TLC, Travel Channel, Vice, WE tv and The Weather Channel. 

Free ad-supported streaming channels integrated into the Now TV app include NBC News Now, Sky News and a bunch of genre-based channels from Xumo Play.

To be clear, beyond the $5 a month it costs for Peacock Premium, users are primarily paying around $15 a month for a virtual MVPD with 40 plus cable channels. Compare the aforementioned channels list to the $25-a-month Philo and its 70 plus entertainment channels. 

Now TV customers can use three concurrent streams per household and have access to a cloud DVR with 20 hours of HD storage. 

“With content and connectivity at the core of our company, we are uniquely positioned to build and deliver streaming entertainment offerings unlike anything else out there today,” Dave Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “Now TV is a great example of how our company brings together its collective video experiences, innovative technology, and superior broadband service to deliver some of the best entertainment into one affordable streaming bundle.”

Comcast lost a record 614,000 linear cable TV customers in the first quarter and only has a little over 15.5 million remaining linear video subscribers. 

Meanwhile, the cable operator is trying to rekindle growth for what is now its core business, residential high-speed internet. Many of the telecos Comcast competes with for wireline broadband customers offer discounted access to third-party vMVPDs, including Philo and YouTube TV. Comcast just has the wherewithal to build its own service. 

In addition to its broadband strategies, Comcast also has ambitions to become a player on the global OS stage via the Xumo joint venture with Charter. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!