Comcast Rolls Out ‘Xfinity Instant TV’ Beta

Following lengthy trials in markets like Chicago and Boston, Comcast is now moving ahead with the beta launch of Xfinity Instant TV, an IP-delivered skinny video package targeted initially to broadband customers that starts at $18 for a lineup of local broadcast networks, a VOD library and a cloud DVR with 20 hours of storage.

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In addition to a batch of major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC, PBS, Telemundo, Unimas, Univision), the core offering of the service also includes access to all public, education, and governmental (PEG) channels.

Xfinity Instant TV, a service initially created for Comcast customers who also get high-speed Internet service from the company, doesn’t include national cable networks like ESPN, AMC, A&E and Disney Channel in the core package, but subscribers can get them by selecting and buying from a mix of add-on packages that span genres such as Entertainment and Sports and News. Subs can also buy premium networks such as HBO and Starz.

Comcast said a beta version of Xfinity Instant TV will be rolling out across the MSO’s footprint over the next two weeks, and has set up a web site for sign-ups. To help prime the pump, Comcast is offering a 30-day free trial for Xfinity Instant TV.

The new offering will help Comcast reach a subsection of broadband customers using a skinny package model that relies on a cloud-powered architecture that is already being used to power its flagship pay TV product, X1.

Xfinity Instant TV will also complement Internet Plus, a different slimmed-down, lower priced double-play (video and broadband) service that Comcast has been using as a customer upgrade path, in some cases, to X1. Comcast believes that Instant TV could provide a similar upgrade path to X1, the flagship video service that supports the MSO's mobile streaming app and a range of the MSO’s own set-tops, such as the new Xi5, a wireless box that supports High Dynamic Range.