According to a new report from CNBC, Comcast is planning its own hardware streaming TV box for broadband-only customers. The box is said to integrate apps and services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube, and feature a voice-activated remote.
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The report explains that while Comcast’s product will first be a set-top box itself, it’s possible it could “morph into an app” as well. Currently, Comcast offers customers its X1 platform, which includes access to streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. X1, however, also integrates cable TV content.
The new Comcast streaming TV box, which is said launch sometime next year, won’t integrate cable TV and is instead targeted towards Comcast’s broadband-only customers. The product will, however, give customers the ability to rent TV shows and movies from Comcast, and upgrade to a Comcast video package.
Ultimately, Comcast is planning to market its box as a “hub to the connected home,” as it will also include smart home features and allow users to control their connected devices.
On the surface, the Comcast streaming TV box sounds a lot like the Apple TV, but CNBC notes that it’s not necessarily a direct competitor. The difference is that the Apple TV offers access to apps via the tvOS App Store, whereas the Comcast box is expected to stick to basic apps and integration with its own video service.
The product isn’t quite a direct competitor to Roku or Apple TV because it won’t allow customers access to hundreds of apps, including streaming TV bundles like AT&T’s DirecTV Now or Dish’s Sling. Those services are direct competitors to Comcast’s video bundle, and Comcast wouldn’t be able to push its own video service to its broadband-only customers if it allowed them access to those bundled OTT services.
The Comcast streaming TV box will be a monthly add-on for subscribers, but it’s unclear how much the company will charge. In its current form, the box sounds like a hard sell to those already invested in other streaming boxes like Apple TV and Roku, but perhaps the integration with Comcast’s streaming technology will be enough to give it a leg-up. What do you think? Let us know down in the comments.