Is Comcast’s New Streaming Service Too Good to Be True?

Although a $15 per month streaming service that includes HBO sounds enticing, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

At first glance, Comcast’s new cable streaming service, which is slated to launch in Boston late this summer, sounds like a great deal. But you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.

Unfortunately, that appears to be the case with the cable giant’s new streaming service.

Dubbed “Stream,” Comcast advertises its video streaming service at a mere $15 per month. It includes access to all major broadcast networks, as well as HBO, and thousands of on-demand movies and television shows. Stream allows viewers to access the shows on computers or other mobile devices.

“We want to make ordering Stream as easy as buying a song online. And make tuning in to a show as simple as opening an email,” a Comcast press release said.

Sure, that sounds good, but once you really take a look at Stream, your opinion may change.

Here are a few reasons you may want to skip Stream:

  • It’s expensive. Although the advertised $15 per month is cheap, especially when you consider HBO Now costs $15 per month, in reality, your monthly Comcast bill will be much more, according to Money. While you need a broadband Internet connection to stream any video, Comcast’s Stream service requires that you have a connection provided by them, which could run anywhere from $50 to $60 per month, Money explained. You’ll also need a modem. Unless you have your own, and most people don’t, you’ll need to pay Comcast another $10 per month for a modem. “Very quickly, you’ll see how that $15 monthly bill turns into $75 or $85, before local and national taxes and fees are added in,” Money said.
  • Much of Stream’s content is already free. Comcast Stream includes the standard broadcast networks, like ABC, CBS and NBC, that you can probably already access for free with a high-definition antenna, which costs about $25, according to The New York Times. But Stream does allow you to watch the networks on a mobile device.
  • You have to be at home to stream live TV. Unlike many other streaming services, Comcast Stream requires that you be connected to your home Internet to stream live TV. Brad Reed wrote on BGR.com: “Why would you want to live stream network TV in your home? If you’re in your house and you want to watch a network TV program live, you can get it by flipping on your TV and having your antenna deliver the signal … for free.”
  • Comcast actually offers cheaper options than Stream. In some parts of the country, Comcast already offers a basic TV package, which includes HBO and Internet, for $45, Re/code explains. That’s a lot cheaper than the $70 or more Stream will cost you per month.

Stream will be launched in beta in Boston later this summer before it’s rolled out in the fall in Chicago and Seattle. The service is expected to be available nationwide in 2016.

Comcast Stream unfortunately seems to miss the mark when it comes to giving consumers a reason to cut the cable cord.

What do you think of Comcast’s new streaming service? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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