With HBO Now, Showtime, and other cord-cutter streaming service popping up left and right overseas, it was only a matter of time before Comcast - one of the worst-ranked companies in the US - decided to introduce its own alternative.
Called Stream, the new service is designed to pipe live TV from about a dozen networks to your laptop, tablet, or phone. It also includes "thousands of on demand movies and shows" as well as cloud-based DVR, so you can record stuff and watch it later. This will cost $15 a month and doesn't require cable.
It sounds like a great deal at first blush, but let's go over some of the fine print...
Does Stream require a cable subscription?
No, but it does require a subsciption to one of Comcast's Xfinity internet packages, which start at $29.99 a month (see the full list of packages here). And it'll cost you an additional $15 just to subscribe to and use Stream itself.
Can you access Stream while on the go?
Um, no. Comcast has confirmed that Stream is "IP-managed". In other words: you can only access Stream in your own home. What's more - simultaneous streams are limited to two devices. Comcast isn't even offering the service on set-top boxes, such as Roku or Apple TV, so the restrictions are aplenty.
Which broadcast networks are offered?
With Stream, you'll be able to watch live TV from "all the major" broadcast networks and HBO, according to Comcast, which includes ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS, etc. It does not include cable networks like ESPN or AMC.
What else can you watch?
Beyond some live cable TV, you will have access to on-demand programming on computers and mobile devices, along with cloud DVR storage and Streampix (Comcast’s movie offering).
When will Stream be available?
Stream will be available to Xfinity internet customers in Boston by the end of the summer. It'll then expand to Chicago and Seattle, with plans to reach everywhere in Comcast's footprint by early 2016.
Is Stream worth it?
That's hard to say - as the service has only debuted in beta and isn't fully available anywhere yet, but we think it's pretty meh at the moment.