Comcast launches Web video-on-demand to battle Netflix

Comcast already wants to provide you with cable TV, phone, movie and Internet services, and now it wants to add video-on-demand via the Web, the company announced Tuesday.

According to Variety, Comcast’s Xfinity Streampix will compete  against Netflix, which is the No. 1 online video rental service. The new service will also go head to head with the HBO Go online rental service.

Streampix will allow you to access both movies and TV shows online, such as “30 Rock,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ocean’s Eleven” and is banking on the ability to keep the offerings fresh.

CNET, however, says there are some drawbacks to the new Comcast service, mainly, you have to already be a subscriber to one of Comcast’s other services:

A Comcast subscriber must either be a member of one of the company’s triple-play packages (high-speed Web, video, phone, etc.), or pay an additional $5 a month for Streampix.

CNET also notes that Netflix’s streaming service is far less expensive than its rivals.

36 comments Add your comment

count_schemula

February 21st, 2012
6:14 pm

Hate me some Comcast.

James

February 21st, 2012
6:38 pm

second that.

iago's yoda

February 21st, 2012
6:39 pm

Thirded. DIAF, comcast.

James

February 21st, 2012
6:40 pm

As bad as Netflix is, I can’t imagine Comcast could do any better.

Dan

February 21st, 2012
6:43 pm

Comcast can bend over and take the high hard one. Netflix has them beat on all fronts. Yeah their PR sucks and they dont know how to gracefully announce a price hike, but their content and service is still outstanding. Between myself, the nagging wife, and the kids, it probably provides a solid 25 hours a week of entertainment. Thats a hundy hours a month. For less than 10 bucks. I would pay 5 times that without blinking and still consider it a bargain.

Meanwhile, I pay comcast nearly 200 bucks for cable and internet and they still lack HD channels and On Demand never works.

You suck, Comcast.

Never! Never! Never!

February 21st, 2012
6:46 pm

I’ll stick with Netflix.

trois3

February 21st, 2012
7:10 pm

Who’s going to sign up for Comcast streaming when they limit you to 250 GB/month?

Deep South

February 21st, 2012
7:15 pm

I’m with Trois on this. Why would I want to use up my 250gb (which is too small) allocation on movies?

CharlieATL

February 21st, 2012
7:17 pm

As usual, Comcast doesn’t get it. They are trying, like the ‘phone companies’ did an era ago, to maintain their monopoly grip on subscribers. (Most of us call them ‘customers’, not ’subscribers’, but that’s another topic.) Adding another bunch of content, free or not, but only available to Triple Loser subscribers will not serve Comcast’s stockholders well. What Comcast is failing to address is the desperate desire of their ’subscribers’ to get out from under very high rates and get the content of their choice. Comcast blames ESPN and other content providers for having to charge what they do, but the company does not offer a choice of opting out of ESPN in their packages.
And trois3 nailed it…

Jj

February 21st, 2012
7:33 pm

Comcast is the worst cable provider ever. No customer service. Will never do business with them again.

Chris

February 21st, 2012
7:40 pm

Guess I’ll be the Lone Ranger here and raise my hand as a satisfied Comcast subscriber. The internet is FAST (take that, Windstream!) the HD quality is excellent, and I love the “On Demand” feature, which always works for me. Customer service? It’s been great for me.

GT Alum

February 21st, 2012
7:55 pm

Chris, I’ll join you in that category. Yes, the bill is more than I’d like, but what isn’t? The techs are incompetent, but I’ve had Comcast for more than 10 years, and, once the service is set up, it’s worked with very few issues. All in all, I’ve been satisfied with their service.

Jim

February 21st, 2012
8:05 pm

Just switched from Comcrap to UVerse, cheaper, better picture, and great customer service, versus no customer service..bye bye Comcrap…..

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Hugh Jass

February 21st, 2012
8:35 pm

I have had the other companies and HATE them with a passion. I love Comcast in comparison. I do not see how people are complaining about them.

The Truth

February 21st, 2012
8:43 pm

Staight up, I had DirectTV for 6 years and hated it…..I have Comcast and love it. I use to work for this company in Atlanta and the people that complane either dont keep their accounts current i.e….paying the bill before the 100th payment arrangement or people that refuse to get their own home wiring replaced. I do both with 6 HD boxes, smoking fast internet and crystal clear phone calls. If you hate it I’m willing to bet 1) Your account is jacked because you dont pay on time 2) Your home needs rewiring 3) You are too cheap to pay for what your really want i.e…..paying for 12meg service but wanting 50 meg speeds or 4) You know everthing and won’t let cable people do what cable people do………………The Truth

TBrewer

February 21st, 2012
9:05 pm

Comcast just doesn’t get it…. Netflix has beat them. Why pay for Comcast TV the have to pay additional fees to watch “StreamFlix”? I have Comcast Internet and I love it. I stream 80% of my shows over their . The rest of my shows I get over my Hd Antenna… Pay TV is slowly dieing…

CharlieATL

February 21st, 2012
9:09 pm

I’m going to agree with “The Truth” and others who have posted here sharing their satisfaction with Comcast’s service generally. However, I stand by my comments above, at 7:17PM, that Comcast’s marketing endeavors are obsolete. They could own their space if they were to adopt a fixed price for service, and then an a la carte price for channels. Something like $25 to subscribe and $1 per channel for basic, $2 per channel for general content, and $X per channel for “premium” content like ESPN, ESPN 2, etc. Set the pricing so that the basic subscription price covers fixed costs, and the other prices generate an acceptable level of return on Comcast’s content costs.

count_schemula

February 21st, 2012
9:21 pm

If that is Truth, I’ll stick with lies thank you very much. Gotta love someone who prances around calling everyone else a know it all, and backs it up with such a solid dose of wrong headed arrogance. Takes a special person to think like that, and I have to use special because in these PC times, I can’t call him a retard without everyone freaking out.

Vote for Pedro

February 21st, 2012
9:23 pm

My free HD over the air makes my Comcast HD look like 1940s black & white

greg

February 21st, 2012
9:29 pm

Comcast is like the walk of shame.. screws you then walks off

gordon24

February 21st, 2012
9:41 pm

i think all of them are a ripoff, i have had directv for 10 years, its Ok

cp

February 21st, 2012
9:44 pm

Comcast offers a service called Digital Economy, which has all the local network channels and a handful of the expanded basic channels for those who wish to avoid the high cost of sports programming.

Jo Bling

February 21st, 2012
9:57 pm

I will also step in and defend Comcast, to a point. Here’s the way I see it:

Pros:
- Customer service is not bad. Those who complain about Comcast customer service are talking about a few years ago. Yes, it was horrible then, but after a whole lot of bad press and declining subscriber base they finally got the message. Call 404-COMCAST now and after going through (too many) menus, you will eventually end up talking to a real person. Mostly you will get a lot of sympathy and not any advice that actually fixes the problem, but I’m not sure I really expect someone to fix a technical problem over the phone. What you get instead is an appointment for a technician to visit your house and fix the problem, usually within a day or two.
- They have the best HD picture, hands down. For the poster above who claims UVerse has a better picture, I’m happy that you are happy but I have to wonder what you are smoking. UVerse just can’t carry the bandwidth over a phone line, which is what they are sending into your house. Their picture is flat and dull, and filled with artifacts. My next door neighbor has UVerse and he watched the Super Bowl at my house because my picture is that much better. Dish and Direct TV are OK, but completely unreliable. I used to have Dish and was pretty happy with it except the signal would always drop out at the worst times. I can’t remember the last time I lost my Comcast TV signal.
- They have the best DVRs with the biggest and fastest hard drives.
- Internet is fast.

Cons
- Customer service still isn’t perfect. Too many menus on the phone, and the technicians are hit-and-miss.
- The Internet hasn’t been reliable for me. The only reason I’ve had to use the customer service is because of the Internet service. I’ve had some issues with losing the signal at my house and the only way to restore it is to reset the modem. I’ve had three different technicians come out to the house and they haven’t been able to fix it. That’s not bad customer service. They are really just stumped on what’s causing the problem. The problem is worse in the summer when it’s hot outside. I think it’s a problem with the line that runs along the back of my house underground to the basement, where my modem is. Haven’t had any problems this winter, but if it starts happening again when the weather warms up, I’m going to have them replace that cable. It still beats AT&T DSL, which basically was just horrible in every way imaginable.
- It’s expensive. But, hey, I’ll pay it for the HD quality alone.

I would definitely prefer a system where the customer could choose to pay for only the channels he or she wants. But I also understand that that kind of system isn’t going to support Comcast’s infrastructure and will result in a reduction in quality across the board. Netflix is fine if all you do is watch movies and TV shows. But for those of us who love sports and for whom sports programming makes up by far the bulk of the content we watch, Netflix plus over-the-air HD just isn’t an option. I wouldn’t last very long without ESPN. I have to say I’m pretty satisfied with my Comcast experience so far.

gfrost

February 21st, 2012
10:01 pm

The people who are complaining the most about Comcast are the ones that don’t pay their bills. Those who love Comcast are the ones who get the best service simply because they pay for what they are getting.
Pay your bill on time.

Comspastic

February 21st, 2012
10:15 pm

I could never pass up an opportunity to say a bad word about Comast. Several years ago they were pretty good. Then they forced us to pay extra and rent boxes from them with primitive remote controls. I can’t even block out all the junk channels and am forced to use two remote controls — the one from Comcast and the one from the set manufacturer — to use the features on my TV. Comcast forfeited their one advantage over satellite TV when they forced us to use their crummy boxes. And they raise their prices every year. It’s long past time to cut the cord to Comspastic.

KB

February 21st, 2012
10:15 pm

grost – hate to mess up your world view but I paid ALL of my comcast bills on time (thank you very much) and still hated the service. Customer service was ruefully inadequate and the service was overpriced for what was actually delivered: too many dropped frames and unreliable on-demand service. Really? Only 24-hours to watch something you paid $3.99 to watch? Give me a break.

If a customer is unhappy with your service because of technology shortcoming you need to incentive them stay BEFORE they call to cancel. After that, it’s the point of no return.

I was happy to ditch Comcast and go to a free OTA antenna with netflix. Picture quality is MUCH better even during inclimate weather.

willie

February 21st, 2012
10:25 pm

I have had great experiences with Comcast. I think they offer a great product and they cut my bill down significantly when I told them I wanted a better rate. What more can you ask?

Jo Bling

February 21st, 2012
10:34 pm

Hey KB, good luck watching ESPN, NFL Channel, MLB Channel, Golf Channel, IFC, or Palladia, over the air . . .

PositiveCynic

February 21st, 2012
10:58 pm

I have had comcast, mediacom, and now AT&T U-verse.

Mediacom best free On-Demand, okay customer service, internet no cap or throttling, cable problems with them trying to keep people from getting illegal cable (i.e. they would send out signals that would mess up boxes of legal subscribers which resulted in many calls to customer service). Throttled internet, but set extremely high.I only noticed it because I would have extremely peaks in download speeds every so often. Overall for cable/internet grade of B+

Comcast best On-Demand. If I missed DVRing a show, I could probably see it On-Demand. Internet throttling and cap. Bad customer service. A solid C overall.

AT&T U-verse worse On-Demand with terrible selection and few new or current shows. I just missed recording the first 10 minutes of NCIS: LA because of a recording conflict (I started recording the new show Doomsday Preppers). No luck with new CBS shows on At&T U-verse. I can record something like 5 shows at the same time which is more than Comcast or Mediacom. Internet no cap and I think I might have been throttled a few times, but my throttled AT&T universe is as fast downloads as my best Comcast download speeds.

I wish AT&T U-verse would expand coverage even more in metro Atlanta and really do some work at better organizing their On-Demand to include their free stuff. If AT&T U-verse were to offer a netflix type option, other company’s would find it difficult to compete. Offering something like $1 movies like we used to see dollar movie theaters for people could actually result in huge profits for a company even in this economy.

Nick

February 21st, 2012
11:15 pm

Ben

February 21st, 2012
11:34 pm

Too late Comcast; you’ve been nickel and diming everyone that they won’t touch your service with a barge pole. The only thing that I miss with Netflix is the news but I don’t have to pay for the cons and scams of Comcast anymore. So good riddance!!

DLink

February 22nd, 2012
3:54 am

Old apartment dweller here. I have had little to do with Comcast other than that apartment. It took 6 Months of internal bickering to close that account after I left that apartment across about 5 internal divisions within their company. That was quite some time ago and I should think they’ve improved since then. Never had a real problem with the service when I did have them, other than halting the service when I left. Netflix and Hulu work quite well for me now.

Maybe I wish I could afford Comcast again, perhaps not. Price-wise, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Good service when I had it, horrendous withdrawal when I tried to leave them behind. 6 months of bills after I moved out, seriously, did you think I’d forget that? I’m not a very forgiving person. I’m sure the company has gotten their act together since then, surely. But, you can’t change history without lots and lots of money. That was like 10 years ago.

NO, I haven’t forgotten. Once upon a time, Comcast threatened my credit record, my bank, myself. I’ve since found better friends. That’s probably all changed, new owners etc. Again, not a forgiving person here. Buy the brand, accept the baggage.

Hopefully, it’s a whole new company by now. I never forget, but I do forgive. I just haven’t forgiven Comcast yet. I really do hold a grudge, come to think of it.

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Sid

February 22nd, 2012
9:25 am

The only complaint I have about Comcast is the PRICE….I have internet and CATV service….Totally satisfied with the products and service….Won’t be signing up for this new thing, though….My CATV and Roku box give me enough already.

kingram

February 23rd, 2012
5:11 pm

I don’t have a problem with Comcast. I have it for High Speed Internet at work and it’s terrific. I also have it for my home phone, Internet, and Cable. I rarely have problems. When I thought the price was higher than I could pay, I called them and they lowered it by $20/mo. I’d rather have them than AT&T Uverse. I had AT&T for my phone and Internet for years and my bill was always wrong.