US cable television provider Comcast has revealed plans to offer a standalone streaming service, which could allow some customers to end their reliance on its traditional broadcast TV packages.
The $15-a-month (about £9.68) Comcast Stream service will begin a limited rollout to the communications giant’s broadband customers in Boston this summer, before launching in Chicago and Seattle and then nationwide in 2016.
Those who already subscribe to an Xfinity home broadband package will be able to access live feeds of local broadcast TV stations, as well as HBO on their laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Comcast Stream subscriptions will also offer access to thousands of on-demand movies and TV shows, while offering a cloud DVR service to allow subscribers to record 20 hours of live television, which they can then access outside of the home.
Unfortunately, those signing up for the experimental service won’t be able to access the content beyond their home connection unless it's saved to the cloud DVR. Non-Xfinity subscribers will be prohibited from signing up.
The proposition doesn’t sound as attractive as other options form the likes of Dish Network’s Sling TV and the Sony PlayStation Vue offering.
Although they're more expensive, those solutions bring a wider selection of premium cable content from the likes of ESPN, Comedy Central, AMC in some cases.
How popular Comcast's offering will be remains to be seen, but a major cable provider jumping on board with a movement designed to challenge the status quo they helped to establish is certainly noteworthy.
Elsewhere, Comcast also announced a rival to the Google Fiber gigabit internet offering. Comcast’s 2Gbps will reportedly cost a staggering $299 a month (about £193), according to an ArsTechnica report, and as much as $1,000 to set up and activate.