Comcast to expand streaming service amid cord-cutting trend

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Comcast Corp. (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is preparing to rebrand and develop a streaming video option for broadband subscribers who do not want to pay for a conventional cable package, sources told Reuters on Monday. Xfinity Instant TV is a refurbished version of that offering and will be launched nationwide in Comcast's territories. The service will offer a "skinny" channel line-up, with pricing starting at $15/month, according to the Reuters report. But Comcast execs have repeatedly said they have no plans to launch an over-the-top video service outside its current service areas. But the reality is that the service works similarly to streaming TV services by passing through a broadband modem, requiring a mandatory internet subscription, etc. It will include major broadcast networks as well as sports channels like ESPN and Spanish language channels such as Telemundo and Univision. It would be available to Comcast's high-speed internet subscribers - more than 50 million homes. Xfinity Instant TV could also potentially replace Stream TV, a "skinny-bundle IPTV package" that is now being tested in Boston and Chicago. There are not too many details about the packages yet, however, the service is expected to be a no-contract offering without "truck rolls" (equipment for a service delivered by a network operator). Unlike Dish's Sling TV or AT&T's DirecTV Now, Xfinity Instant TV will be for Comcast's Internet customers only, according to Reuters. A source said the rebranded, commercial Xfinity Instant TV service will also support mobile apps as well as certain TV-connected devices.

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Comcast Violating Net Neutrality Rules? But once it acquires national rights, it will be able to make its service available in NY and Los Angeles as well, notes The Street. Rather, Xfinity Instant TV will be available only to Comcast's broadband subscribers in metro areas including Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Seattle and the San Francisco Bay Area.

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