Television is still a relatively new medium in the grand scheme of things, but in the past few years TV as we know it has undergone several radical shifts. The rise of services like Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue show the change is very much ongoing, and other companies don’t want to be left behind.
To this end, Comcast has announced a new streaming Internet TV service it simply calls Stream (why didn’t any of the others think of that?). A full list of the channels planned for the service isn’t available yet, but the press release announcing Stream mentions that it will include “all the major broadcast nets and HBO.”
Comcast will begin rolling Stream out at the end of this summer in Boston, to be followed by Chicago and Seattle. The company plans to make Stream available everywhere within its “footprint” by early 2016.
Stream will cost $15 per month, but don’t go canceling your Sling TV subscription just yet — this service is only available to Comcast Xfinity customers. If you use another ISP, you’re going to have to go with another streaming option.
You also might want to think twice about making Stream your go-to streaming service if you spend a lot of time on the road. While Sling TV works anywhere, Stream is more limited in that it will only work while you’re at home. Whether this is a permanent restriction or will be lifted once the service is out of beta isn’t currently clear, but since Comcast clarified to Engadget that the service uses an “IP-based managed network,” it looks like this could be permanent.
Comcast has been looking to get into Internet TV for some time now, but last year it looked like the company would be doing so as part of a partnership with Apple. Plans for the partnership were scrapped, though Apple still reportedly has its own service in the works, which was a no-show at this year’s WWDC.
It seems that Comcast may be aiming this at the more traditional cable TV customer, as the press release announcing Stream stresses that no additional equipment or installation appointment is necessary.