With streaming services like Netflix taking business from Cable TV companies, several providers have been stepping up with their own streaming services in order to keep their customers. Xfinity Streampix is an add-on to the Comcast Cable TV service, created to complement the Xfinity TV, Mobile, and AnyPlay features. Let’s explore the service to see if paying the extra $5 a month is worth it.
Xfinity Streampix: Customer Convenience
One of the main advantages to Xfinity Streampix is the convenience of the service. Compared to Netflix, Streampix is simply easier and faster to access from your existing television/cable setup.
With a Netflix account, you need a set-top box to view it, whether it’s a video game console, a Roku box, or a laptop. However, Streampix helps consolidate your movie and television viewing by acting as the single destination for entertainment on your set, available from the Xfinity On Demand menu. Besides your television set, you can also play Streampix on your laptop and mobile devices, making it compelling for those who want to watch premium content on the go.
Another benefit of Streampix is that it is charged to the same bill as your TV and broadband (if you are a Comcast customer), making it easier to keep track of spending and eliminating the need to pay yet another monthly bill. Overall, with regard to convenience, it is hard to beat Streampix, as an app on your Cable TV box, with no need for any other hardware.
Xfinity Streampix Content
Streampix carries a large selection of films, and compared to Netflix Instant, offers better-known (albeit older) movies, such as “Scarface,” “Dumb and Dumber,” “Along Came Polly,” and more.
Similar to Hulu, it also makes full seasons of many popular television shows available, such as “Parks and Recreation,” “The Office,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “30 Rock.” You can filter the content by video quality and release date, as well as browse through pre-made collections, like “Oscar Winners”, “Cult Classics”, and “Date Night.” Streampix also has an extensive selection of children and family programming, with popular Disney shows like “Shake it Up!,” “A.N.T. Farm,” and “Phineas and Ferb” available for streaming on demand.
Netflix may not have as many well-known films in their library, but they do have a substantially larger collection than Streampix, with about 60,000 ad-free TV episodes and movies. Netflix’s recommendation system is widely recognized as a great tool for finding new films and television shows, which you might not have considered watching, or even knew existed. It provides users with movie suggestions based on their previous viewings. Unfortunately, there is no similar function available in Streampix.
The main concern for many people considering Xfinity Streampix is that it is unavailable to everyone. This service is substantially different from Netflix and Hulu Plus in the sense that it is only available as an add-on to Xfinity TV, costing subscribers $5 a month on top of their cable bill to get access to the Streampix library. For people who are not current Comcast subscribers, this service alone might not be worth switching Cable TV providers for. Also, Comcast is not available in all areas, further limiting the subscriber base.
A New Era in Entertainment
Regardless of its limitations, Comcast’s Xfinity Streampix is terrific news for consumers because it means that cable companies recognize the market is changing, and it encourages more competition between TV providers, resulting in better, more cost-effective products with larger content libraries. It’s only a matter of time before Verizon and other competitors release their own streaming services, with larger libraries at even cheaper rates. In fact, it seems likely that a killer app like Spotify, which has transformed the way people consume music, will be developed for television shows and movies eventually.
Video streaming services, both free options such as YouTube and Vimeo, as well as paid models such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, are hooking more and more consumers into online media. Among the cost-conscious and younger crowds, they have even replaced traditional Cable TV subscriptions. With online streaming becoming a more formidable threat to both traditional broadcast TV and cable as time goes by, cable providers will have to step up their game in order to compete for customer attention.
To sum up, Comcast’s entry to online streaming might be convenient for current customers of the cable giant, but it simply isn’t practical or cost-effective for anyone else. For them, subscribing to Netflix and/or Hulu Plus will remain the viable choices in paid streaming services.