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Bundled Cable Deathwatch: Comcast Blinks, Launches Streaming Service

Comcast,  the biggest cable television and Internet provider in the country, has seen the writing on the wall and announced a new $15 streaming television service available to its internet customers. The roll-out begins in Boston this month. By 2016, the multinational hopes to go nationwide.

One major drawback in this service is that you cannot stream to your television set — only to portable devices. Basically, Comcast is hoping that its streaming service will be an add-on to their already over-priced cable and Internet packages. Few will be convinced to cancel their cable service in exchange for a service only available on portable devices.

If things were to actually work out that way, that would be quite the hat trick.

Nevertheless, plenty of young people are already used to watching television on portable devices, and with new access to some broadcast networks (and the sports that come with them), this new service might make it less likely they ever bother to purchase a cable package.

According to Comcast, what will make its streaming service different from the like of Netflix and Amazon Prime is that

Xfinity Internet customers can watch live TV from about a dozen networks – including all the major broadcast nets and HBO – on laptops, tablets and phones in their home.

The service is called Stream, and is what is also known as a “skinny bundle,” or a smaller and more affordable package of networks that are currently available through regular cable and satellite television.

As of now, NBC and the FOX network are included in the bundle. As is a Cloud DVR.

One more important point: The streaming “skinny bundle” is the camel-nose in the tent, or at least that is what it is intended to be. Nothing would make the left-wing world of entertainment and news media happier than to transfer the idea of the cable bundle online to the streaming world.

These companies make billions and billions of dollars forcing people to purchase dozens of channels they never watch. It is a business model many networks can’t afford to lose. In the case of MSNBC, CNN, and MTV, bundled cable is what keeps these low-rated losers on the air. Dozens of other channels are in the same predicament.

Unless the American consumer wises up, these skinny bundles won’t stay skinny or priced at $15 for very long.

 

John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC             

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