PHILADELPHIA – Comcast is taking aim at Netflix, unveiling its own streaming video service that will give existing Comcast video customers a similar selection of old TV shows and movies over the web.
The Philadelphia-based cable operator said Tuesday the new service would be called Xfinity Streampix, and will be bundled with certain tiers of Comcast video service, and available for $4.99 per month to other Comcast video customers. By contrast, Netflix's streaming video service costs $7.99 per month.
Comcast's new service will include such shows as "30 Rock," from its own NBCUniversal unit and "Lost" from Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, as well as movies like "Ocean's Eleven," from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. The programs, typically of prior seasons of shows, will be available on the web and on mobile devices to subscribers in and out of the home, similar to Netflix's offering.
The new service, which will launch Thursday, is separate from Comcast's existing Xfinity TV offering, which gives a selection of newer shows to Comcast video customers in and out of the home as part of their standard video subscriptions.
Comcast is launching Streampix as competition heats up among potential Netflix competitors. Amazon.com Inc. has been striking deals for its own web streaming service, which is bundled as a sweetener to customers who pay $79 a year for discounted shipping through an offering called Amazon Prime.
Meanwhile, Verizon Communications recently struck a deal with Coinstar's Redbox to launch a new Netflix competitor, too.
While Comcast's new service will be available only in Comcast homes, it is nevertheless a shot across the bow of the upstart web streamer -- threatening to take away some of its subscribers. Comcast finished 2011 with 22.3 million video subscribers, while Netflix reported 21.7 million subscribers to its online streaming service, making it the second-most broadly subscribed video service in the US.
Read more on Comcast's coming Netflix competitor at The Wall Street Journal.