Comcast just announced a $5-a-month streaming service called 'Flex'

Matt Strauss Comcast 9037Michael Seto/Business Insider

  • Comcast announced it would launch a $5-a-month aggregation service for its broadband customers.
  • Xfinity Flex works similarly to Roku and will let customers integrate other streaming services they pay for, like Netflix or Amazon Prime, into one device.
  • Flex seems aimed at deepening relationships with existing Comcast customers rather than acquiring new ones.

Comcast announced Thursday that it would launch a $5-a-month aggregation service for its broadband customers March 26.

Named Xfinity Flex, the service will essentially offer the same capabilities as Roku, which costs about $40 a month.

The way it works is, Flex customers rent a $5-a-month 4K HDR streaming box, which lets them integrate other streaming services they pay for, like Netflix or Amazon Prime, and gives them access to 10,000 free programs, including live TV from ESPN3, Tubi TV, and Cheddar, said Matt Strauss, EVP Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable.

Many of these services already are available for free on the internet other through ad-supported apps.

As with other Comcast products, Flex seems aimed at deepening its existing customer relationships rather than forging new ones. Xfinity Mobile, Comcast's cellular service, also serves to increase customer satisfaction and improve broadband retention.

Read more: A product Comcast launched 2 years ago was supposed to disrupt AT&T and Verizon's business - now experts see it as something totally different

Comcast said it chose the $5 monthly price tag because its research found not all customers want to outright own a device like Roku and instead they prefer to rent out the service to see how it works. Flex also has the ability to use the voice control function of the X1 video platform.

The company envisions Flex as a "TV dashboard for the digital home" with xFi features like the ability to troubleshoot internet issues and check your broadband network.

Flex will not integrate other live streaming services, like DirecTV Now or Hulu with Live TV. People who want video service can upgrade to Xfinity cable service with one click within the platform, Strauss said.
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