Comcast has apparently realized that charging cord cutters $5 per month for a streaming box was a bad idea. The company’s Xfinity Flex device, which is essentially an Xfinity X1 cable box without the cable, is now free for internet-only subscribers, though Comcast will still charge $5 per month to rent an additional box.
Over the last year, Comcast has been steadily adding more apps to its X1 and Flex boxes. Amazon Prime Video and Tubi TV arrived in late 2018, followed by Pluto TV and Xumo this year. Hulu support is coming soon, and Peacock from NBCUniversal (which Comcast owns) will arrive next year. The overall app selection is still much smaller than on other streaming platforms such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV, but Xfinity’s apps do have some universal guide integrations that are missing from competing players.
Even so, the Flex will serve largely as an upsell for a full-blown TV package. As Variety reports, an update later this year will allow customers to purchase a live TV package with one click from the Flex’s TV guide. That plan, at least, makes more sense than trying to convince those who’ve quit cable to rent the box in the first place.