All the Hulu fans in the house, put your hands in the air, hands in the air.
Wow, that’s a lot of hands.
Well, it just so happens that you’re in luck, fake hands. Behold “Mini-Hulu Plus.” Or, well, at least that’s what one writer is calling Xfinity Streampix, a new subscription service from Comcast that is offering entire seasons of television shows and movies for a mere $5 a month …
“Streampix is built to complement those two services, as well as live and on-demand video through the cable box,“ Wired’s Tim Carmody wrote on Tuesday, referencing Xfinity TV and Xfinity mobile as the two services being complemented. “You can’t take AnyPlay with you outside the home, and while Xfinity TV has a big on-demand catalog, it’s generally limited to the last few episodes of current TV shows. Unless you already subscribe to a premium movie channel, the free movies available for on-demand often aren’t very compelling. This is why I call it a ‘mini-Hulu Plus;’ it’s effectively premium band for Comcast’s current on-demand programming, coupled with cross-platform digital distribution.”
As Carmody’s piece points out, this type of development is going to ultimately answer the question of if consumers just might get rid of “digital-only” subscriptions from something like, say, a Netflix or a Hulu-Plus, opting for a cheaper service, such as, say, Xfinity Streampix. Five dollars really is fairly cheap. The issue? You have to be a Comcast subscriber to take advantage of it, and if you happen to be like me — someone who doesn’t have any type of cable package, period — you won’t be able to take advantage of this product. Or, in other words, this is kind of meaningless for cord-cutters as a whole.
That said, Greg Sandoval over at Cnet wrote Tuesday that even though the move isn’t necessarily a realistic possibility for some of us who rely on the Internet for television, the announcement might ultimately end up paying dividends after all …
“This is a smart move, as it hits Netflix where it is weakest now: its video-streaming selection,” he wrote. “Exclusive licensing deals have locked Netflix out of acquiring the latest movies from five of the six top Hollywood film studios. While Netflix managers have seen rapid growth (gaining more than 24 million subscribers), they have struggled of late to keep the streaming library fresh. With Netflix customers grumbling about the lack of new titles, Comcast can tell customers, ‘Hey, the other guy might help you save some money, but is there anything there you want to see?'”
Boy, you’re telling me! Netflix Pix has been struggling for months now.
And so it goes. The battle for streaming supremacy wages on, as more and more companies experiment with ways to try and profit off this niche, or, at the very least, take down Netflix and become the gold standard for streaming content online. It kind of makes you wonder: If the Big Red Envelope That Could would have never messed up its reputation to begin with last year, would all of these companies be putting this type of full-court press on such a rapidly growing industry this quickly?