BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
As big entertainment companies prepare to launch new streaming services, Comcast is trying to bolster its Flex streaming TV device by giving it away.
As with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku, Flex lets viewers watch streaming services over a regular TV, though they have to subscribe to Netflix and others on their own.
Comcast said Wednesday that one box would now be free for its home internet customers. Additional boxes would still cost $5 a month each.
Flex will support Comcast’s upcoming Peacock streaming service, featuring NBCUniversal shows. Comcast won’t say whether viewers will be able to watch upcoming rival services like Disney Plus, HBO Max and Apple TV Plus. Flex doesn’t support online-TV services that are cable replacements, like YouTube TV and AT&T TV Now.
Comcast’s NBCUniversal said Tuesday that its upcoming streaming service will be called Peacock, in an homage to NBC’s logo. It will become the home for some of the company’s most popular shows, including “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.”
That means both will be leaving Netflix, although not for several months after Peacock launches. As Disney, AT&T’s WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal prepare to debut their streaming services, they have been taking some of their TV and movie deals away from Netflix, the most popular streaming service. That augurs a future where consumers will have to hunt for their favorite shows and films among lots of different services. WarnerMedia for example on Tuesday also announced that HBO Max, its upcoming streaming service, will have the U.S. rights to “The Big Bang Theory.” Netflix on Monday said it’s adding Seinfeld.
Peacock, like HBO Max, is launching in April, after Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus, which come out this November. NBCUniversal on Tuesday did not announce a price. The service will have ads.
Peacock’s lineup will include series like “30 Rock,” ”Will & Grace,” and “Cheers,” although those won’t stream exclusively on Peacock, as well as original new movies and shows including reboots of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Saved by the Bell” and a new comedy series from “The Good Place” and “Parks and Rec” creator Mike Schur. NBCUniversal would not say what would be available at Peacock’s launch.