The addition of Sling TV marks the first time Comcast has made a premium streaming cable replacement available on Flex.
The move is unusual since Comcast and Dish Network compete in many of the same markets — traditional pay television, broadband Internet and mobile phone services, to name a few. But Comcast and Dish Network have been shedding traditional pay TV subscribers for years as money-conscious consumers move their business to (what used to be, until recently) cheaper streaming alternatives.
Over time, Comcast has focused more on its broadband Internet business, trialing a streaming service of its own called “Instant TV” that was available in a few markets, then eventually offering Internet-only customers a streaming device called Flex that ran the same operating system as its television X1 platform.
Sling TV will be added to the former, available immediately to Flex users alongside other streaming apps like YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Pluto TV and the Comcast-owned Xumo and Peacock services. As of now, there’s no plans to bring Sling TV to X1, though a variant of Sling TV with access to international channels has been available on both X1 and Flex for some time.
Comcast limits the availability of Flex devices to its Internet-only customers. One Flex device is offered to subscribers for free, while each additional Flex box (up to two) costs $5 a month to rent.
As of May, Comcast said more than one million customers had a Flex box as part of their service.