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Comcast launches Now TV budget streaming service

The service costs $20 a month and includes a handful of lifestyle and knowledge channels, plus access to Peacock Premium.

The service costs $20 a month and includes a handful of lifestyle and knowledge channels, plus access to Peacock Premium.

A smart television set showing channels and programming from Comcast's Now TV streaming service. (Courtesy image)
A smart television set showing channels and programming from Comcast’s Now TV streaming service. (Courtesy image)

Comcast is going after streamers who want general entertainment, lifestyle and knowledge channels with a new skinny streaming bundle called Now TV.

The service offers more than 40 live television channels from Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), AMC Networks, Hallmark Media and A+E Networks alongside dozens of free, ad-supported streaming channels from Xumo Play within a single interface, all for $20 a month.

Comcast is also offering Now TV subscribers free access to Peacock’s Premium tier as part of their plan, which normally costs $10 a month. Peacock Premium offers commercial-free access to on-demand TV shows and movies, as well as live access to three Hallmark Channels and Reelz.

“With content and connectivity at the core of our company, we are uniquely positioned to build and deliver streaming entertainment offerings unlike anything else out there today,” Dave Watson, the president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “Now TV is a great example of how our company brings together its collective video experiences, innovative technology, and superior broadband service to deliver some of the best entertainment into one affordable streaming bundle.”

Now TV repurposes a streaming brand name that is used for a similar service operated by Sky, a European satellite broadcaster that Comcast acquired in 2018. The European version of Now TV is still offered in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy and Germany.

Stateside, Now TV appears to be going after streamers who don’t necessarily want live access to professional sports and cable news, but instead get most of their TV through subscription streaming services and free, over-the-air broadcasts.

Comcast says Now TV is the first streaming service to combine the elements of live cable, a subscription streaming service and free, ad-supported streaming channels in one package. The live cable and free streaming channels will be available through the Xfinity Stream app for Now TV subscribers, while Peacock will remain its own separate app.

A Comcast spokesperson confirmed to The Desk that Now TV will only be offered in areas where Comcast provides video and broadband Internet service, adding that the live TV channels offered through Now TV will also work with standalone TV Everywhere apps.

The full list of channels available through Now TV are:

  • A&E
  • Afro
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC America
  • BBC News
  • Comedy.TV
  • Cooking Channel
  • Crime & Investigation
  • Discovery Channel
  • Discovery Life
  • Food Network
  • FYI
  • Great American Family
  • Great American Living
  • Get TV
  • Game Show Network
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Hallmark Drama
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • HGTV
  • History Channel
  • Investigation Discovery
  • IFC
  • Justice Central
  • Lifetime
  • Lifetime Movie Ntework
  • Magnolia Network
  • Military History
  • Motortrend Network
  • Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN)
  • Pursuit
  • Recipe.TV
  • Science Channel
  • Sony Movies
  • Sundance
  • TLC
  • Travel Channel
  • Vice TV
  • We TV
  • The Weather Channel

The free, ad-supported channels available through Xfinity Stream that will also be offered to Now TV customers include:

  • NBC News Now
  • Sky News
  • Xumo Action Movies
  • Xumo Black Cinema
  • Xumo Bollywood & Indian Cinema
  • Xumo Comedy Movies
  • Xumo Comedy TV
  • Xumo Crime TV
  • Xumo Documentaries
  • Xumo Drama & Action TV
  • Xumo Family Movies
  • Xumo Food TV
  • Xumo Movies
  • Xumo Game Shows
  • Xumo Her Movies
  • Xumo Horror & Thriller
  • Xumo Kids TV
  • Xumo Reality TV
  • Xumo Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies
  • Xumo Travel & Lifetyle TV
  • Xumo Westerns

Comcast says customers can sign up for Now TV through the Xfinity website, and that the service will be supported on all devices that offer the Xfinity Stream app (including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV, as well as Apple and Android phones and tablets).

The service appears similar to Philo, a wallet-friendly streaming service that offers more than 70 live channels of content as well as an unlimited cloud DVR service for $25 a month. On Tuesday, Philo said it was adding nine new channels from Cineverse, a provider of free, ad-supported streaming content.

Another budget-friendly streaming service, Frndly TV, offers more than 40 live channels for $7 a month.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).