As if Netflix didn't have enough problems on its hands, it learned on Tuesday that Comcast, the nation's largest cable service, plans to launch its own streaming service, offering, like Netflix, mostly TV reruns and older movies. The name for the service -- Xfinity Streampix -- may not roll off the tongue as easily as Netflix (or even the abandoned Qwikster), but Comcast has a decided advantage, principal ownership of a television broadcast network, NBC, and a TV and movie studio, Universal. It has also struck deals with ABC/Disney, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Comcast is providing the streaming service free as part of the package of the TV, Internet and phone service it offers customers ($5.00 per month for those who subscribe to cable TV only). "This is an extension of our strategy to give consumers the content that they love where and when they want it," Marcien Jenckes, Comcast's general manager of video services, told the Los Angeles Times . It will not be available outside of Comcast's coverage area, however, Jenckes said, adding, "It is not at all our intention to compete with Netflix." That is not the way some media reports described the plan. The Wall Street Journal headlined, "Comcast Takes Aim at Netflix." MacWorld magazine echoed "Comcast Steampix Joins Attack on Netflix," while the Los Angeles Times bannered, "Comcast and Netflix Escalate Fight for Viewers." In any event, the question remains, how will the service fare not only against Netflix but also against Hulu, in which Comcast is a part owner through NBCUniversal, or the new service being launched by Verizon and Redbox, or against DISH network's Blockbuster Movie Pass.
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