Hulu Launching on Comcast Xfinity Flex and X1

Comcast’s Xfinity Flex customers can stream Hulu using the Hulu app on their Flex devices, according to the streaming company.

Xfinity Flex customers new to Hulu will also be able to customize their viewing experience with Hulu features such as Taste Picker and Like and Dislike buttons as well as stay up to date with their favorite shows and movies by adding them to My Stuff.

Current Hulu subscribers can sign in with their Hulu login through the Hulu app on Flex. Flex users new to Hulu can sign up here. Once they have their log-in credentials, they can access Hulu through the app on Flex.

Hulu will also roll out on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform within the coming weeks.

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‘E.T.’ Friends Reunite to Market Xfinity and Sky Technology

Comcast NBCUniversal is reuniting E.T. and Elliott — iconic characters from Universal Pictures’ 1982 classic E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial — to market Xfinity and Sky technology.

In a short made in connection with the Comcast-owned studio, E.T. is back on earth for a surprise visit with Elliott (Henry Thomas reprising his role), who now has his own family. Although technology has changed the world since they’ve last seen each other 37 years ago, their connection and friendship remain strong.

The two-minute version of the story will debut during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC in the United States, and then the full-length, four-minute version will be immediately available at xfinity.com/ET.

The company will be featuring the film on Syfy on Thanksgiving Day and making it available on demand for Xfinity TV customers. Xfinity TV customers with X1 will be able to say “E.T. Phone Home” into their voice remote for an E.T.-themed destination. Anyone who visits a Xfinity retail location can pick up an E.T. coloring book and candy.

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“The audience is going to get everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people’s minds and hearts. It’s really a win-win,” stated Thomas, who starred in director Steven Spielberg’s classic as the 10-year-old boy who helps a lost alien find his way home. “Looking at the storyboards, I could see exactly why Steven was really behind it, because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”

“More than anything, the whole story is about family,” added short director Lance Acord in a statement.

“Our goal is to show how Xfinity and Sky technology connects family, friends and loved ones, which is so important during the holidays,” said Peter Intermaggio, SVP for marketing communications, Comcast Cable. “The classic friendship between E.T. and Elliott resonates around the world, and their story became a very meaningful way to bring our company’s consumer technology to life.”

Xumo AVOD Service Launches on Comcast Xfinity X1 and Android TV

Streaming TV company Xumo announced its ad-supported TV service, which delivers live and on-demand TV and movie channels, is now available over the internet on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 platform.

It is Xumo’s largest pay-TV partnership to date, according to the company.

Xumo is also now available on more than 10 Android TV-supported devices, including select Sony smart TV models, Nvidia Shield and Xiaomi Mi Box.

The new partnerships dramatically increase the availability of Xumo in the United States to more than 30 different devices, according to the company.

X1 customers are now able to access Xumo by saying “Xumo” into their X1 voice remote or by finding it within the apps section. Xumo continues to be available on Xfinity Flex.

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“We’re focused on bringing our service to the most popular devices available and have expanded to a record number of new platforms this year alone,” noted Xumo’s SVP of product Chris Hall in a statement. “Partners like Comcast are embracing FAST apps like Xumo that provide easy access to a wealth of additional top-quality programming. Providing expanded live channel options for customers on Xfinity X1 and Flex, Android TV and our entire app portfolio is core to our mission to provide the best free entertainment experience available in streaming today.”

In addition to prioritizing as-it-happens news and events, Xumo offers a library of on-demand content, including thousands of movie titles; programming spanning several genres, including series such as “This Old House” and “Divorce Court”; and full seasons of shows such as “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Forensic Files” from FilmRise and “Nurses Who Kill,” “Wonderland” and animated series “Black Jack” from AMMO.

Comcast Xfinity Digital Store Seventh Digital Retailer to Join Movies Anywhere

Digital movie collection service Movies Anywhere on Dec. 5  added Comcast’s Xfinity Digital Store as its seventh digital retail partner.

Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Apple’s iTunes and Walmart’s Vudu were partnered with the service at launch last October. FandangoNow, Fandango’s on-demand video service, came aboard in March, joined in August by Microsoft Movies and TV.

Comcast’s 22 million Xfinity TV subscribers are now able to synchronize their accounts with Movies Anywhere,  combine eligible movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store with those from other Movies Anywhere digital retailers, and access them on Xfinity X1, the Xfinity Stream app and other Xfinity TV platforms.

Comcast is the first pay-TV provider to join Movies Anywhere. For a limited time, consumers who sync for the first time with Xfinity or one of the other participating digital retailers will receive a free digital copy of Happy Feet, a 2006 computer-animated musical family film with a domestic box office gross of nearly $200 million. Those who sync for the first time with two digital retailers also receive digital copies of The Martian and The Fate of the Furious.

“Comcast is one of the country’s leading pay-TV providers, with a customer base that, like ours, consists of people who are passionate about the movies they love,” said Karin Gilford, general manager of Movies Anywhere. “We are thrilled to now include Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers among those who can benefit from Movies Anywhere’s ability to bring their favorite movies together in one place that can be accessed across a multitude of devices using the Movies Anywhere app and across Xfinity TV platforms.”

“Xfinity X1 is the only platform that provides customers with seamless, integrated access to all of their entertainment choices within one user interface, whether that content is live, on demand, streamed, recorded, rented or owned,” said Daniel Spinosa, VP of entertainment services at Comcast Cable. “And by joining Movies Anywhere, Xfinity TV customers can now easily link their accounts across participating digital retailers and watch their consolidated digital library on X1, or anywhere in the country via the Xfinity Stream app and portal.”

With the addition of Comcast to the Movies Anywhere lineup, Movies Anywhere collections owned by the cable company’s customers will be accessible for the first time directly on the TV through Xfinity On Demand, and on devices via the Xfinity Stream app and web portal. All Movies Anywheres users are also able to access their collections via the Movies Anywhere app and web portal on an array of additional platforms.

One of the top digital retailers for new releases, the Xfinity Digital Store offers Xfinity TV customers the ability to easily purchase and access thousands of movies, many featuring enhanced extras via X1 and across devices via the Xfinity Stream app and web portal.

Movies Anywhere is backed by five Hollywood studios — Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including Focus Features, DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

In October, Movies Anywhere celebrated its one-year anniversary, announcing that since launch fans have streamed more than 35 million movies on more than 100 different devices. The service turned 1 with 6 million registered users, 150 million movies collected and more than 1 billion minutes viewed.

Movies Anywhere in February 2018 won Media Play News‘ inaugural “Fast Forward” award, honoring people, technologies, organizations, products or services that move the home entertainment industry forward. The awards are an outgrowth of the Home Entertainment Visionary Awards, which were launched in 2002 by the now-defunct Home Media Magazine. Comcast’s Brian Roberts was the 2017 honoree.

Movies Anywhere also was nominated for “Fan Favorite App” in the Google Play Best of 2018 Awards.

Consumer spending on digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other filmed content rose 18% in the third quarter of this year compared with the same quarter in 2017, a significant uptick from the single-digit gains posted in prior years, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

MHz Choice SVOD Launches on Comcast Xfinity X1

MHz Networks’ subscription video on demand service MHz Choice is now available over the Internet on Comcast’s Xfinity X1, marking the first time MHz Choice’s entire catalog of premium on-demand international TV content is available through a pay-TV provider in the United States, MHz announced.

Xfinity X1 customers can subscribe to and access the service and its full library by saying “MHz Choice” into their X1 voice remote or by finding it within the networks section of Xfinity on Demand. The service can be added to X1 customers’ service for $7.99 per month.

“It’s great to be a part of the Comcast Xfinity X1 lineup and to significantly expand upon the existing relationship between our companies,” said MHz Networks president and CEO Frederick Thomas in a statement. “We could not be more pleased to introduce MHz Choice’s unmatched catalog of engaging and entertaining television to even more viewers.”

MHz Choice programming is presented in its language of origin with English subtitles and includes series “Detective Montalbano” (Italy), “Wallander” (Sweden) and “A French Village” (France). New series and new seasons of returning series including “Agatha Christie’s Criminal Games” (France), “Beck” (Sweden), “Acquitted” (Norway), “Those Who Kill” (Denmark) and “Lola Upside Down” (Finland) will launch on MHz Choice in the coming months.

Comcast and ESPN Announce Launch of Sports Networks on Xfinity X1

Comcast and ESPN Sept. 5 announced the launch of ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + on Xfinity X1, giving sports fans the ability to stream over the Internet, directly on their television, coverage of college football with more than 150 live games, and more than 5,000 live events annually, including international soccer, Grand Slam tennis matches, college basketball and other collegiate athletics.

All content from across the three networks will be searchable with Comcast’s X1 voice remote and integrated into the same screens and menus as the other sports programming that comes with a customer’s Xfinity TV subscription, according to the announcement.

“Simplicity continues to be essential in today’s dynamic media landscape,” said Sean Breen, SVP, affiliate sales, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, in a statement. “We’re fortunate to have relationships with Comcast to seamlessly serve customers and sports fans on a platform that delivers the best of both traditional and digital video viewing experiences, and the addition of ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + are perfect examples of that.”

“From football and soccer to volleyball and field hockey, this launch gives college sports fans incredible access to live events from schools including Florida State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh in the ACC, Alabama, Georgia and Texas A&M in the SEC, and dozens more from across the entire country on ESPN3,” said Vito Forlenza, executive director, TV Everywhere content and product strategy, Comcast Cable, in a statement. “ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + add a new dynamic to the already deep catalog of sports programming that’s currently available on X1. Combined with universal voice control and the X1 sports app, we are providing customers with the richest, most immersive sports viewing experience in the country.”

With the three new networks customers can:

  • find live coverage from ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + intermixed alongside other live sporting events showcased within X1’s sports destination;
  • get access to the Xfinity Sky Cam’s live game feeds providing exclusive angles and commentary;
  • by saying “ESPN3,” “ACC Network Extra” or “SEC Network +” into the X1 voice remote discover everything available to watch live from the networks;
  • by asking for a specific team such as “Clemson Football” quickly access a team summary, including its current record and conference standing, and see a list of upcoming games airing across any network;
  • while watching the networks’ live online coverage on X1, follow along with real-time updates and data via the platform’s sports companion app for more than a dozen conferences such as the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference, American Athletic Conference, Mid-American Conference and Conference USA; and
  • by saying, for example, “University of Connecticut Huskies Basketball Score,” get real-time scoring updates of the current game and the ability to tune-in live if it’s available to stream;

ESPN3, ACC Network Extra and SEC Network + are available on all eligible X1 set top boxes with Xfinity TV and Internet service.

Comcast Throttling Mobile Hotspot Speeds, Lowering Video Resolution

Comcast has begun informing Xfinity Mobile subscribers that it plans to drop video resolution from 720p HD to 480p (DVD quality), including subs on unlimited data plans. Subs seeking to maintain 720p resolution, are advised to use one of Comcast’s 19 million Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide.

The media giant launched Xfinity Mobile in May 2017 and ended the first quarter (ended March 31) with more than 577,000 subscribers.

With over-the-top video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu pushing for greater mobile viewing, data usage on mobile networks is soaring.

Two years ago, Netflix began throttling its video streams to subscribers using Verizon Wireless and AT&T mobile networks to 600kbps to help users stay within their data caps. Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited data plans that reduce streaming speed when subscribers exceed their data caps.

“We believe restrictive data caps are bad for consumers and the Internet in general, creating a dilemma for those who increasingly rely on their mobile devices for entertainment, work and more,” Netflix wrote in a blog post at the time.

Comcast said the new restrictions would help it reduce the cost of delivering mobile video to subscribers. It also offers subs the option to pay “By the Gig” ($15 per GB), that drops streaming speeds to 1.5Mbps when usage exceeds 20GB per month.

“Starting July 16, you can call us at (888) 936-4968 to enable HD streaming on an interim basis. In the future, HD-quality video will be available as a fee-based option with your service,” Comcast said.

Comcast, Activision Team for ‘Call of Duty’ Multiplayer Early-Play Promotion

Comcast and Activision are partnering to provide gamers with a chance to play the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 multiplayer before its official release Oct. 12.

Xfinity and Activision made the announcement at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles.

Starting June 14 and continuing through the end of August, people online can enter a sweepstakes for a chance to play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 multiplayer at select Xfinity stores in Washington D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Houston, Seattle, Chicago, Indianapolis and Atlanta.

“This year, Xfinity has elevated the consumer experience by offering Call of Duty fans a chance to play Black Ops 4 through the Xfinity store sweepstakes before its official release on Oct. 12,” said Tyler Michaud, VP, product management at Activision, in a statement. “Gamers will get a sneak peek at the engaging gameplay and depth of content that makes Black Ops 4 a blast to play together with your friends, and we thank Xfinity for the continued support in celebrating gamers throughout the U.S.”

In each location, Xfinity plans special events. For instance, professional basketball player Gordon Hayward (Boston Celtics) will join players at the new Cambridge Xfinity store event in Boston, where he will play Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 alongside the city’s sweepstakes winners. Hayward will also partner with Xfinity on other gaming and esports initiatives throughout the year.

“Fast internet is a must-have for every gamer and as a longtime Xfinity customer, I can vouch for the speed and seamless gameplay it delivers,” said Hayward in a statement. “I’m excited to team up with Xfinity to bring early access of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 to fans and I can’t wait to join my fellow gamers in Boston.”

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is part of a top-selling series that’s had more than 200 million players and more than 15 billion hours played, according to the companies.

“Multiplayer features gritty, grounded combat, along with new levels of customization and tactical gameplay, and a variety of new weaponry, maps and modes,” according to a press release. “’While Zombies’ mode debuts an entirely new and unprecedented experience that’s the biggest Day One offering in franchise history — with three fully-featured Zombies experiences at launch. Black Ops 4 also delivers Blackout – the new battle royale-style experience that combines Black Ops’ signature fast, fluid, guns-up combat, with fierce new levels of survival competition across iconic Black Ops settings re-imagined at a colossal scale in an experience that only Black Ops could deliver.”

“We’re excited to partner with Activision and Call of Duty in an even bigger way for fans this year,” said Todd Arata, SVP of brand marketing at Comcast, in a statement. “Xfinity is proud to offer our Internet customers this special opportunity to get in early and play what is no doubt one of the world’s most anticipated video games of the year, plus it reinforces our Internet speed and capabilities that maximize the gaming experience.”

For official rules and regulations, as well as a complete list of locations, visit xfinity.com/CallofDuty. Dates for the promotion vary by location.

This marks the second consecutive year Xfinity has partnered with Activision to provide its Internet customers with early access to one of the world’s best-selling video game franchises.

Comcast Expands Xfinity TV International Content

Comcast has expanded the number of international channels available to Xfinity TV customers by including 42 networks, now available nationally on Xfinity X1 and through the Xfinity Stream TV app and portal on mobile devices, computers, and Roku devices in the home.

From Bollywood movies and Chinese news, to Russian cinema and Brazilian telenovelas, X1 customers can now find foreign-language content from as STAR India PLUS, Zee TV, TV Asia, Globo, Record TV, TV5Monde, TV JAPAN and Willow sports content.

Coupled with the recent addition of Sling International on X1, the international experience on X1 now includes more than 415 networks in more than 20 languages, according to the company.

“The content is organized and curated in a way that makes search and discovery by geography or language simple and easy,” according to a Comcast press release.

X1 customers can just say “International” to go directly to the International destination on Xfinity on Demand, the press release stated. Additionally, customers can use their voice to discover programming relevant to a specific region of the world, for instance saying “Asian entertainment,” “South Asian entertainment,” “European entertainment” or “Brazilian entertainment.” X1 customers generated more than 1.5 billion voice commands in the first quarter of 2018 alone, according to Comcast.

“Xfinity X1 is now the go-to platform for the best international programming and viewing experience,” said Rebecca Simpson, executive director, international strategy for Comcast Cable. “With the demand for multicultural content increasing, we are thrilled to complement our existing array of international programming by adding more channels all thoughtfully curated into an easy way to navigate, discover and enjoy.”

Comcast Announces Xfinity Retail Store

Comcast May 21 announced the launch of the new interactive Xfinity retail store.

The store is “created to provide customers an immersive destination to discover and address service needs for Xfinity products and services,” according to a company release.

The first locations of the new store format recently opened in Pueblo, Colo.; Aventura, Fla.; Henrico, Va.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Tucson, Ariz.

“We want to bring our customers an incredible shopping experience, which showcases the power and innovation of our Xfinity products and demonstrates how they work together,” said Tom DeVito, SVP, retail sales and service, Comcast Cable. “We have heard from our customers that they want to touch and feel our Xfinity products and understand their capabilities as they make decisions for their own home. Our Xfinity stores are the place to do that.”

Comcast has built or re-designed more than 250 new stores since 2015, according to the company. The company will open more than 50 of the new and enhanced Xfinity stores in high-traffic shopping centers across the service footprint in 2018.

“Comcast’s ultimate goal is for customers to be within a 15 minute drive of a Xfinity store,” according to the release.

Xfinity stores are designed strategically by product area —Xfinity Mobile, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Internet.

  • At Xfinity Mobile, customers can purchase new mobile phones or bring in their own Apple devices and choose a data plan.
  • At Discover xFi, the Xfinity home WiFi experience, customers can learn how to view and control network devices through the app, site or voice remote in the Xfinity Internet zone.
  • At X1, the next-generation video platform, the store features a living room environment, so customers can try the voice remote and see how X1 works firsthand.
  • The Connected Home Zone section showcases how Xfinity Home shows customers how they can control IoT devices from their phone, tablet or Xfinity Home touchscreen.

Customers can visit the store to upgrade or swap equipment, ask questions about their Xfinity service, troubleshoot equipment or pay a bill at an in-store kiosk. In-store appointments can be scheduled online on their local store website.

New Xfinity stores also have a dedicated space for Comcast Business customers and prospects to come in and discuss their business technology needs with an expert.