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Cable Shocker: Comcast to Offer Direct Access to Netflix

5 Jul, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In a major move, Comcast reportedly will soon begin offering direct access to Netflix for subscribers of its broadband-based X1 set-top box.

Comcast, the nation’s No. 1 pay-TV operator, has heretofore steadfastly refused to enable subscribers easier access to third-party subscription streaming and over-the-top video services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, citing conflict of interest with its own streaming platforms and pay-TV ecosystem.

“Comcast and Netflix have reached an agreement to incorporate Netflix into X1, providing seamless access to the great content offered by both companies. We have much work to do before the service will be available to consumers later this year. We'll provide more details at that time,” the two companies said in a joint statement first reported by recode.com.

The decision is significant considering Comcast’s scope, underscoring the emerging power of, and consumer demand for, streaming video.

The two companies have repeatedly sparred through the years over issues, including net neutrality, and, more directly, streaming speed into consumer households.

Netflix, after years of hesitation, in 2014 agreed to pay Comcast — one of the country’s biggest ISPs — an undisclosed fee to ensure direct access (and smoother video streaming) on the cabler’s broadband network into its subscriber homes.

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