Comcast Fights Back Against Cord Cutting With Launch of NOW TV

Comcast Now TV
(Image credit: Comcast)

As cord cutting rates accelerate across the board for U.S. pay-TV providers, the nation’s largest cable TV company is attempting to stem the flow with the launch of a low-cost video package that combines traditional cable channels with FAST channels and streaming. 

On Tuesday, Comcast unveiled NOW TV, a new streaming offering that for $20 a month, offers 40+ live channels from A+E, AMC, Hallmark and Warner Bros. Discovery, plus 20+ integrated FAST channels from NBC, Sky and Xumo Play, and a subscription to Peacock Premium at no additional cost.

In its launch announcement, Comcast made no bones about its target audience: broadband customers who have been abandoning traditional pay-TV video services in favor of virtual multichannel programming distributors (so-called “vMVPDs”) like YouTube TV, Hulu Live+ and Sling TV.

“NOW TV was built to meet the needs of the value-conscious consumer who wants an entertainment product that is simple and convenient with quality programming movies, top shows, live sports, and news. Launching in the coming weeks, NOW TV will be available to Xfinity Internet customers for an everyday monthly price of $20, no equipment required, and the ability to sign up and cancel anytime,” the company said.

“Built using cross-company innovation and technology from Xfinity, Peacock, Sky and Xumo, NOW TV is the first streaming offering in the market to combine a live TV streaming service, free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels, and a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service,” it added. 

In addition to the mix of traditional cable networks like AMC, A&E, Hallmark and the Weather Channel, NOW will also offer 20+ FAST Channels including NBC News NOW, Sky News and the following genre-based channels from Xumo Play: Action Movies, Black Cinema, Bollywood & Indian Cinema, Comedy Movies, Comedy TV, Crime TV, Documentaries, Drama & Action TV, Family Movies, Food TV, Movies, Game Shows, Her Movies, Horror & Thriller, Kids TV, Reality TV, Sci-Fi & Fantasy Movies, Travel & Lifestyle TV and Westerns.

Although the low-cost service does seem to offer a good value for the programming, the weakest part probably lies in the meagre 20 hours of DVR storage—Hulu Live+ and YouTube TV both offer “unlimited” cloud DVR storage for up to nine months.

Comcast’s move to prop up its video service comes amid record rates of cord cutting—in the most recent quarter the company lost 614,000 net customers, a record for the company. Fortunately it has the heft of owning one of the largest content libraries in the industry and its own Peacock streaming service to add value, whereas smaller pay-TV services, like WOW TV are abandoning traditional cable TV channel lineups altogether and offering YouTube TV to its subscribers.   

NOW TV customers can sign up and cancel anytime through At launch, NOW TV Live and Xfinity Stream’s FAST channels will be accessible through the Xfinity Stream app on supported devices, including Xfinity Flex, Fire TV, iOS- and Android-powered devices, and via casting through Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast.

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.