Comcast Opens Digital Storefront to Sell Movies and TV Shows

Comcast Opens Digital Storefront Sell Movies

Cable giant enters electronic sell-through market, offering some titles 'weeks' ahead of DVD release

Comcast has launched the Xfinity TV Store — offering subscribers select movies for purchase several weeks ahead of DVD release — marking the cable giant’s entry into the electronic sell-through market to compete with iTunes, Amazon.com, Walmart’s Vudu and others.

Comcast’s new service offers titles for purchase on TV or online “weeks before they are available on DVD or for rental,” the company says on its marketing site. The cableco adds: “You can’t do this with satellite.” News of the forthcoming launch of the digital storefront leaked out last week.

The nation’s No. 1 pay TV provider, with 21.6 million video subscribers as of the end of September, is trying to carve out a piece of the $18 billion homevideo market. Comcast plays up the service as appealing to consumers who want to watch a title repeatedly, with the ability to watch them offline, as well as access to movies in “early EST” windows.

Featured movies in the initial launch include “Fast & Furious 6” ($19.99 in HD; $16.99 in SD), “Identity Thief” ($15.99 in HD; $12.99 in SD), “The Hunger Games” ($12.99 in either format), and “2 Guns” ($16.99 in either format). In all, Comcast has about 160 movies in the storefront, with kids’ fare well represented. Not all of them are recent releases; selections include “Apocalypse Now” and “Jaws” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House.”

The Xfinity TV Store currently offers seven television series, with individual episodes for purchase ($2.99 in HD and $1.99 in SD): “Mad Men,” “Hannibal,” “Grimm,” “Covert Affairs,” “Bates Motel” and “Suits.”

Customers who buy a TV show or movie from their set-top box or from xfinity.com/store, may watch the purchased titles in multiple ways: on TV through Xfinity On Demand; on a computer from the website; or with the Xfinity On Demand Purchases app for iOS and Android.

Titles that are downloaded to PCs or the mobile apps may be viewed when not connected to the Internet. Comcast recommends customers “download purchased titles shortly after purchase.”

Comcast is not the first pay-TV provider to march into EST: Verizon’s FiOS service has offered movies for purchase — and viewable on multiple devices — with the Flex View service, launched in late 2010.

Watch a Comcast promo video explaining how to buy TV shows and movies:

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  1. nakeannakean says:

    I too, am a bit upset at the lack of rental offerings to go along the buy now. I get releasing the buy now option before renting is a possibility to help boost sales, but after I can rent it everywhere else I would expect to be able to rent it on the box. Very disappointing that these are even put along with the other rent options, as if to dupe you into buying by accident. Should be a completely different menu, as very few decide to buy a movie when they are searching to rent one for the evening.

  2. Tony Martinelli says:

    The offering to “purchase” a downloadable movie without providing an option to rent every available movie is reason enough to leave Comcast. I’m disappointed. I will likely cancel in 2014 if things don’t change.

  3. Matt says:

    There is a mechanism to transfer the titles to you should you disconnect video service:

    http://www.xfinitypurchases.com/faqs.html

  4. FrankM says:

    The FAQ (http://www.xfinitypurchases.com/faqs.html) lists so many restrictions and “Unfortunately, at this time….” caveats.

    Buyers beware: Purchases that are tied to a MVPD are most likely going to be difficult to keep if you ever discontinue service.

    You don’t have the upfront cost of an appleTV, Roku, or Amazon’s future streaming device (you’re already renting your cable box), and you may get a few titles a few weeks earlier. That’s the only advantage of Comcast’s system.

    Otherwise, just wait the usual time and buy the physical goods (they have resale value!), or buy from apple or amazon where your purchases go with you easily no matter what your service provider is in the future.

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