×

YouTube Coming to Comcast TV Set-Tops

Cable operator inks distribution deal with Google-owned video platform

Comcast plans to launch a YouTube video app on the Xfinity X1 set-top platform nationwide later in 2017 — and move that will make internet video adjacent to TV programming on the U.S.’s biggest cable operator.

Terms of the deal aren’t being released. While no money is changing hands between Google and Comcast, the pact may be part of a broader traffic-distribution arrangement between the two.

X1 users will be able to access content on the YouTube Red subscription service, priced at $9.99 per month. Initially, Comcast customers will not be able to subscribe to YouTube Red directly from the set-tops, but that might change in the future. Meanwhile, according to a Comcast rep, Google’s forthcoming YouTube Unplugged “skinny bundle” of TV channels will not be available via the X1 platform.

With the YouTube app, X1 customers will be able to browse and access YouTube’s entire catalog of billions of videos alongside the programming included with their Xfinity TV subscription. Comcast also will let subscribers use voice commands — to speak into their X1 remote control to find YouTube videos by saying, for example, “Show me Ellen Degeneres on YouTube” or “Find yoga videos on YouTube.”

“The YouTube integration on X1 will provide users the ability to seamlessly navigate and access YouTube content alongside their cable service,” Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, said in a statement.

Comcast didn’t announce when it expects to launch the YouTube app. The deal is part of Comcast’s strategy to become the one-stop-shop for video, so subscribers don’t ever need to switch to an alternative streaming device (like Apple TV or Roku).

Last fall, the cable operator launched Netflix access on the X1 platform, and Comcast offers various other internet apps as well including Facebook, Instagram and Pandora. Comcast had 22.5 million video subscribers as of the end of 2016, and says that close to 50% of those have X1.

For YouTube, which already counts more than 1 billion monthly users, Comcast will add only an incremental number of potential subscribers. But what’s key for YouTube is that X1 will not only provide access on big-screen HDTVs but will also position YouTube content in the same menus where viewers find shows from cable and broadcast TV nets.

X1 customers will be able to access YouTube in the X1 “Apps” and “Networks” menus. In addition, Comcast will feature YouTube content throughout Xfinity On Demand. X1 customers can sign in to their YouTube accounts to access personalized settings and subscriptions.

It’s not the first pay-TV deal for YouTube, but Comcast is its biggest partner to date in this area. YouTube is available on Vodafone, the U.K.’s Virgin Media, Telecom Italia, and on Google Fiber in the U.S. Meanwhile, YouTube is available on a range of internet-TV devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, TiVo and Chromecast.

Here’s a mock-up of how Comcast’s X1 will display curated YouTube content next to TV shows:

More Digital

  • Fubo Sports Network

    FuboTV Launches Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Sports Network

    FuboTV, one of the players duking it out in the competitive internet pay-TV arena, is dropping into the free streaming-video market with a network it wants to distribute as widely as possible — off its own platform. On Thursday, the company is soft-launching the Fubo Sports Network: a live, free-to-consumer TV network for U.S. sports [...]

  • BTS World

    BTS World Mobile Game From K-Pop Group Rockets to No. 1 Spot on App Charts Worldwide

    BTS, the biggest K-pop group in the world, now has the biggest app in the world. “BTS World,” a mobile simulation game that lets fans virtually become the South Korean pop stars’ manager, quickly rose to the top of Apple’s App Store charts in multiple countries just hours after its release on Wednesday, June 26. [...]

  • Discovery Names Andrew Georgiou Eurosport and

    Discovery Taps Andrew Georgiou as Eurosport and Sports Rights Boss

    Andrew Georgiou has been appointed president of Discovery-owned Eurosport. The sports channels and streaming service has been without a chief since Peter Hutton left for Facebook. Georgiou assumes a wider role than Hutton, running Eurosport as well as overseeing sports rights and marketing across Discovery. It has been moving aggressively into the sports sector, licensing [...]

  • Can a Studio Make Movies for

    Listen: Can a Studio Make Movies for VR?

    STX Entertainment is best known for movies like “The Upside” and “Ugly Dolls,” but it also has a division dedicated to creating virtual-reality movies like the recent action short “The Limit.” STXsurreal is working on over a dozen films in a variety of genres, according to its founders, Rick Rey (pictured, right) and Andy Vick. [...]

  • Kathryn Friedrich

    Condé Nast Entertainment Taps Ex-RYOT Studio Head Kathryn Friedrich for New Role

    Condé Nast Entertainment hired Kathryn Friedrich, a YouTube and Google alum who most recently headed Verizon’s RYOT Studio, to the newly created role of EVP, operations and general manager. Friedrich started in the new gig this week, reporting to Condé Nast Entertainment president Oren Katzeff, who joined the company last year from Tastemade. Based in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content