Review: Comcast's Streampix Misses The Social Media Boat
Dubbed a 'Netflix killer,' Comcast's Streampix service went live as part of the Xfinity package and as a $5 add on to non-bundled subscribers. The service hasn't been live long enough to produce any statistics relative to Netflix customers jumping ship, but after playing with the service for a couple of weeks I, for one, am a little disappointed by Streampix's unambitious challenge. Let's start with a basic overview.
For mobile devices Streampix is available within the Xfinity App for Ios (iPhone, iPad), and on Comcast's cable receivers. For the purposes of this review, I'm using the iPad 2 version of the app. Streampix content is available under the Play Now menu of the app, and is treated more like an additional channel of content than a stand-alone service. You can filter in ONLY Streampix content, if you want, and the Xfinity app allows you to filter content by Genre as well.
The initial stable of Streampix content is underwhelming. There are certainly some gems among the content, but Streampix's movie lineup is overflowing with direct-to-video titles and movies you've probably never heard of. The television category features more higher end content like The Office, Friday Night Lights, and Battlestar Galactica, but many of the series are incomplete. If you don't filter for Streampix alone, the Xfinity App offers way more blockbuster content and a stunningly large array of Television Series from providers such as HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime.
The most disappointing aspect of Streampix is that it really didn't bring anything new to the table. With Netflix having a head start in terms of their integration into game consoles, televisions, blu-ray players, and streaming devices such as the Roku, Streampix really needed to bring a game changer to the table if they wanted to be favorably compared to Netflix. Social Media functions would have been a great start.
In this age of software and even hardware development, it's practically a prerequisite to allow users to channel their activity down their preferred social media pipeline. For starters, Social Media is the can't miss platform for viral promotion. The ability to share selected scenes, create tagged play lists, or even add commentary to programming and share that with other Xfinity powered users via Facebook or Twitter could have made for a potent ground game for the Streampix release. Instead, Streampix comes off as an insular product with no real weight outside of Comcast's admittedly huge markets.
Overall, the Xfinity App itself is a great value-added product if you are a Comcast subscriber, but Streampix adds precious little to the already rich on-demand library in the app. Most shocking is the fact that Comcast completely missed the opportunity to imbue the on-demand-anywhere experience with a suite of social media tools. Rating: B-