Comcast affirms truce with Netflix as it integrates streamer into Xfinity
Comcast will make Netflix available on the Xfinity cable service by Thanksgiving, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in New York on Tuesday morning.
According to Philly, Roberts added that Comcast is talking with other online streamers about including their movies and TV shows on Xfinity and said that he and Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings have put aside their differences.
Comcast is the nation’s largest cable-TV service and Netflix is the nation’s largest on-demand streamer.
“We occasionally did not see eye-to-eye on everything,” Roberts said on Tuesday at an annual investor conference held by Goldman Sachs, adding that now he was “pleased with the relationship” between Comcast and Netflix.
The truce seems to mark the end of an era when Comcast and Netflix battled bitterly at times over network interconnections to stream Netflix content to Comcast subscribers and Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc.
Netflix fiercely opposed the giant Comcast/Time Warner Cable deal, believing it could cripple the streaming service. Comcast abandond the deal in early 2015 after the federal government indicated it would fight it.
Many see Netflix and other streamers as threats to Comcast’s cable-TV business and Tom Wheeler, the head of the Federal Communications Commission, has said that set-top boxes should enable TV subscribers to watch shows offered both over traditional cable and the new streamers.
The new Netflix functionality will do just that, Roberts said on Tuesday. He demonstrated how Xfinity subscribers can order the streaming service over their cable-TV service and how Netflix content will be displayed in search functions along with Xfinity content.
Netflix also will be included into the Xfinity voice remote so that subscribers can search for Netflix content by speaking to the remote, Roberts said.
The Netflix access will only be available through Comcast’s X1 set-top box, which should e available to about 50 percent of Comcast homes later this year.