Comcast has launched the Xfinity TV Store, offering at least 170 movies and seven TV series for sale either via the Web or directly through set-top boxes, and pitting the MSO against Apple iTunes, Vudu, Xbox Video, Amazon.com, M-GO, Target Ticket, and others that compete in the electronic sell-through (EST) market.
Verizon Communications offers a similar EST service for FiOS TV customers called Flex View that lets customers buy titles and play them back on set-tops and mobile devices.
In addition to enabling playback of purchases on set-tops and PC browsers, Comcast also allows playback (but not direct purchases yet) via the recently launched "Xfinity On Demand Purchases" app for iOS devices Android-powered tablets and smartphones.
At least 170 movie titles early on including 8 Mile, Apocalypse Now, Atonement, Cowboys & Aliens, Despicable Me, The Lorax, It’s Complicated, Mud, Oblivion, The Bourne Legacy, The World’s End, and the Twilight series. As of Wednesday, the Xfinity TV Store offered seven TV series for sale -- Bates Motel, Chicago Fire, Covert Affairs, Grimm, Hannibal,Mad Men, and Suits. Individual episodes in standard-definition format run $1.99 each, while the hi-def versions run $2.99 each.
Comcast said it expects to expand the size of its Xfiity TV Store library rapidly.
Reports that Comcast was close to launching a video download store surfaced last week. As Multichannel News reported Monday, Comcast expects to offer several titles for purchase before they are available for rent or on DVD.
According to Comcast, customers are allowed to stream purchased titles on up to three devices, such as computers, mobile phones or tablets, at any given time. Up to three different devices can be registered to a customer’s account to download purchased movies for playback while on the go.
The MSO has also unveiled a video that explains and promotes the new service:
With its EST offer, Comcast will be entering a market that is currently dominated by Apple iTunes. According to NPD Group, Apple’s share of the EST market for TV shows reached 67% in 2012, and took 65% of the share for feature-length movies offered via EST.
iTunes also held a big lead in the Internet VOD market, with a 45% market share of online movie rentals, more than twice the share of Amazon Instant Video (18%) and triple that for Vudu (15%), according to NPD Group.