Comcast decision to make its streaming device, Xfinity Flex, free to around 5 million Xfinity broadband users who don’t also take video send shockwaves through the OTT business last month.
Roku, for instance, saw its stock price more than halved, with investors concerned over the tech company’s abilities to maintain hardware sales—and by extension, its ad-supported OTT ecosystem—amid free competition.
One early review of Xfinity Flex, published today by TechHive, seems to undermine the notion that the device is going to push Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and other popular OTT players out of the living room.
According to the review, the Flex service has a number of “big missing links,” beyond its ability to deliver major linear networks, such as ESPN. There’s no support for Hulu or CBS All Access, for example. (Notably, Comcast divested much of its future ownership and control of the Hulu joint venture to Disney earlier this year.)
Flex also lacks support for Spotify, the author points out.
The device, TechHive concedes, does function well as a good piece of cable CPE, delivering managed WiFi and smart home services for those who subscribe to them.
But the “missing links” matter in the sense that Wall Street is interpreting Flex as a replacement for off-the-shelf OTT players, not as a niche piece of CPE for one specific provider.