Q. A friend of mine said he was thinking of getting Choice TV from Comcast, but he had trouble describing it. It had something to do with a small lineup and less money. Do you know anything about it? — Fred, Miami.
Fred, Choice TV is a version of Comcast’s once highly-touted Instant TV plan with a few exceptions. (If you’re not familiar with Instant TV, read this.) Instant TV still exists, but Comcast will not take new customers for it starting next month. The company is shifting its ‘skinny TV’ focus to Choice TV.
So what is Choice TV?
Choice TV, which was launched last November, allows you to subscribe to a Comcast video service without getting a set-top. You can watch on the Xfinity Stream app. While you don’t need a video set-top, you do need an Xfinity Internet plan, and a modem, of course. (It can be a third-party modem that is compatible with Xfinity, or you can use the modem supplied by Comcast for a monthly fee.)
The base price of Choice TV is $30 a month, which gives you all local broadcast channels, PBS, CW, Univision, Telemundo, PEG channels and other channels found locally. (The On Demand programming for that lineup is also included).
The package also includes 20-hour DVR storage and High-Definition programming. And unlike other Comcast video plans, there is no add-on fees for the base package, such as a broadcast TV fee which is included in the $30 a month.
If you want to expand your lineup, you can order HBO, Starz and Video on Demand services such as Acorn TV, Lifetime Movie Club and History Vault. And there are three add-on packages:
Kids and Family for $10 a month
Disney Channel, Freeform, Universal Kids, MTV, National Geographic channel, Nickelodeon, and TLC
Entertainment for $15 a month
A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BET (not in all markets), Bravo, Comedy Central, Discovery, E!, Food Network, FX, FXX, Hallmark Channel, History, HGTV, Lifetime, OWN, Syfy, TV One, USA & VH1
Sports & News for $28-35 a month (exact price depends on the market.)
CNBC, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Business, Fox News, FS1, Gold Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports, Tennis Channel and Regional Sports Channels.
Choice TV is designed for cost-conscious consumers who are looking for more flexibility in arranging their programming lineups. However, the $30 a month may be a bit steep for what is essentially a lineup of local channels.
By the way, if you’re wondering on which devices you can watch the Xfinity Stream app, this might help.
Fred, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann