The End of a Bitter Dispute: Netflix Comes To Comcast Cable Boxes


Comcast says its next generation of cable boxes will include a Netflix streaming app. The deal appears to end a bitter dispute between the two companies over net neutrality issues.

The streaming will be available through the X1 platform, which will include a unified search tool (covering Live TV, DVR recordings and On Demand content) and the ability to overlay web content such as live scores from other games while watching sports.

A joint statement reads:

Comcast and Netflix have reached an agreement to incorporate Netflix into X1, providing seamless access to the great content offered by both companies. We have much work to do before the service will be available to consumers later this year. We’ll provide more details at that time.

There’s no official word from either side as to whether any money will change hands; the leading theory is that Netflix will pay a small amount to Comcast but not one that makes any significant difference to its finances. The payment would likely be a “bounty” for each Comcast customer who signs up to Netflix.

There’s also no word on whether customers will be able to have their Netflix subscription cost collected by Comcast as part of the monthly cable bill.

Comcast and Netflix have battled for years over customers using their broadband (rather than cable TV) connections to stream Netflix. The short version of the dispute was that Comcast believed Netflix should contribute financially to cover the fact that its video makes up a huge percentage of data use among broadband customers, while Netflix believed such a payment would violate the principles of net neutrality.

That brings up the question of whether accessing Netflix through the Comcast cable box will count as “Internet use” when it comes to monthly data caps. Netflix has previously complained that Comcast’s own video on demand services don’t count towards data caps, something it says gives it an unfair advantage.

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