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Comcast cable TV boxes to integrate Netflix service

MUMBAI: US cable TV giant Comcast has entered into a deal with internet video streamer Netflix, whereby the Netflix service will be integrated onto some of Comcast’s upgraded cable TV boxes, which will be out by the end of the year.

The deal is being seen as a win for Netflix, which is also available on Apple TV, Roku and video gaming devices. Netflix also has similar relationships with Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and Suddenlink Communications.

For quite some time now, Netflix has been trying to work its way into as many traditional cable TV boxes as possible so that consumers do not need to juggle multiple devices.

Netflix and Comcast have not revealed the financial aspects of their partnership, though it may very likely involve Netflix making payments to Comcast.

The deal has come at a time when internet streaming services like Netflix are widely seen as the future of television-style content, while traditional cable networks are seen as things of the past, whose days are largely numbered.

A large number of digital video consumers have discontinued their cable TV subscriptions completely in favour of internet-based video streaming services like Netflix.

As per the deal, Netflix and Comcast have agreed to let viewers watch shows like ‘Orange Is the New Black’ simply by selecting them from Comcast’s X1 user interface, just as they would with any other channel.

This ‘seamless access’ feature will begin rolling out in the US market later this year as part of Comcast’s X1 cable platform, the companies said.

This would essentially mean that viewers would not have to switch interfaces to third-party streaming boxes such as Apple TV.

All that viewers would have to do is access the Netflix app stored on the Comcast X1 cable platform interface, which will enable them to navigate and search for Netflix content on their regular cable interface.