Comcast and Amazon said Thursday they have formed a partnership to bring Amazon’s Prime Video service onto Comcast’s Xfinity X1 set-top box, the latest uneasy alliance between the cable industry and online-video providers.
The Amazon Prime Video app will arrive on X1 “later this year,” the companies said, without offering a more specific date. Once that happens, Xfinity customers will have easier access on their TV sets to Amazon’s original shows like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Goliath and that Jeff Bezos favorite, The Expanse.
The partnership includes another element that poses a risk to Comcast’s traditional revenue: It gives access on X1’s to the 160 premium Prime Video channels Amazon offers—including HBO, Cinemax and Showtime. Xfinity TV customers will be able to buy a-la-carte subscriptions of these programs through Prime Video rather than add-ons to their cable subscriptions.
Faced with a choice between fighting digital competitors like Netflix and Amazon or embracing them, Comcast has opted for the latter. “We want to give customers easy access to all their favorite content in one place,” Dana Strong, President of Consumer Services at Comcast, said in a statement.
Over the past couple of years, cable operators have started to embrace the video-streaming upstarts that have been prompting cable subscribers to cut the cord. Comcast added Netflix to the X1 set-top box in 2016. It went further last April by including Netflix in some of its cable bundles. In June, Charter Spectrum announced it would give its subscribers access to live channels and on-demand programming through Apple TV.
Comcast’s partnership with Amazon is the first such tie-up for Prime Video with a U.S. cable company.