A treasure trove of on-demand content has just been cracked open by Comcast for free, no-strings-attached sampling by its millions of home-stuck Xfinity X1 and Flex (streaming box) customers. We’re talking subscription video-on-demand channels with a focus on education, entertainment, and fitness that should make those cooped-up by COVID-19 feel better, smarter, healthier. And we’re welcome to watch the content for free for 30 days.
Free previews of movie channels like Showtime and Epix – the tentpoles of the new Comcast Xfinity offering - are a well-established marketing tool, of course, in cable and satellite TV land. The big difference here is that access from Comcast Xfinity is both instantaneous and comes with no-strings-attached – no signup required, no automatic billing that you’ll have to remember to cancel before the free trial period concludes, like you would if you took advantage of free offers online or on your streaming media box. Just murmur “free” into an X1 or Flex remote and up pops the content.
For a sampling on a Flex streaming box (lent free to any Comcast Xfinity customer who only takes their internet service), I began with the Epix movie service (normally $5.99 a month) and “Mission: Impossible – Fallout.” Bad mistake. The film streamed HD sharp but quickly shut me down with its theme of bad guys threatening “one-third of the population of the world” with a Smallpox epidemic.
At the other extreme, The Reading Corner (an Xfinity exclusive, usually $3.99, with calming narrators reading notable storybooks out loud) and Kids Room (a normally $5.99 a month bundle of animated series starring the likes of “Bob the Builder,” “Paddington Bear” and “Strawberry Shortcake”) could chill out any soul with its gentle fare for wee ones.
The same could be said for DogTV (usually $4.99 on Xfinity and $9.99 on Roku), offering a lengthy list of 4-hour long, dog's-eye-view videos designed to keep Rover visually and audibly entertained. There is a lot of object sniffing and doorbells ringing, but maybe your pooch will be a tad less likely to demand another walk just because you’re home.
Doing me the most mental good came from Grokker Yoga Fitness and Wellbeing (an on-demand service that’s normally $6.99.) For starters, I got off my butt and moving in place for a “10 Minute Wellness Walk” (loved the coach and the instant rush of endorphins). Then I had a Grokker chef feed good ideas for not putting on poundage with a day’s worth of “Healthy Meals Under 12” (that’s under 12 minutes to prepare.)
For turning lemons into lemonade, there are literally hundreds of opportunities for self-improvement and learning to be found in the Curiosity Stream (a full 60 days free, normally $2.99), the documentary-rich History Vault ($4.99) and especially The Great Courses Signature Collection. Taught by “the world’s greatest professors” the latter (usually $7.99 a month) runs the gamut from “How to Draw,” “Fundamentals of Photography” and “The Art of Cooking” to “Learning Spanish,” “Make Stress Work for You” and “Critical Business Skills for Success.”
I started with a surprisingly entertaining “English Grammar” tune-up course. And - ain’t it the truth – am talking better already!
[Image credit: Jonthan Takiff/Techlicious]