Comcast customers can now watch House of Cards without a Netflix subscription. Thanks to a new agreement with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, the cable provider is selling season one of the political drama series through its Xfinity Store. Netflix holds exclusive streaming rights for House of Cards, which has become a staple of its original programming lineup. But Sony manages international and home video distribution for the series; the first season was quietly released on Blu-ray and DVD back in June — without any extras or a single piece of bonus content. The first season is also available to purchase digitally from Amazon Instant Video and Vudu, among other retailers. Episodes can be purchased from Comcast individually or as a bundle.
But Comcast's attempt to ride Netflix's coattails doesn't end with House of Cards. The company has also announced that it will be offering Orange is the New Black starting in May. That's possible through a separate distribution deal with Lionsgate. Comcast's Xfinity Store lets customers buy movies and TV shows and watch them across various devices. But videos aren't compatible with UltraViolet, and you risk losing access in certain scenarios if you terminate Comcast service. We'd recommend simply buying a Netflix subscription if you want to watch Netflix shows (especially since streaming speeds on Comcast should be getting better). Comcast's deal with Sony also includes early-release movies for the Xfinity Store, which will give its customers a chance to purchase select films before they reach Blu-ray and DVD.
Update: The article has been updated to mention that House of Cards is already available from other digital retailers.