Last fall, Comcast announced Apple’s streaming TV network would appear on its X1 platform along with Netflix, Amazon, Disney Plus, Hulu, Spotify, and all the other services it already offers, and now the day is here. According to a press release, the Apple TV Plus rollout on Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, and XClass TV starts today and should appear on eligible devices “in the coming days.”
More importantly, for anyone who has the eligible hardware connected, you can try Apple TV Plus for free. From March 15th through March 21st, Xfinity users can expect an “unprecedented preview” of Apple TV Plus’ original series and films available with no sign-up or sign-in necessary. If you’re not sure if it’s worth it after that (or just haven’t finished Ted Lasso, Mythic Quest, or Severance yet), you can get a three-month free trial by using your Xfinity device to sign up before April 25th.
Comcast’s X1 platform reaches more than just cable / streaming boxes now, with the availability of Xfinity Flex, as well as XClass smart TVs made by Hisense. As such, it’s competing with other platforms like Roku, Apple’s own TV box, Fire TV, Android / Google TV, and others. One more reason why this app is important is that Comcast says it’s the first one “built using a common set of development tools and resources through Comcast’s global technology platform.” Apple TV Plus apps on some other platforms have had some issues, and we’ll need to hear from subscribers to know how well this one works with your cable remote.
Adding Apple TV isn’t likely to lure many people back to the embrace of cable, but the Xfinity strategy of trying to keep people from switching inputs to start streaming means it will need to have the popular services, and now it’s got one more on the list. And for those of us who remember the promise of the open cable box, this all just feels very weird.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.