Amazon has quietly rolled out the Amazon Cable Store in a bid to make cable TV, internet and home phone service much easier to compare and buy. Right now, the only cable company offering services through the new virtual storefront is Comcast, but it appears that other carriers may join soon.
Currently, comparing cable services is pretty complicated. Prices aren’t easy to find online, exact details of packages and services can be confusing and modem rentals or taxes can be big surprises at checkout. Amazon’s storefront is an attempt to eliminate that hassle.
Users can choose between cable packages in the same way they chose what size hard drive they want. With variables like agreement length, internet speed and the number of cable channels, users can easily dial in the package that fits their needs and immediately see what it will cost them each month.
“Amazon is not only the biggest online retailer and a place where millions of our customers shop every day, but it’s also a brand that’s unrivaled when it comes to customer service,” said Comcast vice president of customer service Charlie Herrin in a statement. “Amazon’s new marketplace provides an immersive online destination to showcase our terrific suite of products including Xfinity X1.”
The prices on the Xfinity packages I looked at were identical to the prices I saw when doing my own research recently, so the main benefit is just being able to see the prices more easily. However, the Amazon Cable Store page also touts free Amazon gift cards on “select bundles,” which may come down the line as more providers join the program.
Amazon also advertises the ability to save money by buying a modem right on the page. While cable companies often like to rent modems for monthly fees, users have almost always been able to bring their own. Amazon has a guide to make the buying process easier, and of course features links to modems available on Amazon.
To purchase plans, users find the package that fits their needs, complete a credit check and check out all on Amazon. Users can even schedule and purchase professional installation through Amazon, as well as contact Comcast’s customer service through chat or phone for more details.
“We’ve partnered with Comcast to design an Xfinity customer service experience that’s just for Xfinity customers that sign up on Amazon,” Amazon said on the new store page.
That customized experience includes talking with a representative within 60 seconds of calling and customer service agents who don’t earn commissions, meaning they won’t be pushing you to upgrade.
While Xfinity is the only provider available at launch, there is a “featured providers” section on the store page, which may point to other providers joining the program in the future. An Amazon spokesperson said the Cable Store isn’t exclusively for Xfinity, but there are no other partnerships the retail giant is talking about publicly yet.