Comcast On Demand Services Has Some Pretty Good Free Offerings

by on February 19, 2010

in Entertainment


I was talking to someone at work today and it just happened to come up that they missed Caprica last week. I said well at least they’ve got a few weeks before Comcast pulls it off their On Demand station. Then again, judging from the ratings for the show, you and everyone else has missed it!

I got a ‘Huh?” (About the free stuff on Comcast that is.)

It seems that my peer did not have a clue about On Demand. I surmised that by his question of ‘how would he bring that up on his TV? I said the On Demand button. He asked me where that was? Of course, you realize this means I have to say something for everyone’s benefit, right?

With his obvious bliss on the matter of not even being aware of free On Demand, I thought what the heck, let’s bring this up on the site at Cinema Static on SoB.

My first inclination is that most anyone on the web is technologically savvy enough to be aware of the free stuff on Comcast On Demand. But if even 1 or 5 or 20 of you just learned something new, then I’m happy to have tossed these tidbits out.

They have most networks represented under [TV].

FearNet has a ton of free stuff, with the occasional awesome freebie movie that is so much more than just a free movie. That’s how I discovered Midnight Meat Train and The Boogeyman. Booth top-notch fun fright flicks!

Here’s what happens when I hit my On Demand button on my remote:

I get a menu with lots of options.

  • Top Picks, TV Series;
  • Movies, Free Movies;
  • HD on Demand, Sports and Fitness;
  • TV Entertainment, Premium Channels;
  • Kids, Get Local;
  • History & Nature; Life & Home
  • Music, News;
  • Searchlight, The Cutting Edge
  • Help & Services, En espanol;
  • Saved Programs.

That’s a lot of menu items.

I’m just going to touch the surface of what’s here.

The menu is a little slow, but eh, I’m in no rush. I highlight Top Picks and hit the OK button. We have New Movies, Movie Collections and a bunch of other options just under this screen alone. New Movies is the stuff that premieres on the service. Today, Pandorum would seem the be the only new movie made available today. Usually, I see 3 to 7 new blockbusters most Friday’s.

I now hit my LAST button to back up a page. I hit it one more time to get back to the first menu.

Now I’m checking out the TV Series button. There, I’ve got the HD, All TV Series and Season Catch Up buttons. I’m always in the TV Series section playing catch up. They split it all up into A-F, G-M, N-S and ALL. I’m headed to the A-F section today, checking out the Caprica episodes. They have a lot of screens for me to get to Caprica… ah, there’s Burn Notice too! I have to play catch up with that show also! Today they still have episodes 1 through 4… though the first part of the premiere episode goes away on the 20th of February.

These are free.

If I want to look by TV network, I head to the top menu again and navigate to TV Entertainment. There, I can pick CBS, FOX, A&E, the much maligned (these days) NBC, ABC and a bunch of others. There’s 4 pages of networks to choose from.

CBS programs are the best. There’s only 3 commercials. ABC (Disney run) have the most ads and they’re the same thing over and over. Last year, NBC was charging 99 cents a viewing. I went to check that out, but it seems no one was taking them up on that bit because the shows are now all free there.

LOL, I just found an intesting section at the last page called TV ScreenSavers…. I can choose from Caribbean Sunset, Coral Aquarium (My cats should like that.), fireplace, Glacial Lake… dang. I need to check this out. They’re 20 minute bits and I’m trying out the Aquarium option right now for a few minutes. OK, it’s like my computers screen saver, but they have a confusing lapping water sound in the background.

Now the part I hate about the Comcast On Demand service is when you quit a video, you can’t go back to the menu you were in when you started the video. It takes you back to the main menu. Grr, but whatever.

In the Free Movies section, there are a lot of options here. It’s by Category, HD, Trivia, FX (Don’t freak out.. it’s movies played on FX, WITH the commercials.), FEARnet (I love this channel), Sundance Channel and others.

The KIDS menu has Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Kids WB, Bob the Builder, Boomerang, Discovery Kids and a bunch others.

Then there’s the Premium Channels option. At first I thought I could purchase individual shows to watch, but the shows available here are if you already have a subscription. OR, the channel is having one of those free weekends they never advertise! Then you can eat up the subscription stuff for that network during the weekend it’s offered for free!

Of course there’s always the actual movies that it the On Demand section. Rather than paying for a movie theater ticket at what, $8 or $12 bucks, not counting popcorn drinks and such… I can slap a request out there for $5 movie, get my $5 popcorn (for 12 servings) and kick it with my favored beverage, all while hanging with more than myself. For the $5, it didn’t cost $30 for a few folks. Sometimes, if you’re really patient, like I am, you get a much better viewing experience for such a cheap price. Yes, there are some movies I’m still waiting for… very patiently.

So there you have it, now you know a little bit about the Comcast On Demand service.

While I was writing this, they played an ad that they now have the first 7 seasons of 24 just became available on the service!

Comcast On Demand Service website

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Jan November 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

Just this weekend, on demand shows in HD will not play unless you rent the HD cable box from Comcast. The same said Non-HD box will play the shows if you watch them when they air, but if you go into Catch Up, under On Demand (which is advertised as FREE), and try to watch them the shows will not play – and it tells you to go rent the HD cable box.

My gripe is I don’t have a HD TV, nor do I want one. So that is another 10.00 per month hike in fees for the same service level, same picture.

Pretty soon, Netflix and Computer TV are going to be the norm because the cable/disk TV/sat TV price creep herds us towards the internet to find reasonably priced basic TV.

Bruce Simmons January 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Deb, I never had Direct TV, so I can’t compare. Each service, in and of itself has its pro’s and con’s so you just have to go with what feels best for you. On the other hand, if the entire world is chiming in on something in one consistent fashion, there’s something to be said for the voice of the masses!

Deb January 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Hi Bruce,
Thanks for the On-demand info, very helpful. I ama long time direct tv customer, trying out comcast for 30 days and still undecided which is better. I don’t like the comcast guide and finding network channels is a bit challenging. We loved direct tv, but the price was getting out of hand. Do you have an opinion?

Bruce E. Simmons (BruSimm) January 6, 2011 at 6:20 am

Well noted Janet. At the time that I wrote this piece almost a year ago, indeed, ABC existed on this service. But I’ve been collecting some things to talk about in a new piece. Specifically the lack of ABC and other network shows that have just completely up and disappeared from the On Demand service. Most annoying indeed! Keep an eye out for it. It’s coming soon!

janet January 6, 2011 at 6:05 am

Yes, Disney-owned ABC is not available “On-Demand” and its disappointing. From what I’ve read, it has something to do with Disney execs wanting to build in a lot of advertising that cannot be fast-forwarded through, which was the deal-breaker.

Bruce Simmons (BruSimm) October 4, 2010 at 4:02 pm

hey Michele!
To be honest, I was going to be addressing that in an upcoming article but I’ll cover the short of it here:

Yes, ABC shows used to be available at their ON DEMAND service, but it would seem that ABC has pulled their content from this free VOD service this year. (My wife was looking for certain things that no longer show up)

My pure, conjectural guess, is that with ABC being vested in Hulu and it’s new pay model, they’ve restricted their content to those channels and pulled their content from the COMCAST ON DEMAND service.

There, a preview of another opinionated piece from!

PS: thanks for coming by and keeping me company!

Michele October 4, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Bruce, I’ve noticed that they only have certain tv shows under the tv series. Last year, they had Desperate Housewives and this year they aren’t carrying it. Is there a way to request that they record a tv series? It would be nice if they had all the tv series — like Grey’s Anatomy. Any help would be great! Thanks!

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