Comcast adds Hulu to Xfinity Flex and X1 as social distancing ramps up

Simon Cohen

Comcast has some welcome news for its customers facing weeks of self-isolation in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic: Xfinity customers can now access Hulu content directly from their set-top boxes. Xfinity Flex users can access Hulu right now, while X1 users will be getting similar access in the coming weeks.

Before this move, Comcast customers who wanted to watch Hulu needed to use another streaming device or rely on a native Hulu app on their smart TV. To be clear: Comcast is not providing Hulu content as part of its subscription service — you still need to use an existing Hulu account or sign up for a new one — but you no longer need to reach for a different remote or switch TV inputs to get to Hulu.

The addition of Hulu to these Comcast platforms means that many of the built-in features like voice commands and curated show lists will be updated to work with Hulu:

Soon Hulu will be easily integrated into Flex and X1 customers’ TV experience with the Xfinity Voice Remote — making it really easy to find Hulu content. Customers will be able to say “Hulu” into the Xfinity Voice Remote to launch the app or “Little Fires Everywhere,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” or “Ramy” to find and enjoy these highly anticipated and award-winning Hulu Originals instantly — without toggling or switching inputs. Flex and X1 customers will also be able to find Hulu programming throughout the Flex and X1 guide featured in collections curated by our Xfinity TV editors by saying, for example, “New on Hulu,” or check out our editors’ Hulu favorites by saying “Best of Hulu” into the voice remote. — Comcast press release

For now, it looks like Comcast will not be making Hulu’s live TV offering, Hulu + Live TV. available on its set-top boxes. This makes sense on the Xfinity X1 as it’s the platform Comcast uses for its own live TV and DVR services, however, the Xfinity Flex is a streaming-only device that can’t receive Comcast’s live TV channels.

In 2019, Comcast announced that it would offer its internet-only users a free Xfinity Flex set-top box, instead of charging the usual $5 per month rental fee.

Earlier in March, Comcast executives expressed optimism that the 2020 Olympics, the U.S. broadcast rights of which belong to Comcast-owned NBC, would not be canceled despite fears over the spread of coronavirus. This optimism may be misplaced: Japan’s Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso recently referred to the upcoming summer games as “cursed.”