Comcast, Verizon make some on-demand viewing free

Epix and Showtime are part of the packages.

Comcast and Verizon (Engadget's parent company) have been scrambling to help people stay online during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now they're giving customer more to do with that access. On Comcast, subscribers with Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex now have preview access to on-demand videos from several premium TV networks and streaming services for at least 30 days. Epix and Showtime are the highlights if you're looking for pure entertainment, but there's also CuriosityStream (for 60 days), History Vault, Kids Room, The Great Courses Signature Collection and The Reading Corner to keep your family educated, while DOGTV and Grokker respectively provide pet programming and exercise.

If you want to hunt the videos down on Comcast, you only have to say "free" into your voice remote. More material from "dozens" of networks and other partners will be available on a "rolling basis" over the weeks ahead, Comcast said.

Verizon, meanwhile, is offering a mix of similar on-demand viewing as well as educational tools for wireless and Fios customers. Epix, Showtime and Gaiam's fitness channel will be available for free for 30 days starting on April 1st. Students get access to educational resources like Bookful, Chegg, Epic! and Quizlet.

This should help subscribers stay informed and entertained while they're isolating themselves during the coronavirus outbreak. With that said, Comcast and Verizon also have a vested interest in handing out freebies. Financial uncertainty, however temporary, could lead some subscribers to cancel service or avoid upgrades to premium packages -- the offers might convince them to stay subscribed or expand their selection while they're stuck at home.

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