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Comcast Introduces XClass TV

PHILADELPHIA, Penn—In a move that could have major implications for the future of cable companies in a streaming landscape, Comcast has formally launched its XClass TV smart TV, making its entertainment and voice platform direct to consumers across the U.S., without an Xfinity subscription, both inside and outside of Comcast’s service areas.

The TVs are being manufactured by outside companies based on Comcast’s operating system for entertainment and voice services. 

The first XClass TVs from Hisense are available this week in select Walmart stores and in the coming weeks through Walmart.com.

The move is notable because it will expand Comcast’s footprint outside the areas of its traditional cable footprint and open-up opportunities for new revenue from advertising, subscription and other services.   

The smart TV launch will also create new areas of competition and cooperation between cable operators who have traditionally not competed directly for customers. 

Very notably, Comcast said that streaming apps from Xfinity and Charter will launch on XClass TV, joining the multichannel streaming services already available on the platform including Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling TV, giving consumers more options to stream live sports, shows and news directly on the TV.

It also puts Comcast in direct competition with other players, notably Roku, Google, LG, Samsung and others who offer their own operating systems and platforms for smart TVs. 

On a tech level, it also highlights the rapidly changing character of cable networks and operations, which have in recent years shifted towards streaming and broadband services. 

The launch follows Comcast’s recent introductions of Sky Glass, a new streaming TV now available in the UK, and XiOne, a new global streaming box, which are all built on Comcast’s global technology platform.  

Currently, Comcast’s platform delivers nearly five billion entertainment streams per week to customers across Comcast, Sky and its syndication partners and powers more than 75 million Comcast entertainment and connectivity devices, the company said. 

“We’re thrilled to bring our award-winning entertainment experience to smart TVs nationwide and for the first time offer consumers inside and outside our service areas a simple way to navigate their live and on demand content, whether streaming or cable,” said Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast. “Hisense XClass TVs are the next products in a growing portfolio built on our flexible and scalable technology platform, bringing the best innovative products - whether that’s a streaming box or a smart TV - to each territory and customer segment.”

XClass TV is built on the same global technology platform that powers the company’s entertainment and connectivity products and services, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, Sky Glass and Sky Q. The platform’s technology integrates streaming, on demand, broadcast, and cable options in one place under unified voice search, discovery, apps and interactive features. It offers customers intuitive navigation across thousands of apps, movies, shows and sports with a simple voice command or remote click, Comcast said. 

The XClass TVs offer hundreds of streaming apps and services, including Peacock, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and more.

Peacock Premium included for one year at no additional cost (a $50 value). Consumers will have access to current season hits from NBC and Telemundo, a library of exclusive favorites like "The Office," "Parks and Recreation" and "Yellowstone," hit Peacock originals like "Dr. Death" and "Saved by the Bell," and live sports including Sunday Night Football, English Premier League soccer and the Winter Olympics.

For more information on the XClass TV operating system, visit www.xclasstv.com.