Comcast has made its entry into the smart-TV sector official, announcing the launch of XClass TV, a Hisense-built set designed for streaming and offering access to Peacock Premium.
The first XClass TVs from Hisense will be in select Walmart stores this week and in the coming weeks through Walmart.com, the company said, confirming months of press reports about the product launch. There will be 43-inch and 50-inch models, starting at $298. The move positions Comcast to control more of the access to streaming, posing a potential threat to major gatekeepers such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
As the No. 1 U.S. cable provider, Comcast has pushed voice technology and broadband video previously through its Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms. The XClass will be the first time the company’s user interface and voice tools will be available directly to consumers without an Xfinity subscription. It also enables the Philadelphia-based media company to transcend the geographic boundaries of the cable business, which is inherently regional due to decades of regulatory and business imperatives.
Streaming is a focal point of the new set, which will come with hundreds of built-in apps, including NBCUniversal’s Peacock. A one-year subscription to Peacock Premium will be included for anyone buying the XClass. In addition to subscription services, free apps like Pluto, Tubi, IMDB and Comcast’s own Xumo will also be integrated into the user interface. In the coming months, streaming pay-TV apps from Xfinity and Charter will launch, joining the multichannel streaming services already available on the platform including Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling TV.
The launch follows Comcast’s recent rollout of Sky Glass, a new streaming TV now available in the UK, and XiOne, a new global streaming box. The company says its tech platform delivers nearly 5 billion entertainment streams per week to customers across Comcast, Sky and its syndication partners, across more than 75 million devices.
“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, the company’s chief business development officer.