Comcast Bows ‘XClass TV’ Operating System

Comcast Oct. 19 announced the launch of XClass TV, the cable giant’s proprietary operating system affording third-party television manufacturers direct access to NBCUniversal and third-party content.

For the first time, Comcast is making its entertainment and voice platform available direct to consumers across the U.S., without an Xfinity subscription, both inside and outside of Comcast’s service areas.

Comcast is partnering with China’s Hisense to offer consumers an innovative smart-TV with an integrated interface and voice remote to access live and on-demand streaming content from myriad apps and services. The first run of Hisense XClass TVs are available this week in select Walmart stores and in the coming weeks through Walmart.com.

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The operating system is the same technology Comcast employs for its proprietary Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, Sky Glass and Sky Q platforms catering to 75 million Comcast entertainment and connectivity devices. The OS 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.

“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,” Sam Schwartz, chief business development officer at Comcast, said in a statement.

Hisense XClass TVs are available in 43-inch and 50-inch 4K Ultra HD models. The televisions include a voice remote powered by Comcast’s Emmy-award winning voice technology. Alongside the simple and intuitive user experience, Hisense XClass TVs support leading technologies including Dolby Vision HDR, which delivers a more vivid, lifelike image. Hisense XClass TVs also support HDR10 and can enable the pass-through of Dolby Atmos from compatible content sources when the TV is connected to a compatible audio device.

Comcast to Launch Branded ‘XClass TV’ Models Made by China’s Hisense

Comcast is getting into the television business. The media giant has quietly began laying the groundwork for the rollout of a line of broadband branded high-definition televisions manufactured by China’s Hisense.

Dubbed “XClass TV,” the initial units come in 43-inch and 50-inch screen sizes powered by the cable giant’s X1 operating system with ultra high-definition (UHD) picture resolution — relatively small in today’s mega-screen market — according to the device’s landing page.

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“XClass TV smart TV that brings all your favorite apps, live channels, and On Demand movies and shows together in one place. XClass TV works gives you thousands of free movies, shows, music and more,” reads the the page.

While there has been no official announcement, Comcast is following in the footsteps of Roku, which was the first U.S. streaming media company to partner with Chinese manufacturers launching branded televisions. Amazon just announced the launch of its own line of branded self-manufactured TVs.

Previous media reports say Comcast would market the XClass TVs through Walmart. Regardless, the move is noteworthy considering the TVs would be marketed to consumers outside Comcast’s pay-TV.

“We’re looking at smart TVs on a global basis, and we’re wondering: Can we bring our tech stack, or certain capabilities in aggregation, to consumers who are relying more and more on smart TVs?,” Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts told an investor group in 2020.

Indeed, in addition to a free year subscription to Peacock, the televisions come equipped with myriad third-party apps (Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Showtime and Paramount+) preloaded, plus free movies through NBCUniversal-owned Vudu, and ad-free FAST platforms Xumo, Pluto TV and Tubi.

The TVs will also have access to music, playlists, and podcasts from Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, in addition to live broadcasts from iHeart Radio.

The XClass TV will include access to Premier League soccer from the U.K. on Peacock and Spain’s La Liga, and the PGA Tour on Xumo. Plus, access to highlight reels and must-watch moments on YouTube.