Comcast is going direct-to-consumer — offering streaming TV services to consumers across the U.S., including outside its traditional service areas — with XClass TV, a new line of smart television sets built for streaming.
For the first time, Comcast’s streaming-entertainment platform will be available to consumers across the U.S., without an Xfinity subscription. The cable operator is looking to widen its addressable market as its base of Xfinity TV subscribers has steadily declined the last few years.
Comcast’s XClass TVs, serving in part as a vehicle to push signups to NBCU’s Peacock, will compete with other internet-connected smart TVs, including Roku TVs and Amazon’s new line of Fire TV Omni TVs.
The XClass TVs, built by Hisense and priced at starting at $298, will include 12 months of NBCUniversal’s Peacock Premium with ads (normally $4.99/month) for no extra cost. Live pay-TV services available on the platform at launch include Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV and Dish Network’s Sling TV. The sets also will provide access to streaming services including Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and YouTube, as well as free, ad-supported services including Comcast’s Xumo, ViacomCBS’s Pluto, Fox’s Tubi and Amazon’s IMDb TV.
In the next few months, Comcast said, it will launch pay-TV streaming services from Xfinity and Charter Communications on XClass TV. Those, however, will be available only to consumers located in Comcast and Charter cable service areas.
Comcast teamed with Hisense to bring the first XClass TVs to market in the U.S. The smart TV models include an integrated interface and voice remote to access live and on-demand streaming content from hundreds of apps and services. The first XClass TVs from Hisense are available starting this week in select Walmart stores and in the coming weeks through walmart.com.
“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, Comcast’s chief business development officer.
The XClass TVs are built on the same technology platform that powers Comcast’s other entertainment and connectivity products and services, including Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex, Sky Glass and Sky Q. The U.S. launch follows Comcast’s recent introductions of Sky Glass, a new streaming TV now available in the U.K., and XiOne, a new global streaming box.
Hisense XClass TVs are available in 43- and 50-inch 4K Ultra HD models (priced at $298 and $348, respectively). They include support for Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10 and can enable the pass-through of Dolby Atmos from compatible content sources when the TV is connected to a compatible audio device.
“As a rapidly growing brand in the U.S., Hisense is committed not only to quality products but also to providing an array of options for our customers,” David Gold, president of Hisense USA, said in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with Comcast to bring the first XClass TVs to market in the U.S.”