Comcast preps ‘XClass’ line of smart TVs for launch

A temporary XClass TV website provides a glimpse of Comcast's upcoming smart TV lineup. (Comcast)(XClass/Comcast)

Comcast appears closer than ever to launching its own line of smart TVs as new details emerge about the company’s upcoming “XClass” product lineup.

Protocol, which last year broke the news about Comcast’s smart TV plans, unearthed a temporary XClass website with lots of information about the cable giant’s smart TVs, which will extend its Xfinity X1/Flex platform beyond its pay TV footprint.

“XClass TV is a 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. And to find what you love faster, XClass TV comes with a voice remote that lets you control your TV and search across apps with just your voice,” the website’s FAQ section reads.

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According to the website, XClass TVs will (at least initially) come in 43- and 50-inch 4K UHD models manufactured by Hisense and will include voice remotes. The TVs will support apps from Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBO Max, Showtime, Paramount+, Disney+ and Peacock, which new customers will get 12 months of free Premium access to at launch. The company is also touting more than 10,000 free shows and movies from free apps like Xumo, Tubi and Pluto.

The XClass TV details are spilling not long after a report from the Wall Street Journal that said Comcast is working with Walmart and Hisense on smart TVs that will hit retail outlets later this year.

Since reports began surfacing about Comcast’s smart TV aspirations, the company has said outright that it intends to take X1 and Flex out to a larger addressable market. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts last year confirmed his company’s interest in the smart TV market.

“We’re early days but we’re looking at smart TVs on a global basis, and we’re wondering if we can bring our same tech stack and certain capabilities in aggregation to consumers who are relying more and more on smart TVs,” he said during an investor event.

Comcast has already syndicated the X1 platform for other cable operators in the U.S. and Canada and Roberts said his company sees a similar roadmap to that for smart TVs. But a smart TV OS strategy would place Comcast in direct competition with Amazon, Google and Roku, who battle over space in the third-party smart TV OS landscape. Major TV OEMs like Samsung, Vizio and LG have all developed their own smart TV platforms.