Comcast releases 4K UHD XClass Smart TVs

Mike Wheatley

Just a couple of weeks after Sky launched its first ever TVs, its parent company Comcast is following suit with its first ever models in the U.S. market.


The cable TV provider’s new 4K UHD XClass TVs are built by Hisense and feature the company’s smart TV platform that also powers the Sky Glass TVs. It provides streaming access to hundreds of live and on-demand channels, as well as various streaming apps and services, the company said.

Comcast’s own content will be available without a subscription – totally free – and as part of the deal, buyers will also get a 12-month subscription to the Peacock Premium service, which is a rival to Netflix.

The Comcast XClass TV is therefore the first in the U.S. to integrate streaming, on-demand, live broadcast and cable all in one place. So users will only need an Internet connection to get started. What’s more, because Wi-Fi is all that’s needed, Comcast says the TVs will provide a way to watch its content in areas that it currently doesn’t serve through its traditional cable services.

The TVs sport regular 4K LCD displays and will be available in a choice of 43-inch and 50-inch sizes starting this week in select Walmart stores, and later, through Walmart’s website. They’ll cost a very affordable $298 and $348, respectively, and support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

The XClass TVs are certainly very affordable, and the TVs are all the more attractive as they boast some useful features such as a voice remote powered by Comcast’s Emmy award-winning voice tech.

Comcast has promised to make more streaming apps available on the XClass TVs in future, including Xfinity and Charter, joining services available at launch such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu + Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling TV.

Cable companies such as Comcast and satellite providers like Sky have both been under pressure from the so-called “cord cutting” trend that has seen millions of consumers ditch traditional TV services in favor of streaming platforms. The move into hardware seems to be a direct response to that pressure, but it remains to be seen how the new platforms will sit with consumers.

On the one hand, the promise of being able to access so much content easily, from the same place, is likely to have mass appeal. But the TVs, which are an essential purchase to access these services, are far from being premium products and therefore unlikely to tempt those who value more realistic image and sound quality.

Likely, the new TVs' success will depend to a large extent on whether consumers are willing to stomach the regular subscription fees. Comcast has previously charged $20 a month for Xfinity Instant TV, but it’s not clear if XClass TV owners will get it for the same price or cheaper.