Comcast is making a new play to get in living rooms with the launch of XClass TV, a Comcast-powered smart TV made in partnership with Hisense. The new 4K smart TVs are similar to the Sky Glass TVs launched earlier this month by the Comcast-owned Sky TV in Europe, bringing subscription TV and a wealth of streaming options into a single device.
Comcast is making a similar move in the United States with the new XClass TV, a smart TV that combines streaming, on demand, broadcast and cable options, even for people who aren't Xfinity customers or who live in areas without Comcast service.
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Building these capabilities into a 4K smart TV, Comcast is hoping to keep itself at the center of your home entertainment experience. By offering a full-featured smart TV with access to services like Peacock (which is owned by NBCUniversal, a Comcast company), the new smart sets will help maintain Comcast's foothold in your living room, even as streaming services become the dominant source of TV and movies in most homes. The TV even comes with 12 months of Peacock Premium included with the purchase price.
The XClass smart TV platform is Comcast's answer to other branded smart TV software, like LG's webOS, Amazon Fire TV or the recently re-branded Google TV. The position between a TV viewer and the content they watch is a lucrative one, letting platform owners deliver ads, promote specific services, products and content that these companies profit from, and gather detailed information about viewing on the level of a household or individual.
The new XClass platform also features universal search across all the different services hosted on the TV, and features voice search with a mic-enabled remote control.
Aside from promoting its own content and services, the idea here is that Comcast's XClass TVs can deliver a smart TV that offers all of the major apps and services you want – the press materials specifically mention major apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Hulu, Disney Plus, Peacock, Discovery Plus, Spotify and YouTube.
Dedicated streaming apps are in the works from both Xfinity and Charter, and will be launching on XClass TVs in the coming months. In a press release from Comcast, it highlights that these various streaming options will join the multichannel streaming services already available on smart TVs (including the new XClass models), which include cable replacement services like YouTube TV and Sling TV.
The TVs are manufactured by Hisense, delivering the same sort of 4K displays and features like HDR (with Dolby Vision, HDR10), and impressive sound with DTS Virtual: X and Dolby Atmos audio, bringing them in line with some of the best TVs on the market today.
While technically part of the Hisense A6GX model line, the new models will be branded as XClass TVs, featuring Comcast's new proprietary smart TV interface. The TV itself appears to be what we'd expect for an affordable smart TV, boasting 4K resolution, HDR support, Direct LED backlighting and 60Hz refresh rates. So they won't be delivering a premium TV experience, but will still compete with affordable sets from Vizio and other branded options like Amazon Fire TVs.
The first Hisense-made XClass TVs are available now, selling through Walmart.com and select Walmart stores. The 50-inch model (the Hisense 50A6GX) is available now for $348, with a 43-inch model coming soon, which will sell for $298. Tough selling at only a limited number of locations today, the new TVs will be available nationwide in short order, with a gradual rollout to the rest of the country in the coming weeks.
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Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.