Comcast and Charter Communications are working together to create a new streaming option, the cable giants said Wednesday. They’ll develop a stable of products that they describe as “a next-generation streaming platform on a variety of branded 4K streaming devices and smart TVs,” folding in “all the top apps,” for customers who’ve grown accustomed to streaming as central to TV watching.
Charter is making an initial $900 million investment, while Comcast is licensing its Flex platform, spearheading retail efforts for XClass TVs and bringing in Xumo, a streaming service it bought in 2020. Currently, the Flex streaming TV box is available to Xfinity customers. The voice-controlled, 4K device enables people to watch a variety of films and shows or stream apps such as Disney Plus and the Comcast-owned Peacock.
Charter will roll out 4K streaming devices and voice remotes in 2023. The XClass smart TVs will be available through retailers nationwide, with the potential for Comcast and Charter to sell them directly to consumers. There are no plans to change Xumo, the free, ad-supported streaming service, and its global operations. Users will be able to watch its 200 livestreaming channels and its library of movies and shows. The current Comcast Flex service will remain available.
Last year, it was rumored that Comcast would use its Flex box to gain entry into the retail market for streaming players dominated by Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV devices.
The team-up will provide a streaming experience that gives customers “access their favorite apps, based on Comcast’s Flex product.” This joint venture doesn’t involve the broadband or cable video businesses of either Comcast or Charter, which will remain independent, the companies noted. CNET