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Comcast wants to go global on smart TVs, CEO says

Bringing company's tech stack to smart TVs fits into a broader plan to build a global IP video platform that relies on a common tech stack and standardized hardware, Brian Roberts says.

Jeff Baumgartner

September 15, 2020

3 Min Read
Comcast wants to go global on smart TVs, CEO says

Confirming an earlier report, Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said the company is exploring a plan to deploy its video tech stack to smart TVs across the globe.

"We're early days, but we're looking at smart TVs on a global basis, and we're wondering – can we bring our same tech stack for certain capabilities in [content] aggregation to consumers who are relying more and more on smart TVs?" Roberts said Tuesday at the Goldman Sachs 29th Annual Communacopia Conference.

Comcast, he pointed out, has already syndicated its X1 platform to multiple US and Canadian cable operators. "We see a similar roadmap possibly for that" with smart TVs, Roberts said.

Figure 1: NBCU's Peacock is the second most popular app on Comcast's Flex platform, just behind Netflix, and the third most popular app on X1 boxes, behind Netflix and YouTube, Roberts said. NBCU's Peacock is the second most popular app on Comcast's Flex platform, just behind Netflix, and the third most popular app on X1 boxes, behind Netflix and YouTube, Roberts said.

Roberts didn't identify which TV makers Comcast has approached with the idea, but the confirmation about the strategy comes about three weeks after Protocol reported that Comcast was looking into the possibility of extending its X1 platform to connected TVs. Such a move would help Comcast generate more scale for its technologies and platforms, but would also put it in more direct competition with streaming giants such as Roku, Amazon (Fire TV) and Google (Android TV and Chromecast).

The smart TV plan is part of a broader initiative. Comcast, Roberts explained, is developing a global IP video platform based on a common tech stack, standardized hardware and content aggregation platform that ties in Comcast, UK-based Sky and NBCUniversal.

Here are some other nuggets from Roberts' chat at Communacopia:

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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