Comcast has yet to blow the lid off its smart TV platform strategy, but more evidence about the operator's plans recently surfaced in Canada. Documentation shows that Comcast filed for an "X Class TV" trademark in Canada on September 16.
Comcast declined to comment about the filing or its general plans for X Class TV-branded products. But the Canadian trademark filing was made soon after Protocol reported that Comcast was nearing the introduction of a family of smart TVs manufactured by China's Hisense that are powered by a version of Comcast's software platform used today for X1, its flagship, cloud-powered pay-TV service, and Xfinity Flex, a streaming/smart home service tailored for Comcast's broadband-only customers.
Comcast has not formally announced a lineup of X Class TV products. But a staging site for the brand previously indicated that the initial plan focused on two 4K-capable TV models – a 43-inch set and a 50-inch set – that will be paired with a dedicated voice remote and integrated with a wide range of apps from several popular subscription- and ad-based streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Tubi, Pluto and NBCUniversal's Peacock.
The trademark filing is another clear indicator that Comcast's smart TV strategy has global ambitions.
Word of Comcast's plans for X Class TV-branded products came to light roughly a year after Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts confirmed that the company was exploring a plan to deploy its video tech stack to smart TVs on a global basis.
"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?" he said then at the Goldman Sachs 29th Annual Communacopia Conference.
Comcast's Canadian connection
Canada makes sense as an early international market for Comcast to target with X Class TV. Three Canadian cable operators – Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Videotron – all market and sell video and broadband devices and software that stem from X1 syndication agreements with Comcast.
Comcast is thinking globally in other ways. Last month, the company introduced a global streaming device called the XiOne that takes advantage of a new, common tech stack. The initial plan is to make the XiOne available to Comcast's Xfinity and Sky operations in the US and Europe and to Comcast's X1 syndication partners, which also include Cox Communications.
All of this activity is percolating as Comcast appears to be positioning itself in a competitive and crowded streaming platform market that includes TV makers such as Samsung (Tizen), LG (webOS) and Vizio, as well as Roku, Google, Amazon and Apple.
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- Looking Back: Comcast's Breakthrough X1 Video Service Turns 10
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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading