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Comcast starts charging everyone for Peacock, launches Xumo TVs

A stream becomes a river

Welcome to Lowpass, a newsletter about the future of entertainment and the next big hardware platforms, including smart TVs, ambient computing and AR / VR. This week: Comcast is getting ready to introduce new Xumo smart TVs while also betting growing the number of paid Peacock subscribers. Also: Osmo has a developer program now.

It’s the moment of truth for Comcast’s streaming efforts

The coming weeks will be a major test for Comcast’s ability to move beyond traditional pay TV, and embrace streaming as the future of television: Next week, the cable giant is going to push its Xfinity internet subscribers to pay for Peacock by ending complimentary access to the service’s premium tier.

And some time over the next few weeks, Comcast is going to unveil a new batch of smart TVs which it is jointly introducing with fellow cable company Charter. After first testing the waters with two XClass-branded smart TVs in 2021, Comcast has now signed up TV maker Element to launch four different 4K models, with screen sizes of 43, 50, 55, and 65 inches.

And while XClass TVs were only sold at Walmart, Comcast was able to secure some new retail partners for the relaunch of its smart TV efforts. One of them is rent-to-own retailer Aaron’s, whose website currently features a premature listing for the 65-inch model for a suggested retail cash price of $600. Comcast first announced a partnership with Element at CES, but details about the company’s TV line-up haven’t been previously reported. (A Comcast spokesperson declined to comment.)

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