Charter releases Spectrum app for XClass-powered TV sets

A smart television powered by Comcast’s XClass technology. (Image courtesy Comcast, Graphic by The Desk)

Spectrum TV customers can now access their live channels and on-demand programming through Comcast’s line of smart television sets.

On Monday, Spectrum’s parent company Charter Communications announced the Spectrum TV app is available for XClass-powered TV sets, which uses a variant of Comcast’s smart TV platform X1.

“We are focused on providing more choice to our customers by constantly enhancing the Spectrum TV App and expanding its reach,” Jodi Robinson, Charter’s executive in charge of digital platforms, said in a statement. “Providing the app on XClass TV shows our commitment to delivering service wherever and whenever our customers want.”

Early last year, Comcast and Charter announced a joint venture in which both companies would support each other’s streaming TV missions. The deal is intended to help the cable giants better compete against smart TV platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire and Android TV (Apple TV).

The Spectrum TV app allows viewers to access the channels and programming they pay for as part of a traditional Spectrum package or when purchased as a streaming-only service. It is available only in areas where Spectrum’s video and Internet products are for sale.

Comcast currently partners with TV manufacturer Hisense for its XClass TV sets, which are sold at Walmart stores across the country and through the Walmart website. A 43-inch model costs around $230, while the 50-inch model costs less than $250.

It is not clear how many people have purchased a smart TV set powered by XClass, though the Walmart website has at least 1,000 reviews for the 50-inch model and around 900 reviews for the 43-inch version. Some commenters said they weren’t interested in the XClass platform because they already used another device like an Amazon Fire TV stick, and instead were drawn to the good build quality of the Hisense sets coupled with its low price point.

One reason why Comcast may be lagging behind competitors like Roku and Amazon is the lack of streaming services and other apps offered through XClass: While the platform supports the cornerstones of the streaming space — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney Plus and Paramount Plus are represented across models — some smaller services like Philo, Freevee and Vidgo are not available.

As of September, Comcast and Walmart have not released any sales information regarding the XClass TV sets, even though the deviecs have been available at Walmart stores for about a year.