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Best Buy starts selling Xumo-powered TVs from Hisense

A Xumo-powered smart television set made by Hisense. (Courtesy image)

Electronics retailer Best Buy has started selling a Hisense-made smart TV that is powered by the Xumo platform.

The Hisense 55-inch Class A6 Series Xumo TV set retails for around $320 and is now being sold online and at some Best Buy brick-and-mortar stores, with additional stores slated to offer the TV set in August.

The TV set is powered by Xumo, the streaming platform that is being developed through a joint venture owned by cable giants Comcast and Charter. Xumo offers access to popular premium streaming apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, Peacock, Paramount Plus, and Starz, along with free services like Xumo Play, Tubi, Pluto TV and YouTube.

The 55-inch Class A6 Series TV set comes with a number of features, including support for ultra-high definition (UHD/4K) video resolution on supported apps, as well as Dolby Vision and HDR10 for better color and contrast. A voice-powered remote control comes with the TV set, and will be familiar to anyone who has bought a streaming device or smart TV over the last few years.

The back of the TV set contains three HDMI ports for connecting other devices like a game console, laptop or cable set-top box, and even incorporates composite cable hookups for older gadgets like VCRs. An antenna hookup allows frugal TV viewers to pull in free broadcast TV stations (though the tuner doesn’t appear to support the new ATSC 3.0 digital broadcast standard, commonly known as NextGen TV), and a headphone jack is included for private listening — which is an unusual feature on a TV set of this size.

Customers who pick up a Hisense-built Xumo TV will also get a promotional code that is good for six months of free access to Peacock Premium. After six months, Peacock Premium costs $6 a month plus tax.

This isn’t the first time Hisense has built a TV set on behalf of a cable company: Last year, the company began shipping a few models of smart TVs that were powered by Comcast’s XClass platform. The Hisense XClass TVs debuted to relatively poor reviews, with tech enthusiasts walking away with the impression that Comcast still had more work to do if it wanted to make XClass a formidable player against streaming giants like Roku and Amazon Fire TV.

XClass TV sets were powered by the same underlying technology as Xumo TV, and while Comcast’s efforts with XClass may have flopped, the company has spent more time and energy working with Charter to build Xumo into something better (think of it as an improved version of XClass).

Xumo TV still has a few limitations: It doesn’t offer native support to some budget-friendly streaming services like Frndly TV and Philo (though it does support Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV), and some newer streaming video apps might be missing until developers can build for Xumo. This can be overcome by installing a Roku or Amazon Fire TV device as a backup, though it won’t be a good solution for streamers who hate switching inputs or prefer to access their apps from the built-in platform.

Xumo TVs also don’t allow streamers to download, remove or rearrange apps — which might actually be a benefit to streamers who don’t want to be bothered with app stores and installations, but simply want access to as many apps as possible from the get-go. But the lack of customization means Xumo TV users might have to sift through apps to get to the ones they want — and that can be a tedious endeavor.

Still, Xumo TV is a good option for people who are coming from one of Comcast or Charter’s set-top boxes — which offer a similar interface — and who want access to as many popular apps as possible, built into a TV set that has a number of great features at a pretty low price.

Check out the Hisense 55-inch Class A6 Series Xumo TV at Best Buy’s website by clicking or tapping here.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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