Xumo, the streaming-oriented joint venture operated by Comcast and Charter, has unveiled its new streaming-oriented set-top box for broadband customers of both companies.
The Xumo Stream Box is powered by Comcast’s Entertainment Operating System, the hardware platform formerly known as X1 that lives within Xfinity TV set-top boxes and a prior streaming device called Flex.
Customers of Charter’s Spectrum Internet will be the first to get their hands on Xumo Stream Box, which will also be offered to subscribers of Xfinity Internet at a later date.
Xumo Stream Box blends live television from Charter and Comcast’s streaming-oriented apps, Spectrum TV and Xfinity Stream, with on-demand services like Netflix, Peacock, Paramount Plus, Disney Plus, Max, Prime Video and others.
Spectrum and Xfinity customers will also have access to the free, ad-supported service Xumo Play, which serves up more than 300 linear streams of content and thousands of hours of movies and TV shows. Xumo Play will be baked right into the live programming guide on Xumo Stream Box, and other free content apps like Tubi and YouTube are also expected to be offered on the device.
The Xumo Stream Box is primarily geared toward helping Comcast and Charter’s Internet subscribers get easier access to the shows and movies they want — whether it’s titles that are already familiar to them on the streaming services they currently use, to discovering new shows and movies to watch that they may not even know about.
When streamers first turn on the Xumo Stream Box, they’ll be greeted with live video that automatically plays from the primary live TV service they use — whether that’s Spectrum TV, Xfinity Stream (which also includes Now TV) or Xumo Play. From there, users will be able to search across apps using the included voice-powered remote control.
“Watching TV was designed to be a relaxing, lean-back experience, but today’s fractured entertainment landscape has added a level of complexity that makes finding something to watch more burdensome for consumers,” Marcien Jenckes, the president of Xumo, said in a statement. “When we started Xumo, we set out with the ambition to take the decades of entertainment experience and technical innovation from Comcast and Charter and build a complete entertainment experience that breaks down the streaming silos and makes TV easy again.”
Charter said its Spectrum Internet customers will be able to lease one Xumo Stream Box for free as part of their service, though the company’s announcement said the lease was at “no cost for the first year,” suggesting the company will charge for the device after 12 months of service.
That is a departure from how Xumo partner Comcast has offered its Flex streaming TV box, which debuted several years ago and is offered for free to customers who elect to lease one box as part of their Xfinity Internet service.
Comcast said it will offer the Xumo Stream Box to its Xfinity Internet customers in the future, but its announcement didn’t say whether the box will be free or come at a cost. It also wasn’t clear if Comcast would allow existing customers with Flex boxes to swap their device for a Xumo Stream Box; a Comcast spokesperson has not yet returned an email from The Desk seeking additional information.
“Xumo is streaming simplified, bringing a live TV experience together with all the top apps,” Rich DiGeronimo, the president of product and technology at Charter, said on Wednesday. “With Xumo Stream Box, customers have endless entertainment options simplified, with aggregated search across apps and curated content offerings based on the customer’s interests and subscriptions, which will be even more powerful as direct-to-consumer apps are included with Spectrum service.”
The Xumo Stream Box is the second product announced through the Xumo joint venture since it formed last year. Earlier this year, Xumo said it would ship smart TV sets powered by its operating system, which replaced a line of XClass TV sets sold by Comcast at Walmart.