Xumo, Comcast and Charters Streaming Venture, Launches Boxes on Spectrum With Xfinity Internet to Follow
Can Xumo help cable companies grab a new foothold in the streaming space?
Xumo — the joint venture of Comcast and Charter Communications, the two biggest cable operators in the U.S. — is launching its first streaming set-top boxes for new video customers of Charter’s Spectrum this week. The partners say they plan to bring it to Comcast’s Xfinity Internet customers “soon.”
The JV, which the companies formed in 2022, was established to build out “an entire entertainment ecosystem” that includes streaming devices, content and a platform for media and advertising partners.
New Spectrum video customers will get one free Xumo Stream Box per Spectrum household for 12 months. After that, they can either pay $60 for an outright purchase of the device, or lease it for $5/month. Existing Spectrum TV subscribers can also buy or lease a Xumo box for the same terms.
While Charter is positioning the Xumo box as a cord-cutter deterrent — as a value-add to its cable TV offering — Comcast is looking to use it as a way to enhance the value of its consumer broadband service. Comcast will offer the device at no additional monthly cost to Xfinity Internet customers as part of their service. The Xumo Stream Box will replace Comcast’s Flex streaming device; customers also will be able to sign up for (and watch) the operator’s $20/month Now TV package via the Xumo box.
The Xumo Stream Box is powered by Comcast’s Entertainment Operating System. On startup, customers will see live video playing from the device’s primary video service app such as Spectrum TV, Xfinity Stream or Xumo Play. The interface includes a built-in channel guide designed to make browsing through subscribed channels simple.
Xumo’s devices feature several hundred streaming apps and services, including Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+, Max, Hulu, Peacock, Amazon’s Prime Video and YouTube. They also provide access to thousands of free movies and TV shows from ad-supported services like Comcast’s Xumo Play, Paramount’s Pluto TV and Fox Corp.’s Tubi. The Xumo devices feature voice-enabled remotes and include a “My List” feature to let multiple members of a household create a personalized playlist from across multiple apps and services. The viewing experience blends “AI-driven personalization and human-led editorial recommendations,” according to Xumo.
“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,” Xumo president Marcien Jenckes, the Comcast Cable veteran who previously served as president of advertising for the company since 2017, said in a statement. Xumo, he added, “breaks down the streaming silos and makes TV easy again.”
Separately, the JV has inked deals for Xumo-branded TVs from Pioneer (to go on sale at Best Buy in November) as well as Element Electronics and Hisense.
Under the terms of the joint-venture agreement, Charter is making an initial contribution of $900 million over multiple years to Xumo, which is separate from each operator’s cable businesses. Xumo (pronounced ”ZOOM-oh”) was the name of the free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service that Comcast acquired in 2020 in a deal reportedly worth more than $100 million. The FAST service has been rebranded Xumo Play.
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