Xumo, the Comcast-Charter Communications streaming joint venture, has kicked off its national rollout by making its new “Stream Box” available to Charter customers. Xumo said it plans to extend access to the device to Comcast broadband customers “soon.”
The Stream Box launch across Charter’s footprint (56.2 million homes passed at the end of Q2 2023) arrives about two months after Charter CEO Chris Winfrey announced that Xumo would be Charter’s “go-to” platform for new video sales.
Xumo said new Charter/Spectrum video customers are in line to receive one Xumo Stream Box at no cost for the first year, with additional units available for purchase or for a monthly service fee. Charter customers can purchase the Xumo Stream Box outright for $60 or pay $5 per month over 12 months, a Charter official said.
Those Charter customers will be able to access Charter’s pay-TV service on the Xumo Stream Box via the integrated Spectrum TV App, which has also been integrated with other streaming platforms and devices including Roku players and TVs, iOS and Android mobile devices, Apple TV boxes, Samsung smart TVs and select Xbox models starting with the Xbox One.
‘Spectrum One Stream’ bundle surfaces
Charter has begun to promote the addition of the Xumo Stream Box online with a new promotional package called “Spectrum One Stream.” The bundle includes Charter’s home broadband service (300 Mbit/s downstream) for $49.99 per month for 12 months along with Charter’s Advanced Wi-Fi offering, one unlimited line of Spectrum Mobile (free for a year) and a Xumo Stream Box (also free for 12 months). Charter’s new bundle is a new variant of Spectrum One, a convergence promotion launched last year that combines Charter’s home broadband and mobile service.
Comcast, meanwhile, will distribute the Xumo Stream Box to new broadband customers for no added cost, mirroring the model it has been using for its “Flex” streaming media player. Those Comcast broadband customers will also have the option to subscribe to and access Comcast’s pay-TV service through the integrated Xfinity Stream app. Comcast did not say how it might make the Xumo Stream Box available to its pay-TV customers.
Powered by Comcast’s Entertainment Operating System and the Reference Design Kit (RDK) open source stack, the Xumo Stream Box combines live and on-demand TV. It features a voice remote and human- and AI-curated recommendations, and supports “hundreds” of integrated subscription and free, ad-supported apps, including Apple TV+, Disney+, Hulu, Max, Netflix, Peacock, Pluto, Amazon Prime Video, Tubi and Xumo Play.
Xumo did not reveal its manufacturing partners for the new device. However, Sercomm showed off a Xumo-branded streaming media player in January at the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Leading with live TV
The Xumo Stream Box will lead with live TV – upon startup, the device will show live video playing from Charter’s Spectrum TV app, Comcast’s Xfinity Stream app or Xumo Play, the joint venture’s free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) service.
The Xumo Stream Box operates on the same core software as Xumo TVs from Hisense and Element Electronics. Pioneer-branded Xumo TVs manufactured by TCL are slated to be sold exclusively by Best Buy starting in November.
With today’s launch, Xumo will be looking to expand and scale up its platform in a market of competitors that includes Roku, Amazon (Fire TV), Google (Android TV/Google TV), Apple (tvOS) and Samsung (Tizen). TiVo will soon join that group. Following an initial launch in Europe with partner Vestel, TiVo has plans to launch a lineup of smart TVs running the TiVo OS in North America sometime in 2024.
Charter and Comcast are starting to roll out the Xumo Stream Box as they look to slow video subscription losses with a platform that combines access to traditional pay-TV packages and a wide array of direct-to-consumer streaming services. They’re also positioning Xumo as a platform that can aggregate and present content from multiple sources in a way that consumers can easily navigate.
“Xumo is streaming simplified, bringing a live TV experience together with all the top apps,” Rich DiGeronimo, president, product and technology at Charter, 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,” Xumo President Marcien Jenckes said.