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Here come Ultra HD 4K TV channels for UHD TV owners, courtesy of Comcast

by on May 7, 2015
 

Stephan Jukic – May 7, 2015

Comcast has been playing around with 4K content since last year at least but now the telecommunications giant will finally make a firm venture into the land of 4K ultra HD TV later in 2015.

According to the company, the first X1 set-top box cable, called the Xi4, will be ready for installation to viewers’ homes later in the year. The Xi4 will offer streaming “4K linear channels” according to Comcast and will be available to a wide range of name brand 4K TVs. Currently, the highly limited and experimental Comcast 4K content selection is only available to subscribers who happen to also own a newer model Samsung 4K TV. Samsung TVs are also the only ones with a Comcast UHD app built into them for easy access to limited UHD content.

Furthermore, Comcast has an even better 4K UHD set-top box on the drawing board for next year.

Comcast’s move into offering a full service streaming TV programming package in 4K is going to be a major boon to fans of 4K media and owners of UHD TVs.

Up till now, the major sources of studio-grade 4K content have been online streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant video and Ultraflix. However, while all of these do provide fairly extensive and interesting libraries of content, they are still limited in comparison to what Full HD streaming for TVs offers.

With Comcasts TV 4K UHD venture, the gates of more widespread ultra HD TV channel streaming via cable or set-top box becomes a concrete reality and something that could dramatically boost both competitive interest in creating more 4K content offers and in production of movies and shows in ultra HD on the part of studios.

So far, the only 4K content service that has come close to being truly major is that offered by Sony via its $700 dollar 4K media player set-top box. Users who buy this gain access to hundreds of hours of movies and shows for rental or purchase. Sony’s box also offers the benefit of not being tied solely to Sony 4K TVs.

The new box being delivered by Comcast later in 2015 will supposedly let viewers who own any brand of 4K TV to create their own unlimited digital 4K linear channels by assembling personalized playlists from the Xfinity UHD 4K library. While this library of content is currently small, we can assume that it’s going to expand dramatically as the new Xi4 set-top box reches the public.

Comcast's current Xfinity subscription library of 4K content is limited in scope and only available to subscribers who own Samsung UHD TVs

Comcast’s current Xfinity subscription library of 4K content is limited in scope and only available to subscribers who own Samsung UHD TVs

Comcast is particularly touting content from broadcasters which are owned by the company itself. These include NBC/Universal channels such as the USA Network. And some of the programming that is being promoted includes shows like “Playing House”, “Satisfaction”, “Suits”, or Syfy channel’s “Defiance”.

Furthermore, a number of documentaries from IMAX and STARZ are being promised for the Xfinity UHD content library.

Finally, Comcast also offers the still unconfirmed prospect of the latest movies from Warner Brothers and Disney, both of which are now filming a lot of their movies in ultra HD.

The second generation set-top box, the Xi5, will be coming sometime in 2016 and this is the media box that Comcast claims will also offer decoding for the HDR enhanced UHD content that will be a pillar of the next generation of 4K media.

Story by 4k.com

4 comments
 
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  • Troy
    February 16, 2016 at 10:16 am

    When will I be able to watch 4k live sports Comcast Reading PA area

    Reply

  • Troy
    February 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

    When is the 5ik HDR 4k box coming out in Reading Pennsylvania Comcast

    Reply

    • Stephen
      Stephen
      February 17, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Hello Troy. That is a very good question. Since may of 2015 we’ve been hearing about a Comcast 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) set-top box with content in 4K coming for the Autumn of that year but so far we’ve seen nothing except the still limited Ultra High Definition (HD) Sampler app for the Xfinity service that’s exclusively available to Samsung 4K smart TVs. First Comcast promised an Xi4 set-top box with 4K capability for release in late 2015 but nothing has yet arrived as far as we know, and then they also made some noise about an Xi6 HDR-capable 4K box for late 2016 but with even the Xi4 not available yet, they seem to be getting ahead of themselves.

      Also, the most we have so far from Comcast is a January Tweet on their twitter account in which they claim that the Xi4 is still in “employee trials”.

      Given all of this, I’m tentatively thinking that we may actually see at least one of these two boxes emerge in your area and the wider U.S market by mid to late 2016, given the current growing competition in the 4K set-top box landscape.

      We’ll be keeping an eye open for this and release any information we find as soon as it becomes available to us.

      Reply

  • WW
    November 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    …IF COMCAST is doing full 4K conversions of old 2K material (like MGM’s Forbidden Planet?)..or
    can convert material that “should already be in 4K in the original production format” (like SyFy channel’s
    StarGate Universe?)..and since that like 2001; A Space Odyssey is Original MGM content…can MGM
    channel show SyFy’s stuff in 4K..and on ATT Universe’s (or any cable systems) MGM channel?
    Should I email MGM or is there a “policy coming down on 4K” right before DIRECTV starts its 2017
    run with 4K on ATT Universe? Might affect a purchase decision here. WW

    Reply

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