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Comcast will release a 4K cable box this year

Comcast will release a 4K cable box this year

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Comcast already streams 4K content to Samsung's most recent TVs with its Xfinity in UHD app, but soon the cable company will produce its own 4K set-top box. Today Comcast announced that this device, the Xi4, will ship later this year. Aside from being the Comcast's first 4K box, the Xi4 is also the latest revision of its X1 platform. A model that adds support for high dynamic range (HDR) content will follow sometime in 2016.

But what will you be watching on it? Comcast says customers will be able to create "unlimited virtual 4K linear channels by creating personalized playlists from the Xfinity in UHD library." You'll be able to pick from some films originally made for IMAX theaters (The Ultimate Wave Tahiti, Antarctica, Rocky Mountain Express, Fighter Pilot and Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia) and also current shows from USA (Suits), Syfy, and Starz.

These movies and shows don't cost anything extra on top of your regular cable package — and really, Comcast probably couldn't charge much for this stuff anyway. If you want more recent films or Netflix, you'll obviously need to look elsewhere. But now, Comcast customers will at least have something to help showcase their just-bought 4K TV. So far, cable and satellite providers have largely left the task of providing 4K content to TV manufacturers and companies like Netflix and Amazon, but now things are picking up. Back at CES, satellite provider Dish announced a 4K Joey set-top box that ties in with the company's Hopper system.