Comcast and Charter have settled on a name for the streaming hardware ecosystem it hopes will give Roku a run for its money: Xumo. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this is the name of the free ad-supported streaming TV service Comcast acquired in 2020, which will now go by Xumo Play. Maybe it’s just me, but it feels like Comcast thinks Xumo is a super rad name and wants to use it again just to make sure everyone has heard how rad it sounds.
Much like the streaming setups offered by Apple, Roku, Google, and Amazon, the Xumo platform will live inside Comcast’s hardware and should let viewers access a network of apps, including the Comcast-owned Peacock and Xumo Play. It’ll also feature other “popular apps,” which will presumably include all of the other apps currently available on Flex, such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, and others.
As part of its launch, Comcast’s renaming its Flex 4K set-top box to Xumo Stream Box and will call its line of XClass TVs, Xumo TVs. These rebranded devices will become available through Comcast, Charter, Walmart, and “additional distributors” in late 2023. Charter’s chipping in $900 million over the course of several years as part of the deal, which was first announced in April.
Xumo will have some tough competition. Roku announced that one in three TVs sold in the US and Canada was a Roku TV last year, and these devices are only getting better. Amazon also recently released its upgraded Fire TV Cube and introduced a new lineup of 4K Fire TVs with better picture quality, and Google launched its upgraded Chromecast with Google TV HD last month. We can’t count Apple out, either: my colleague Chris Welch calls the company’s next-gen Apple TV 4K the “best overall streamer on the market.” Xumo will have a lot of work to do to compete, especially when most people will need a pronunciation guide to even know how to say it (zoo-moh).
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.