The promise of real life, viable 4K UHD content that has long eluded early adopters is finally making some real strides — if you’re card-carrying Samsung 4K UHD TV owner, that is. Fresh on the heels of DirecTV’s initial launch of its Samsung-specific 4K UHD app last month, Comcast’s long awaited service arrived as an early Christmas present, launching today on all 2014 Samsung 4K UHD TVs.
Called simply Xfinity in UHD, Comcast’s new app debuts with a modest selection of 4K UHD video on demand (VOD) content plucked from under the megacorp’s own coffers, including current season episodes of NBC’s Chicago Fire, and USA Network’s Suits and Covert Affairs. Beginning in February, Comcast will also offer the new season of NBC’s Parks and Recreation in 4K UHD.
All of the shows slated for Comcast’s 4K UHD debut are owned by Comcast subsidiary NBC Universal, which the colossal MSO (multi-system operator) acquired in a controversial deal in 2011. Considering the wealth of programming at Comcast’s disposal thanks to its merger with the broadcast corporation, it shouldn’t take long for the cable giant to gain the upper hand over competitors when it comes to the new burgeoning frontier of 4K UHD TV programming. Apart from NBC itself, content at Comcast’s disposal includes NBCU-owned sports, news, and cable programming from networks like the Golf Channel, NBC Sports, CNBC, MSNBC, as well as channels like SyFy, Bravo, and even The Weather Channel.
“Our top priority is providing our customers with the best entertainment experiences,” said Senior VP of Video Services for Comcast Cable Matt Strauss. “Next year, we will not only debut the full Xfinity in UHD catalog across our Xfinity TV Go platforms for all customers to enjoy, but we will begin distributing a new X1 set-top box that will deliver 4K content.”
Speaking with MultiChannel News ahead of DirecTV’s own 4K UHD launch last month, the satellite provider’s President and CEO Mike White promised a selection of live 4K UHD programming to come. Though White wouldn’t be specific about how robust the programming would be early on, or when exactly it would arrive, the company did just launch its first 4K broadcast satellite into orbit last week. It is likely that Comcast’s forthcoming 4K UHD-enabled X1 set-top box will be designed to offer live 4K UHD programming as well in an effort to keep up with its non-terrestrial competitor.
Today’s news also marks another win for Samsung in its own quest for 4K UHD domination. Other 4K UHD services currently exclusive to the Korean tech giant include select VOD (video on demand) programming from the aforementioned DirecTV 4K UHD app, a budding new collection of 4K UHD movies from Samsung’s exclusive partnership with the VOD service M-Go, as well as shared access to 4K UHD content from Netflix and Amazon Instant Video with competitors like LG, and Sony.
After two years of promises, and a whole lot of collaborative work in the background between studios, content providers, broadcasters, and service providers across the industry, it would appear that the 4K UHD dam is finally springing leaks at an increasingly expansive rate. And for those who already own, or are considering purchasing a new 4K UHD TV, it can’t come fast enough.
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