Comcast 4K Box Cleared for Takeoff

Comcast may be close to deploying its first 4K Ultra HD set-top, an FCC document obtained by The Donohue Report indicates.

The Comcast Xfinity Xi4v1-C set-top passed emission tests recently at the FCC, according to a report that appeared in the FCC Office Of Engineering and Technology database on Aug. 12. Cisco, one of Comcast’s top set-top suppliers, contracted original equipment manufacturer Pegatron to build the set-top.

Comcast began distributing 4K programming in December 2014 through a smart TV app called Xfinity in UHD, which is available initially on IP-connected Ultra HDTVs from Samsung.

In May, Comcast announced that it would deploy a 4K UHD box called Xi4 later this year. Comcast has said that it plans to deploy the Xi5, its first set-top that supports high dynamic range (HDR) programming, in 2016.

While Comcast’s 4K launch was limited to Samsung TVs, The Xi4 will allow Comcast to distribute 4K programming directly to Ultra HDTVs from any manufacturer. That could help it compete with providers such as AT&T, which currently only allows DirecTV homes that have a Genie HD DVR and a 4K TV that supports the RVU protocol to view UHD content.

AT&T is expected to deploy a new version of the DirecTV Genie DVR which will support 4K programming later this year. Its HR54-700 set-top, manufactured by Pace Americas, recently passed emission tests at the FCC.