Comcast and Walmart considering a smart TV partnership

Walmart’s house electronics brand, Onn, isn’t going to give Samsung or LG a run for their money, but considering the budget pricing Walmart offers its customers, Onn products can be surprisingly decent. NBCUniversal’s Comcast is hoping to gain access to this value-conscious crowd by partnering with the retail giant on a new line of smart TVs that would incorporate Comcast’s X1 video platform, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The move would give Comcast access to the smart TV market with a solution that’s similar to its own Flex set-top box, except it would have the promotional weight of Walmart behind it. Walmart is no stranger to these types of deals, as it already promotes Onn TVs that run on Roku’s popular software.

Comcast may be looking to hold on to cord-cutting customers with set-top boxes and smart TVs much in the same way that other broadband providers have partnered with TiVo for its streaming solution recently. That said, the company is entering a very crowded space with the likes of Roku, Amazon, Google, and Apple vying for attention. Roku is consistently the No.1 streaming device manufacturer, according to Interpret’s New Media Measure®.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted at his company’s smart TV and streaming ambitions in a recent earnings report. “We’re early days but we’re looking at smart TVs on a global basis, and we’re wondering if we can bring our same tech stack and certain capabilities in aggregation to consumers who are relying more and more on smart TVs,” he said, as noted by FierceVideo.

If Comcast can make inroads with the smart TV market, it would also give its parent company another avenue to explore with ad-supported streaming service Peacock. Walmart’s foot traffic is nothing to sneeze at (especially in a pandemic) and nearly a quarter of Walmart’s customers in the US are already subscribing to a Comcast service, according to Interpret data.