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In another 4K exclusive, Samsung TVs get Comcast app

Comcast's Xfinity in UHD app is available starting today exclusively on Samsung 4K TVs, allowing streams of a few NBC and USA shows. The company will debut a 4K-capable set-top box in 2015.

David Katzmaier

Fans of "Suits," "Chicago Fire" and "Covert Affairs" who happen to subscribe to Comcast and own a 2014 Samsung 4K TV: today is your lucky day. All three of you.

As promised before the end of the year, the nation's largest cable provider has made a new "Xfinity in UHD" app available via Samsung's Smart Hub, allowing 4K resolution streams directly to the TV.

At launch only episodes from those three shows are available, which might explain why the app's title currently reads "Ultra HD Sampler" on Samsung's app store (above). Comcast says it will add "Parks and Recreation" in February. All four shows are properties of NBC Universal, a Comcast subsidiary.

The app's library will add on-demand programming across multiple networks and studios in the future. The library is "is completely free to Xfinity TV customers whose video subscription includes participating networks," according to the press release.

Therein Matt Strauss, SVP and General Manager of Video Services for Comcast Cable, gave a glimpse of more plans. "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."

The app is exclusive to 2014 Samsung TVs for now according to Comcast, although it's possible 2013 Samsung 4K TVs with HEVC upgrades, like the F9000 equipped with a SEK-2500V UHD Evolution Kit, may also work.

Other brands of 4K TV won't receive the app. CNET contacted Comcast to find out when that period of exclusivity will end, but a company rep declined to provide that information.

The trend of exclusive 4K content isn't, er, exclusive to Comcast. DirecTV's nascent 4K service only works with Samsung TVs, and VOD provider M-Go's 4K download service is also exclusive to Samsung--incorporating the Korean TV maker's "UHD content packs," which don't work with other brands of TV.

On the other hand, Sony made its FMP-X10 4K Media Player non-proprietary earlier this year, so it will work with other brands of TV, including Samsung. Other non-exclusive sources of 4K video include Netflix and Amazon.