(Bloomberg) -- Comcast Corp. will begin selling a line of smart TVs this week, opening a new front in the battle with Roku Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. to become the dominant gatekeeper of the streaming era.

Comcast has teamed up with the Chinese manufacturer Hisense Home Appliances to launch what it calls XClass TV. The sets go on sale this week in select Walmart Inc. stores, the company said Tuesday.

Comcast already sells set-top boxes with its operating system, called X1, baked in. It licenses the technology to cable companies in the U.S. and Canada. But the smart TV marks the first time the cable provider will offer products directly to consumers outside of its own territories, which include Philadelphia, Houston and Chicago.

It also means Comcast will be competing in the TV market against tech giants like South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. and Vizio Holding Corp., which is backed by Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group.

Smart TVs have become popular because they make it easier to watch services like Netflix. Roku and Amazon sell streaming devices that connect to TV sets. Last month, Amazon introduced its first line of televisions. Roku’s software is embedded in some smart TVs.

Consumers won’t need to be Comcast customers to buy the TVs, and can still subscribe to other cable-TV services, including Spectrum from Charter Communications Inc.. Comcast, which owns the European pay-TV giant Sky, recently introduced a line of smart TVs in the U.K. called Sky Glass. 

The new TVs are priced at $298 for a 43-inch model and $348 for a 50-inch.

The move into smart TVs could benefit Comcast’s advertising business by giving the company greater visibility into people’s viewing habits. It could also provide a distribution boost to the company’s streaming service, Peacock. When customers buy an XClass TV, they get Peacock Premium, which costs $4.99 a month, free for a year. 

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