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ByDanika Miller Internet & Entertainment Writer

Danika is currently covering the internet and entertainment beat. Her previous work lives in random corners of the internet and fiction anthologies hidden in university libraries.

Comcast Xfinity Review

Comcast Xfinity offers a wide array of TV service options and even larger selection for bundling. Like most cable providers, Comcast gives you the ability to pair your TV service with internet, phone, and home security. The more services you pair, the cheaper each one gets. Your price may depend on which contract length you choose, too. Unlike most providers, Comcast offers a month-to-month option. While that option is great for more short-term situations, it’s more cost-effective to sign a longer 12-month or 24-month agreement.

Xfinity shines when it comes to flexibility and bundling options, but it's a little lacking when it comes to customer service: Third-party customer satisfaction companies like the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and J.D. Power consistently rate Comcast among the worst internet providers. Of course, everyone's unique circumstances will be different, but be prepared for some frustrating calls and keep a close eye on your bill. When shopping around for TV service, check Xfinity for availability at your address and compare its offers with plans from other companies in the area.

The Competition

  Comcast Xfinity DIRECTV DISH
Best for Bundle deals Sports package Hi-tech DVR
States serviced 40 50 50
ACSI Rating 57/100 66/100 67/100
Contract length Monthly, 12, or 24 months 24 months 24 months
No-contract option
Free receiver/DVR
Free installation
App Store Rating 3.5/5 3.7/5 4.0/5
Google Play Store Rating 2.7/5 4.7/5 4.4/5

Xfinity's Claim

Comcast confidently claims you’ll “get the best in entertainment with Xfinity.” And that by signing up for TV service with the company will “change the way you experience TV.” Those are some pretty bold (if vague), feats to claim, suggesting Comcast has some pretty unique features and an impressive line up of channel packages.

Is it true?

Xfinity has a few cool DVR features that make your TV viewing experience a little different. And its suite of channels will satisfy most viewers. But truthfully, it’s not quite enough for us to call it “the best.”

The X1 DVR hits the sweet spot with its 300-hour storage capacity (SD) and the ability to record six shows simultaneously. Where it’ll really change your experience is with the integration of apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. You can browse all three catalogs in one place, without hopping between app to find something to watch. And anything you record can be downloaded to the Xfinity app and watched offline. That said, DISH Network’s Hopper 3 DVR offers similar features, with integrated access to Hulu and Netflix, etc. The Hopper 3 also comes with an excessive 2,000 hours of HD storage and ability to record 16 shows at once — far more than what Xfinity's DVR offers.

Where Comcast really excels is its channel lineup. It has every major network at a reasonable price and premium channels for the standard charge. Though, sports fanatics may find more exclusive channels like the NFL Sunday Ticket, with DirecTV.

With its widespread availability, Xfinity is certainly a worthy contender when you’re shopping around, but calling itself the best in entertainment is a bit of an exaggeration.

Product Overview

Xfinity Pros

✔ Flexible bundling
✔ Month-to-month contracts
✔ Download and stream on mobile devices

Xfinity Cons

✘ Expensive premium channel packages
✘ Poor customer service reputation
✘ Low customer satisfaction ratings

Standout Xfinity Features

Great bundling value

If you’re purchasing TV service, there’s a good chance you’ll also need internet access. By bundling both services with the same company, you’ll consolidate bills and save money. Comcast, in particular, offers competitive deals when bundling multiple services. Its suite of options includes TV, internet, phone, and home security. Within each pairing, you’ll have a few channel package and internet speed options. The “Double-Play” TV and internet bundles usually start at the same price as a solo TV package: $40. (If you're a power user, boosting internet speeds or the number of channels usually costs an extra $10-$30 for each step up.)

Bundling with competitors like DirecTV is much trickier, as its internet service isn’t as widely available, and you’ll only have one speed option to choose from. Comcast makes it easy to consolidate services and customize a bundle that matches your budget.

Many contract options

Comcast uniquely offers a range of contract options. Most providers will lock you into a year or two of service, but Xfinity also offers a month-to-month option. It’ll cost about $10 more per month, but you have the freedom of canceling your service without an early termination fee (sometimes upwards of $200). Those fees might even outweigh the extra $10 per month if you aren’t planning on holding the service for a full contract length. This makes Comcast a great option for students, renters, or anyone who only needs service temporarily. However, the month-to-month option isn’t available for every channel package or bundle, and you may be more limited for service options. However, for those who plan on staying put for the next few years, the yearly contracts will generally get you the most bang for your buck. Often times, these contracts offer free professional standard installation (which normally costs $75), locked-in prices, and more premium channels. Regardless of the contract option you decide to go with, always be on the lookout for hidden fees. These additional charges are standard throughout the industry and are typically described on your bill as surcharges and municipal fees.

Solid equipment features

Like many other providers, Comcast offers its own state-of-the-art DVR system that allows you to interact with your TV programming. It consists of the interface (guides and menus), and the features (storage, simultaneous recording, etc.) Comcast’s DVR is called X1, and we were pleasantly surprised by what it offers customers. The X1 DVR system can store 300 hours of SD content and 60 hours of HD, with the ability to record six shows at once. It's also one of the few DVRs that integrates apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. If you have subscriptions to these additional streaming services, you can scroll through those libraries all in one place. When it comes to setting up your equipment, you can choose to either have your equipment sent in the mail or have an Xfinity technician come out to professionally install it. Self-installation is typically the more budget-friendly route, but it’s always worth checking to see if your offer includes free professional installation. Whatever installation you opt for, Comcast provides you with a TV box, voice remote, and the proper coaxial cable if you don’t already have one.

Xfinity Instant TV

Comcast is trying out a new way to offer content to those inclined to cut the cord. Xfinity Instant TV offers all the benefits of a DVR but without the TV box. You can stream Xfinity Instant TV on mobile apps, computers via browser, or through compatible smart TVs. The service starts at $20 per month for basic networks like ABC, NBC, PBS, etc. You’ll then need to pay for additional channel packs like “Kids & Family” or “Sports & News,” each costing an additional $10-$40 per month. The service is designed for the minimalist, and those who only view a select number of live TV channels will benefit most. For people who want access to more channels, it may just be cheaper to buy a traditional TV package. We suggest you audit the channels you frequent the most and comparing that to the traditional TV packages available at your address.

Watch Xfinity Online with Xfinity Stream

Back in 2017, Comcast revamped Xfinity TV and released a new app — Xfinity Stream. This service allows Xfinity subscribers to access hundreds of live channels, on-demand titles, and DVR recordings on mobile devices. With over 200 live channels, Xfinity Stream is a difference maker for those are looking to watch on the go. The app includes popular networks such as ESPN, CNN, The Disney Channel, and more. For those who care more about their recordings and on-demand titles, the app also gives subscribers the ability to download shows to watch at a later time when you might not have access to WiFi or cellular data. This service is currently included with any Xfinity Internet or TV plan and can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices.

Possible Drawbacks

Expensive internet prices

When we compared the nation’s largest TV providers, Comcast had the most variance in its plans and pricing structure. This review focuses on some of the most popular options we found, but there’s a good chance you’ll find different packages when you enter your own address. Other providers, especially satellite TV companies like Dish and DirecTV, offer the same deals to customers everywhere. That makes it easier to comparison shop and understand the provider's options. Before settling on Xfinity, enter your ZIP code to find the particular deals available to your address.

Customer service

We’re not breaking news by pointing out that Comcast has a less-than-ideal reputation for customer service. Even if other companies have rated poorer, Comcast’s reach and well-publicized mistakes have positioned it as a punch line. The ASCI has rated it 57/100 in 2019, three positions above Frontier (57/100), Mediacom (56/100), and Suddenlink (55/100) and eight below U-verse TV (69/100). And Comcast’s score has actually dropped since its average rating of 62/100 in 2016, indicating an unwillingness (or inability) to improve. These numbers are a measure of customer experience regarding factors like picture quality, signal reliability, call center service, website navigating, billing communication, channel selection, and overall staff courtesy.

Comcast’s 2019 J.D. Power rating was 2/5 power circles, just barely performing better than Spectrum. Customer service ratings this low mean you’re less likely to have a pleasant experience during the time you purchase a service from Comcast. But personal experiences will vary depending on regional offerings and individual service reps, so it’s totally possible to find satisfactory service from Comcast. We still recommend investigating your local Comcast availability and package options, especially if customer service isn’t high on your priority list next to price and programming.

Xfinity vs. Other Providers

Comcast Xfinity vs. DirecTV

One of the biggest differences between Comcast and DIRECTV is its mode of transmitting TV. Comcast is a cable TV provider, while DIRECTV uses a satellite dish. This also means that DIRECTV is available in all 50 states and more remote locations, while Comcast’s service is available in 40 states and restricted to locations where they’ve built out cable access. Both providers offer all your favorite channels, but DIRECTV excels at sports programming. DIRECTV is the exclusive provider of NFL Sunday Ticket while Comcast only hosts your standard ESPN selection. If you’re looking for flexible bundling and many package options, Comcast is for you. If you’re looking for stellar customer service and a great sports package, we recommend DIRECTV.

Comcast Xfinity vs. Dish TV

Like DirecTV, DISH Network is a satellite TV provider and available in all 50 states. DISH’s channel packages start at $60 for 190 channels, about $20 more than Comcast’s starting 100 channels. DISH’s Hopper 3 DVR is worth the extra cost alone. It’s the most powerful DVR system on the market, with 2,000 hours of HD storage and the ability to record 16 shows at once. Like Comcast’s X1, it integrates Netflix and lets you download content to watch offline. DISH contracts are 24 months, and you’ll find more flexibility with Comcast’s month-to-month or one-year contract options. While you may find a better bundle deal with Comcast, DISH Network excels at customer service and offers an advanced DVR service.

Comcast Xfinity FAQ

What is the difference between Comcast and Xfinity?

Essentially, there is no difference. Comcast formed the term Xfinity to refer to its consumer services like internet, TV, and phone. But the terms are used pretty interchangeably, even by Comcast itself.

Is Comcast Xfinity fiber-optic?

Sometimes. Like many other providers, Comcast is slowly rolling out fiber-optic service to large cities. Fiber-optic cables have to be physically built out in each neighborhood it services, so it can be a slow-going and expensive process. Enter your address on Xfinity's site to see if fiber tech is available at your address.

Does Comcast own Hulu?

Not for much longer. For a long time, Comcast owned a third of Hulu and held several board seats. Earlier in May, the Walt Disney Company announced it is acquiring Comcast’s minority stake in Hulu. Once that happens (the process could take five years), the Walt Disney Company will own Hulu completely.

The Bottom Line

Before committing to a cable TV provider, audit the channels you watch and consider what you value most from a service provider — whether that’s customer service, price, or advanced technology. Xfinity TV services will offer you flexibility in contract, bundle options, and channel lineups. And with a solid DVR system, Comcast is worth your consideration.

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