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By Danika Miller, Staff Writer

Comcast Xfinity Review

Comcast Xfinity offers a wide array of TV service options and even larger selection for bundling. You can pair your channel lineup with internet service, a phone line, 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 temporary service situations, it’s cheaper to sign a longer 12-month or 24-month contract.

Most of Xfinity's features are pretty impressive, 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 phone calls and keep a close eye on your bill. When shopping around for TV service, check Comcast for availability to your address and compare the packages you’re offered with other companies in the area.

The 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

Best for

Temporary service, bundling multiple services

Not for

Customer service, advanced channel packages

Features

Price Starting at $40 in most locations
Standout features Flexible bundling, feature-packed DVR, multiple contract options
Number of states served 40
Contract length Month-to-month, 12 months, 24 months
J.D. Power Rating 2/5
ACSI Rating 57/100
# of channel packages 6
Fees $10 HD Fee
$10/month DVR
$10/month Broadcast Fee
$15 Self-Installation Fee
$60+ Professional Installation

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.

Solid DVR service

The DVR system is pretty central to how you’ll 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. X1 also lets you download recorded shows and take them with you using an Xfinity Stream TV app.

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.

Possible Drawbacks

Variance in pricing and plans

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 reputation

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 2018 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.

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 12 or 24 months 24 months 24 months
No-contract option
Free receiver/DVR
Free installation

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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