You’re probably familiar with this titan of TV services. But how well does it live up to its price and reputation?
Comcast is a major telecom provider that serves 41 of the 50 states. There’s a good chance that you live within its service area, or already have a subscription for its Internet or TV services. And even if you’re not a subscriber, you’ve likely heard of Comcast.
XFINITY, Comcast’s TV and Internet service, is a worthy player in the increasingly crowded home entertainment game. It comes with a hefty price tag but delivers an excellent TV experience if you’re willing to pay up.
Prices and Packages
With XFINITY, it’s possible to get a great TV package without breaking the bank. However, prices increase steadily as you add more features to your plan.
Its lowest-tier plan, Digital Starter, is $49.99 per month with a year-long contract. With over 140 channels included, Digital Starter isn’t too bad of a deal for viewers on a budget.
Prices climb higher with more advanced packages. Digital Preferred gives you 220+ channels for $59.99 per month, while Digital Premier has 260+ channels for $104.99. If the jump from Preferred to Premier seems extreme, that’s because the latter includes premium channels like HBO, STARZ, and SHOWTIME.
Compared to DISH and DIRECTV, XFINITY’s main competition, the prices are rather high. So why opt for XFINITY when more affordable choices exist?
Well, XFINITY does have one advantage over its competitors — you aren’t required to sign a contract in order to enjoy its service. In contrast, DISH and DIRECTV both demand a 2-year minimum commitment from day one. However, you might still be tempted to sign a contract with XFINITY thanks to the $10 per month rebate the company gives you for joining.
X1 Double Play
If the initial price still seems too steep for you, there are other options available that may solve your problem. XFINITY has three different “X1 Double Play” bundles to choose from. These bundles combine TV and 150 Mbps Internet into one package. They also include XFINITY’s powerful X1 DVR. On top of that, Double Play is a convenient service that will end up saving you some money each month.
Like XFINITY’s base packages, its Double Play bundles come in three tiers: Starter, Preferred, and Premier. The channel counts are the same, at 140+, 220+, and 260+, respectively. Prices are slightly higher due to the included 150 Mbps Internet. Starter Double Play will cost you $79.99 a month with a contract, while Preferred and Premier will cost you either $114.99 or $134.99.
All in all, Double Play is an awesome bargain. XFINITY’s Internet is fast. In addition, its high bandwidth will allow every member of your household to stream videos, play online games, and download large files without impacting the speed. And as you will read further down, the X1 DVR has plenty of useful features that will make your life so much easier.
XFINITY’s prices may already seem steep, but you should know that they’re not all-inclusive. Unfortunately, the advertised prices don’t include the various, small hidden costs that can add up pretty quickly.
For HD video service, you’ll need to pay $10 each month. In addition, you’ll have to pay anywhere from $6-$10 for a “TV fee.” And there’s more — with an extra $10 for DVR service, $10 for a “broadcast fee,” and $8 for sports, you’re looking at upwards of $48 every month for what you might think are just basic services.
To make matters worse, XFINITY charges extra to add DVRs to more TVs. If you’re okay with only having one DVR or don’t have many TVs in the house, this won’t be an issue for you. Regardless, you’ll probably fall in love with the X1’s features and will miss it when you’re away from your main TV.
Finally, XFINITY requires some setup costs as well. If you’re a DIY kind of a person, you can save a lot of money by installing everything on your own. XFINITY’s self-install kit costs $15, while it costs $60-$90 for a technician to set it up for you. If all these extra costs are making you queasy, and you’re not very handy, it may be worthwhile to recruit a tech-savvy friend to help you out.
As mentioned above, it’s possible to get XFINITY without the pressure of commitment. It’s great to know that you can back out at any time without incurring any extra fees. Other providers like DISH and DIRECTV will charge you upwards of $240 if you decide to cancel your service, and a lot can change in the two years it takes before your contract is up.
That being said, having a contract can end up saving you a lot of money. If you’re certain that you’ll be sticking with XFINITY for a while, you can sign a contract for one or two years. It’ll save you $10 every month, which is $120 in a year. It’s almost like getting a free month!
If you do end up signing a contract but find that the commitment is too much, it’s possible to back out. However, bear in mind that cancellation fees can exceed $240 — particularly if there’s a lot of time left on your contract.
Unsure about whether or not getting a contract is worth it? You should try the service for at least a few months without signing one. If you end up being satisfied with it, then you should sign up. That extra $10 you’ll save every month might not seem like much, but the money will add up over time if you’re going to use XFINITY anyway.
Many TV providers skimp on channel selection when it comes to their more budget-friendly packages. Thankfully, even XFINITY’s most basic package includes most of the popular channels that you know and love. While you might miss out on some specialty channels, most people will be able to live without them.
If you opt for a more expensive package, you’ll have more than enough channels to keep your eyes glued to the screen. For a better idea of what’s available in each plan, you can see the list of channels in each package here.
These days, it’s pretty much unheard of for a TV service provider not to offer premium channels. In addition, the price per month for premium channels is more or less consistent between providers. XFINITY is no exception to this trend.
Fans of premium entertainment can add HBO, SHOWTIME, CINEMAX, STARZ, and EPIX to their channel lineup at industry-standard prices. The only thing noteworthy about XFINITY’s selection is EPIX — most other providers don’t give access to this channel. At $6 per month, it’s the most affordable premium channel available — not a bad deal if you can’t or don’t want to pay for the pricier options.
No discussion about TV services would be complete without covering sports. XFINITY includes many different sports by default, such as football, baseball, basketball, golf, hockey, NASCAR, and college sports. It’s a nice starting point, especially since other services tend to charge extra for decent sports packages.
If that’s still not enough for you, though, it’s possible to buy additional packages that will surely satisfy your craving for sports. They’ll cost you extra, so more casual sports fans will probably just want to stick with the basic package.
Maybe you’re not impressed by XFINITY’s channel selection, especially compared to satellite providers like DISH and DIRECTV. It’s true that these services offer more channels. But where XFINITY truly shines is in its impressive library of on-demand shows and movies.
If you’re the kind of person who likes choosing when and where to catch up on their favorite shows, you’ll love XFINITY’s on-demand library. The best part is that 90% of its titles are free. The remaining 10% is available for rent, but those titles tend to be new releases.
For added convenience, you can watch on-demand video on devices other than your TV. XFINITY’s library is available to watch through your web browser on your computer or app on mobile devices, so you can get great entertainment no matter where you are. It’s one area where XFINITY has a major leg up on the competition.
If you opt for one of XFINITY’s Double Play bundles, you’ll be able to get their proprietary X1 DVR. It’s one of the better DVRs available, and it has a lot of features that you’ll grow to love.
The X1 has a convenient voice control system that actually works — voice recognition has improved vastly over the years. Using a remote control to search for shows can be annoying due to all the buttons you need to press. That’s why you’ll enjoy using the X1’s voice function — it’s nice to kick back on the couch and simply talk to your remote.
You can also use the X1’s voice commands to order your house around. If you have other services like home security or Wi-Fi enabled lights, the X1 lets you control them with your remote. Having everything integrated in one place will save you time and effort, and you won’t have to deal with several different remote controls.
The X1 lets you record as many as six shows simultaneously, which is useful to people with busy schedules. Most DVRs only let you record one or two shows at once by default, and charge extra for additional recordings. The X1’s offer is very generous by comparison.
Even better, you can remotely set shows to record. So if you realize at the office that you forgot to record your favorite show, it’ll be quick and easy to fix your mistake by recording the program with XFINITY’s app. You can view some shows remotely as well, so you can catch up while you commute or during your break at work.
TV services typically rate poorly when it comes to customer satisfaction, and XFINITY is particularly notorious in this regard. Comcast has received a lot of negative attention over the years for its service, and XFINITY is no exception.
Many current and former XFINITY customers report problems with their monthly bills. It’s not unheard of for XFINITY to raise the monthly prices without warning. If that happens to you, you may have to fight tooth and nail to get your old rate back. This is particularly true if you’ve signed a contract. Be careful when reading through it — the more you know about your deal, the better you’ll be able to push back against unfair charges.
Depending on where you live, service may be unreliable. Sometimes, Comcast can be slow to fix outages, which will leave you without Internet or TV. Thankfully, these disruptions rarely last long, but any amount of downtime can be frustrating — especially in the evenings and on weekends. If you experience long outages with XFINITY, it’s worth complaining to customer service. They may offer you extra features or channels as an apology!
Quality TV service, whether from a cable or satellite company, doesn’t come cheap. This holds true for XFINITY, which is among the more expensive providers on the market today. If you’re on a tight budget, XFINITY might not be the best service for you.
Nevertheless, you get what you pay for with XFINITY. It has a generous selection of channels, even in its most affordable package. The X1 DVR is one of the best out there, and you’ll find that it’ll become an indispensable part of your daily TV ritual. XFINITY’s huge on-demand library gives you even more entertainment choices beyond the high channel count. Best of all, XFINITY lets you watch on the go without any hiccups or extra charges.
Unless you run into billing or outage issues, XFINITY’s service will fade into the background of your routine. And that’s a good thing — it is a service that will streamline your home life. As the real and digital worlds become increasingly integrated, XFINITY exists as an example of how convenient this integration can be.