The bottom line: The most appealing part of Xfinity TV is that you can get it with or without a contract (no-contract pricing is an extra $10 a month). It also has a sizable video On-Demand selection, which has new movies a month before Netflix or Redbox. On the downside, Xfinity’s advertised pricing is not so competitive when you include additional fees, and its customer service efforts need serious attention.
Keep reading below for an in-depth review of Xfinity TV service, or read our Xfinity X1 review to learn what else X1 can offer.
- No-contract or contract services
- Offline viewing for smart devices
- Large video On-Demand selection
- DVRs only record 64 hours in HD
- Customer service needs improvement
- Has hidden fees
Package prices and selection are just average, but no-contract is a plus.
Prices and channels will vary based on your service area so you’ll need to speak to a customer representative to know which packages are available near you. The following are the packages Xfinity promotes online.
Xfinity X1 package prices
|Digital Starter||140+||View Plan|
|Digital Preferred||220+||View Plan|
|Digital Premier||260+||View Plan|
* For the first 12 months with a one-year agreement. Pricing varies by location.
Digital Starter package
Covers basic cable programming.
The Digital Starter package comes with 140+ channels, including many popular cable channels: ESPN, USA, A&E, Comedy Central, Hallmark Channel, etc. With its price and channels, the Digital Starter is pretty comparable to other basic packages from competing TV services.
Notable channels: Discovery Channel, CNN, Food Networ, ESPN HD.
Digital Preferred package
It’s the best deal, at least for the first year.
The Digital Preferred package adds 80+ channels to the Digital Starter package for an additional $10 a month. Those extra channels include a number of league-specific sports channels, like NFL Network, MLB Network and NBA TV, as well as regional college networks like the SEC Network and Pac-12 Network. If you’re into sports, you’ll probably find the extra ten dollars a month to be well-spent.
Notable channels: ESPN HD, NBA TV, SEC Network.
Digital Premier package
For movie lovers, the price difference might be worth it.
The Digital Premier package includes 260+ channels. There are a few seemingly random differences between the Digital Premier and the Digital Preferred channel lineups, but the most significant change is the inclusion of more than 20 premium movie channels. Of course, that might also explain the hefty price difference: $40 a month more for the first-year promotional price than Digital Preferred.
Notable channels: Starz, HBO, Showtime, Disney Channel.
Promotional prices aren’t bad, and there’s a no-contract option.
What’s the real price?
Xfinity’s promotions are somewhat competitive; however, in order to get a promotional price, you’ll have to enter a one-year contract. (DISH and DIRECTV require two-year contracts.) After the one-year contract ends, you’ll be charged the regular rate, which varies depending on where you live. Of course, you can always cancel after one year to avoid paying the regular rate, but cancelling is never as easy or convenient as it should be, especially if you’re dealing with Comcast customer service.
Xfinity also has a no-contract option, which adds $10 a month to the one-year contract price. What’s odd is that the no-contract pricing is only good for one year, and then you’ll be charged the regular rate (again, regular rates are not listed and are determined by your location). But if you want to avoid a contract, and early termination fees, the extra $10 a month might be worth it.
Xfinity’s additional fees are higher than other TV services. For example, its DVR fee is $19.95 a month, and additional receivers (for adding multiple TVs) are $9.95 a month each. There’s also a “broadcast fee” and regional sports fee for $3.50 a month and $1 a month, but to Xfinity’s credit, they don’t charge an HD or HD sports fee.
Heads up: While Xfinity is a well-known communications provider, it doesn’t serve every area in the United States. Try using our ZIP finder to see if Xfinity is available near you.
Xfinity channel offerings
HD and total channel count aren’t as large as others.
Xfinity’s higher-end packages seem a little lightweight when compared to the competition. While both the Digital Preferred and Digital Premium packages deliver more than 220 channels, some competing services (e.g., Verizon FiOS) provide over 400 channels. That’s nearly twice as many channels as Xfinity. If you’re only looking for major cable channels (ESPN, USA, AMC, etc.), you’ll still find what you’re looking for with Xfinity. However, because of the limited number of channels, you won’t get channels you could find elsewhere.
Xfinity offers roughly 100 channels in HD. By comparison, DIRECTV offers more than 200 in HD. Comcast’s own comparison charts try to gloss over this difference by noting that both services offer “100+” HD channels. Yes, that’s technically true, but it doesn’t really paint an accurate picture of the differences between these services.
Xfinity equipment and features
Trying to get details on DVRs takes some work, but the features are pretty decent.
How hard is it to find information on Xfinity’s DVRs? It’s practically impossible. Between speaking with representatives, reading Comcast forums, and checking Xfinity’s own website, we’re still in the dark.
We couldn’t even find DVR information during checkout. After we selected HD DVR Service to purchase, we clicked see more… and all we got was the same, not-helpful blurb repeated back.
More storage please
Xfinity’s HD DVR only records 60 hours in HD. Unfortunately for Comcast, both Verizon FiOS and DIRECTV’s DVRs can record 200 hours in HD—more than three times what Xfinity offers. And DISH’s Hopper DVR can record 500 hours in HD, which is more than eight times Xfinity’s HD DVR, and more than four times its X1 DVR.
We couldn’t get more reliable information on the HD DVR, but we did find details on Comcast’s flagship DVR, the X1. Xfinity X1 can record six shows at once, and it actually saves the content to both the hard drive and the cloud, which means you can then stream those recordings on any of your mobile devices with a Wi-Fi connection. Xfinity’s X1 does have a few other cool features, such as a voice-controlled remote, but Xfinity’s X1 is only for bundled packages. So if you’re hoping to just get TV and the X1, you’re out of luck.
Plenty on demand with Xfinity Stream
Xfinity outshines others when it comes to the depth and quality of on-demand offerings. With Xfinity’s On-Demand service, Xfinity Stream, you can access nearly 140,000 movies and shows whenever you want—DIRECTV, in contrast, only offers 42,000 titles. And with a selection that large, there’s going to be plenty of quality programming to choose from, including a good balance of both recent and classic movies, as well as original programming from some of today’s most popular cable channels. With Xfinity Stream, you don’t even have to remember to set the DVR to record anything ahead of time. You just browse, click, and watch.
Xfinity lets you choose from nearly 20,000 different On Demand shows and movies to download, so you can watch whenever and wherever it’s most convenient. With Comcast’s TV Go app, Xfinity customers can even enjoy live programming on all their devices—including live sports from ESPN, NBC Sports, and Fox Sports 1.
See packages that include the X1 DVR and extra features.
Xfinity customer service
As with most customer service, there’s always room for improvement.
By now, just about everyone is aware of Comcast’s reputation for terrible customer service (Xfinity is Comcast). Even in an industry that is not known for caring and compassionate service, Comcast’s seems to stand out as being particularly unpleasant. In fact, for the last two years, Comcast has ranked at or near the bottom of the industry in this category, according to multiple independent consumer satisfaction surveys. In the 2015 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, Comcast scored a 54 out of 100—the second to lowest score overall.
We experienced the frustration of Comcast’s customer service firsthand while doing research for this article. The answers we received to basic questions about packages and pricing often differed from representative to representative (we posed as customers), and sometimes… well, our questions were ignored.
Here’s one excerpt.
Reviews.org: When I get to checkout, my only DVR option is “HD DVR Service.” Is that supposed to be the X1?
Xfinity: Our “Digital Service” will allow you to access all the channels in the plan you choose in Standard Definition only. This is our Digital Receiver that connects to your Standard Definition TV.
Our ‘HD Service’ will allow you access to all the high definition channels that are available in the plan you choose. This is our HD Receiver that connects to your HD TV.
You can add additional receivers by clicking on ‘Connect another TV’. Once you have selected ‘Connect another TV’, you are automatically shown the receivers available to you for another TV, and you can select it by clicking ‘Add’.
Yikes. The representative must have copied and pasted a reply.
Here’s another excerpt.
Reviews.org: So, can I get the X1 if I only get Xfinity TV?
Xfinity: Yes, you are correct. You can have the box when you got [sic] the Starter and above package. [The representative is incorrect; you cannot get the X1 without bundling with Internet.]
It’s one thing to ignore a question, but it’s another to give us bad information. After our experiences, we imagine Xfinity’s customer service must be even more maddening for actual customers.
Xfinity service and pricing make it a mixed bag
We like the choice of contract or no-contract TV, and On Demand gives us plenty to watch; however, the hidden fees on top of so-so pricing and poor customer service leaves us with much to be desired.
Go with the Digital Preferred
Xfinity’s Digital Preferred package is our pick. It includes On Demand service, which makes it easy to get your movie fix, even without the premium movie channels that come with Digital Premier. And Digital Preferred’s sports programming offers a lot of viewing options for not much more money.
If you want to know more and decide for yourself, here’s an overview of Xfinity packages.