Comcast XFINITY X1 Review

A year later and we’re still loving the X1. Whether you want to upgrade or you’re looking to get your first DVR, we’ll help you get a feel for XFINITY’s latest set-top box technology.

X1 DVR
A year later and we’re still loving the X1. Whether you want to upgrade or you’re looking to get your first DVR, we’ll help you get a feel for XFINITY’s latest set-top box technology.
Overall Rating3.5 out of 5
Stores 60 HD / 300 SD recording hours
Has Voice Remote Control

XFINITY’s X1 DVR isn’t our best DVR, but we like it because we don’t have to think about using it. We forget it’s the reason we can watch One Punch Man on our work break. We don’t realize it’s why we can binge watch the new Survivor this weekend. We can’t remember what it’s like to channel surf out of necessity. Although it’s not all rosy, X1 has made life easier and—dare we say it—better. We’ll take you through the ups and downs of owning this box.

What is the X1?

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Note

Note

X1 may also refer to the “X1 Experience,” which is the updated channel guide/recording interface software.

The latest series of set-top boxes from Comcast, XFINITY’s X1 Entertainment Operating System contains both the receiver box and a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that links your television, internet, computer, phones, tablets, and home security subscriptions from Comcast (or other providers).

In simpler terms: X1 is a set-top DVR that links your TV and internet into a universal, searchable platform for you to access entertainment.

Why upgrade to X1?

If you’re still using an old set-top box from XFINITY, it’s definitely time to upgrade. Even if you’re not interested recording, streaming, or all the other convenient features, the update to the interface alone is worth it. The channel guide is way more responsive than Comcast’s old menu system and cable box. Did we mention it looks better, too?

The new X’s single search brings up listings from live TV, Comcast’s on-demand library, your DVR recordings, and streaming apps (Netflix, YouTube, etc).

What else makes the X1 noteworthy?

The X1 has a lot of cool features built in, like sports stats, voice commands, and must-know info for your day-to-day life (weather, news, traffic, stocks, photos, voicemail, horoscopes, etc.). These things may come across as overkill, but for someone who’s looking to consolidate their daily activities from the couch, it’s simple and effective.

You can use the X1 and your big screen TV as an entertainment and information command center.

You can use the X1 and your big screen TV as an entertainment and information command center. We like playing music from Pandora (or one the many music channels) while we’re doing chores. Most of these features are ready to go on your phone or tablet, too, or to meet up with you at work via your laptop or desktop computer. All you need is your XFINITY login.

Blank TV screens can suck up the energy in a room, but the X1 has rotating images (nature landscapes, animals, etc.) that keep your space looking vibrant. For an extra touch of hominess or customization, you can link your Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr accounts to the X1 to work as a screensaver as well.

Should I get an X1?

Although it’s not perfect, we recommend the X1 if…

  • You have no DVR or way of recording television.
  • You have XFINITY TV and internet service.
  • You like the idea of a Cloud-based DVR for easy access across devices.
  • You want up to six recording tuners.
  • You want mobile and offline access to recorded shows.
  • You want to record when you’re not at home.
  • You hate ads (not all ads can be avoided, however).

If you’re deciding between the X1 and another DVR, we’d direct you over to our “The Best DVRs for Cable TV and OTA” post. Keep in mind, even if you have a “superior” DVR like the TiVo Bolt+, third-party hardware isn’t always ideal. Some XFINITY features will work only with the X1.

How does XFINITY X1 compare to other DVRs?

X1 DVR

X1 has about half the storage of the DIRECTV Genie and a fourth of the DISH Hopper 3. But the X1’s 500 GB translates to 60 hours of HD programming (300 hours if you don’t mind SD quality). If that’s not enough, you can add an external hard drive starting around $50 (see on Amazon). We recommend adding a hard drive if you want to fuss with your storage as seldom as possible or if you like to keep a large library.

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Quick reminder

Quick reminder

You can manage your X1 DVR from anywhere. We prefer using a mouse to do a quick cleanup of our DVR as opposed to a remote control. The app works fine for clearing space too if you’re in a hurry or want to do it on your phone as you watch a mindless show.

Having access to a big on-demand library will keep you from feeling bored. It’s a big consideration in a DVR, especially for mobile or offline use. XFINITY excels with 163,000+ on-demand titles, 90% of which are free; to compare, DISH has 93K+ and DIRECTV has 41K+. Pair it with your other streaming services if that’s still (somehow) not enough.

XFINITY X1 records six simultaneous programs, whereas DISH and DIRECTV record sixteen and five programs, respectively. X1 and Hopper 3 have voice control remotes, but DIRECTV requires an app and mobile device.

Considering switching from DISH or DIRECTV?

With DISH and DIRECTV, satellite picture quality is slightly better than XFINITY cable, which sends a compressed signal. X1 is capable of 4K resolution, but most stuff will be closer to 1080p. These high resolutions are nice for older adults or anyone who may have a hard time seeing.

XFINITY will almost always beat DISH and DIRECTV when it comes to internet download speeds and data caps. We also like the X1 Experience channel guide and search functionality better.

Find the best TV providers in your area.

What you need to know about the X1

What it’s like to watch TV with the X1

X1 Experience displays a visual directory (or channel guide) that allows you to select shows based on titles and descriptions instead of channel surfing by the numbers. It provides showtimes and other information like episode summaries, parental guidance ratings, release dates, and cast and crew credits.

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Pro tip

Pro tip

Keep the X1 plugged in.

The software updates regularly (like, every night), so you won’t have to wait for large updates all at once. In fact, you won’t notice updates most of the time—it restarts around midnight and will always ask if you want to restart now or later if you’re watching a program.

Also, if you unplug your box, which you may have to do to reset a malfunctioning device, you’ll have to wait anywhere from 5–10 minutes for the interface to load complete channel and show information.

You can watch a show while you browse, which is much preferred to channel surfing with annoying audio breaks. X1 also pauses and rewinds up to 60 minutes of live TV, assuming you don’t change the channel. This means you can pause a show, run and grab some cheeseburgers, then munch it down while you finish up your show.

However, time skipping is where the X1 could improve the most: when navigating through a live show with rewind/fast-forward, at times it’s glitchy and requires some guesswork to compensate for the lag. It’s not clear whether having a lot more bandwidth would eliminate the lag; it’s possible that this is just the current level of streaming capability. We hope this feature improves with updates.

To receive service to more than one TV, you’ll have to add companion boxes for $10 per TV, so costs might add up. The companion receivers/additional boxes have full DVR functionality with the exception of controlling live TV (pause, rewind, instant replay, etc).

What recording is like with the X1

You can preview shows and schedule your recordings up to two weeks in advance. You can do this from anywhere: your TV, computer, phone, tablet, etc. On top of that, you can set the X1 box to record either a single show or an entire series. That way you don’t have to remind yourself every two weeks to set up your Survivor recordings.

Are my recordings stuck on the DVR?

The X1 stores your recordings in the Cloud, not the physical DVR, so even if your power goes out, you can access your recordings from a mobile device. Even in a worst case scenario (i.e., a freak mocha frappucino spill kills your set-top box), you won’t lose your recordings.

You can download shows from one of a bajillion hotspots for free. These are easy to find. The map provided by XFINITY shows that we’re rarely more than a block from Wi-Fi (in Salt Lake City, at least). You can also use the app to locate nearby hotspots. Cloud storage and Wi-Fi combined make it really easy to watch whatever you want most of the time.

How many hours can you record on the X1?

The X1 records 60 hours in HD and 300 hours in SD. You can expand this with an external hard drive via the eSATA port. We recommend going with an additional terabyte of storage, like this WD 1TB My Book AV DVR Expander External Hard Drive.

How many shows can you record at once with the X1?

The X1 DVR has six simultaneous recordings possible. So if you add another X1, 12 recordings are possible.

How many rooms does one X1 provide service for?

Each X1 box provides six tuners total, meaning the main TV and five more. You’ll need

X1 remote control

Even with a slick interface, sometimes there are too many channels to work through. The search feature has always been an added convenience, but since the latest XFINITY update, it’s even faster.

Our Comcast remote, the XR11, includes a microphone. It’s been our favorite feature for the past year. Aside from searching for shows, you can get the X1 to help you with other practical things. For instance, Comcast recently added a power-saving mode. To activate it you can say “go green,” or you can turn the set-top box completely off by saying “power down.”

Voice command

Voice commands are processed by Comcast’s servers, and they use that data to improve the functionality. For example, if Comcast learns that a lot of people search for “Here’s Looking At You, Kid,” they’ll add Casablanca to the search results, despite it not containing the title, actor, director, or genre.

It’s a smart service that improves over time, so don’t be afraid to ask it who played “Porky” in the Lil Rascals remake, or channel your inner secret agent and say “Bond, James Bond.” Chances are if the X1 doesn’t know it yet, it will.

Keep in mind specific searches may be too narrow when a simple search will do just fine.

It picks up accents pretty well, which is a relief for anyone who doesn’t have an American or British accent and has been frustrated at the inability to be understood.

That’s not to say the voice control is perfect because we do have a few small complaints. Although we can’t fathom being much lazier, we don’t like that you must hold the voice control button down the whole time. Sometimes we forget to hold it down and wonder why it isn’t working. True this is pure user error, but we wish there was an option for an automatic cut-off after a second or so of silence.

Keep in mind specific searches may be too narrow when a simple search will do just fine. For example, the X1 voice search did not find “SNL with Father John Misty,” but it did pull up his music videos, which enlightened us to an easy way to play music videos and share new songs with friends. When in doubt, try another simple search like “SNL” and find the episode from there.

What do the quick buttons on the X1 remote control do?

  • “A” is the “assistance” or “help” button. It brings up your settings as well as tips and guides for the X1 remote.
  • “B” is for browsing. The video stream is condensed into a scaled window that hovers in front of the browser so you can keep watching and/or listening as you scroll and search. Uninterrupted flow is nice, and you can avoid awkward silences or switch right as a commercial starts.
  • “C” allows you to see the sports app. We were stoked about the different options, like pulling up individual players’ in-game stats and personal profiles, including how they rank.
  • “D” is for delete. You can select a single DVR recording or delete a whole TV series within a folder.

Mobile and on-the-go

XFINITY Stream provides a lot of titles on the go but not everything. Certain licenses only work in-home, so be mindful.

If you’re looking for a quick show to watch on your commute, you’d hate to pick three or four shows that were only available in-home, cutting out a good chunk of your watching time. There is a filter so you can see only Available Out of Home titles. The remaining filters are great for HD fans, those with impaired hearing, or non-English speakers.

Your digital library has some limits. Devices must be authorized via email and can store only a certain number of recordings (10 per device). That being said, we’ve never had a problem aside from wanting to watch programming available only in-home.

Home automation and security

Fans of home automation and security will like the X1, too. The X1 can control the following from either the set-top box or the XFINITY Home Secure app:

  • Arm/disarm your system
  • View images/videos from connected cameras
  • View and lock/unlock doors
  • Turn connected lights on/off or adjust dimmer settings
  • View and control connected thermostats
  • Use the voice remote to control XFINITY Home settings
  • View event history

If you needed that extra little push to get a home security setup, the X1 makes it easier.

Take your time back now—get an X1

The X1 platform is a sign of what it’s like to be living in modern times. The world waits on you—you just have to let it know what you want.

While this may seem a bit poetic for a piece of technology, we do appreciate having the X1 as our daily DVR. We spend time with friends watching the NBA finals. We catch up with our family over a stupid comedy. We get a chance to zone out for some “me” time, whenever we can squeeze it in.

If you’re still not sure that the X1 is the DVR you want, go check out our The Best DVRs for Cable TV and OTA. 

FAQs

What streaming services can I use with the X1?

So far, you can stream video content only from Netflix and YouTube. You need a separate device for streaming Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, and Hulu.

Where is the X1 available?

XFINITY is available in 41 states to 21.52 million residential subscribers. Comcast reports that 52% of its customers use the X1, but it hopes to get closer to 60% by the end of the year.1

Is it worth it to upgrade to the XFINITY X1?

If you’re a prospective or new customer, we’d definitely recommend a Double Play or Triple Play package. For the price of a couple of movie tickets every month, you won’t run out of stuff to watch. What is X1 Double Play?

What is X1 Double Play?

Double Play is a bundle package, usually combining TV and internet. At minimum, an XFINITY Double Play package is required for X1 full functionality.

What is X1 Triple Play?

A Triple Play package usually involves TV, internet, and then either phone or home security services. If you add a home phone service, you can stream from your smartphone directly to your TV. That way you can use your big screen the same way you use your computer for Skype calls.

Help us help you

Any more questions about the X1? Some great feature that we missed and you want to tell the world? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Sources

1.     Market Realist, “How Comcast Expects to Maintain Its Growth for the Rest of 2017

  • http://www.steveberlinmusic.com smb

    Its not exactly what they promise- there are only a ridiculous subset of channels available when not on your home server- like almost useless. The DVR quality is mediocre to horrible- by no means is it ever HD or even Tivo quality by a long, long shot. Their own people seem to have no clue what it does and doesn’t do so I have been told diametrically opposed things/lies by salespeople and techs. It is still Comcast so prepare for horrendous customer service. I switched from a legacy/Tivo combo which worked way better all around and I am considering switching back

  • prisoner223

    Those are all features that are part of X1, and have been for quite some time. Not exactly sure what you’re suggesting we need to catch up on. The X1 platform is by far the most connected and integrated platform of any TV/phone/internet provider in the world. Nothing else even comes close.

    • rudeboyrg

      “The X1 platform is by far the most connected and integrated platform of any TV/phone/internet provider in the world. Nothing else even comes close.” You didn’t really say this with a straight face did you? PS VUE as a streaming service destroys the DVR functionality. Dish satellite kills it and even Uverse tops this system. X1 is considered by many as by far the worst when it comes to integration, and DVR capabilities. It loses in virtually all areas.

    • Terrill Johnson

      Too bad none of those features work when the internet is down. You are stuck watching one channel even though you’re paying for hundreds.

      • Rafael Swinney

        Not true you can still watch tv if the internet is not working

        • Terrill Johnson

          Yes, the tv still works but you can’t change channels with the remote, in fact you can’t do ANYTHING with the remote. (X1)

  • Squidly 🇺🇸

    Because we’re the greatest country this planet has ever known. Now zip it or we’ll invade and occupy your stupid country because of your back talking big mouth! Lol.

  • Thoughtfully Yours

    So Delores…have you ever lived in another country? Lived there and not just visited? I actually don’t care, but you sound rather naïve about international affairs. A statement like “no countries are SUPERIOR….only DIFFERENT” appears to be the kind of nonsense spouted by a person who doesn’t understand the United States of America and our role in a very real, very wonderful, and yet, very dangerous world.
    At it’s most basic level, America (USA) is internationally accepted as a “super power”. We did not make that up. It’s a simple fact like gravity, and for good reasons. We are superior economically, academically, politically, technologically, socially, intellectually, etc. Yes, I am proud of this country. Not so much because of our superior attributes but how we came by them.
    The key to understanding the USA is in knowing the value we place on freedom. Freedom is the heart and soul of the USA. Because of this, this American will always support (even fight for) your right to say whatever you want without fear of retaliation, prosecution, or humiliation even when we disagree. Our freedom is what makes us different in the world. It is our freedom and our success in promoting and defending it is what makes us superior and different in the world.
    I bid you peace.

    • Jordan Ketterer

      Have you ever noticed that Canada is just a free, and lets be honest, more free in many ways. and to say that the usa is superior “economically, academically, politically, technologically, socially, intellectually, etc” is just naive.
      American citizens are the most in debt persons on the planet, and the country as a whole is not much different.
      Academically things are only superior because you don;t allow any others standards have meaning in your countries. countries all over the world have higher rates of academic success. see in other countries you don’t need to give an arm and a leg and the first two children to go to school, and the standards are actually higher because everyone is working together to accomplish something rather then against each other.
      politically? well you kind of have to understand that this would be very subjective. By this i mean you will think that your politics are the best if you think that you are the best. Americans are so afraid of socialism that they are breaking the capitalism just to stay away from it.
      Technology, ha ha this is laughable, maybe just if your talking about military tech. Look at some other counties, like japan, and many European countries. Here in Canada, we have used and trusted chip and pin tech for years and tap(nfc payments) for just about as long. Look at the cellular systems in place around the world (and interestingly how the usa’s 4 company monopoly and locked phones make the whole statement of “Freedom is the heart and soul of the USA” kind of funny. you have so many monopolies and allow corporations to take away your “FREEDOM”.
      As for socially, I don’t really know if you mean you have social get together and parties or you mean socialism and working together for a common good.
      Intellectually you do have an edge in some things, but remember you also have some of the most nonintellectual people also. and i don’t know why you wanted to mention academic and intellectually.

    • Johnny Walker

      If we live in a free country in the USA then why can’t we choose our president instead of having some archaic system called the Electoral College. Unless you have served as an elector, you have never voted for president in your whole life! You only vote for some electors who then choose for you. Do you think that is the land of the “free”. At least in Canada and the UK they get to vote for their prime minister.

  • http://www.sharadkantpatel.com ufoclub1977

    Just got of the chat with Xfinity support, and they are telling me to take my new x1 boxes and trade them in for standard x1 boxes. The reason? The newest x1 boxes have a type of digital noise reduction or skin smoothing effect built in that you cannot turn off! It makes skin and faces and other areas of the image lose detail. Erases blemishes and pores… that you should be seeing in 1080 HD! There’s an example right on their own message board if your scroll down: http://forums.xfinity.com/t5/X1/X1-Video-quality-seems-poor/m-p/2966822#M136521

    I noticed it immediately watching these last episodes of Game of Thrones on HBO… thought I was losing my sight! I think Xfinity is aware of this. They took away all the detailed menu options for customers to turn off stuff like this on the new boxes. 🙁

  • Ron Turner

    I have X1 and used to be able to download a program from my DVR to my mobile device, then watch it on my TV. I can no longer do this, any idea why they took is feature away?

    • Jerilyn Johnson

      Maybe you were watching it on demand on the tv while it was still on the mobile device. On demand comes up as an option for “Ways to watch”.

  • William Holmes

    My X1 will not record some HD stations. defaults to non-HD.

  • mnedes

    the xfinity dvr boxes are huge honking piles of feces. A joke in this day and age for the box to be so big.

  • Sarah Gopher-Stevens

    Xfinity is getting worse. Contrary to your write up, you now CANNOT set a recording from anywhere. This is new. Xfinity just made the service less appealing. You CANNOT set a recording from your computer, your tablet, your phone. You can only do it from your TV at your home. TERRIBLE!!!!

  • barbzilla

    I also worked for Comcast for a few years (though I worked in internet and wifi) and while I do not agree with numerous corporate policies and decisions, I can agree with you that for the service they offer is typically far better than the majority of other companies, the main issues plaging them on the network and tv sides are the local stores sending antiquated and often untested machines that often have not had any of the requisite updates and maintence performed.

    I would often receive callers with issues that directly link to being given hardware that was already supposed to have been pulled and decomissioned. Sometimes this was because the cx had the device for an excessive amount of time, but most of the time it had just been installed by one of or techs. Thankfully the SIK’s were generally the new model device, but few customers want to do their own installs.

    As for the X1 itself, it is going in the right direction, but hasnt quite gotten there yet. This is very typical of new tech, and i still see it as a sign that they are trying to be more foward thinking (though honestly the old single def boxes were the best DVRs in the world without being a DVR at all. The on demand content was fully time controllable so there was no question if a comercial could be FF through or not. The X1 did away with this and while Comcast will flat out tell you that is just how their OnDemand content works now, it is a blatent lie. All they did was keep the old OD system and charge us more money to be able to access 60 shows of our choosing at any given time from that OD service or be forced to have to watch comercials period (even if you just accidentally rewound too far when you got distracted by the fact the New OnDemand system is about to make you rewatch that same 2-6 minute comercial break because the ir sensor sucks on the mini extention boxes.

    the service has great potential, but the dirty corporat dealings ensuring most customers have zero other options in their area giving them the financial foundation they need to push their services and their hardware closer to the top in hopes of being allowed to do business in cities that have denied them because of shady practices or bannend them from access there at all.

    enough ranting from me, i just wanted ti say hello and have a great day

  • Terrill Johnson

    When was the above article written? It states the X1 DVR can record 6 channels at once and an external hard drive will expand storage. My X1 “anyroom” DVR costs an extra $10.00/month, records 4 channels and will not accept an external hard drive.
    Also, when the internet is down the tv is locked on to one channel, can’t change channels or access the dvr.

  • Richard Wall

    I have talked with customer service rep, chatted on line with Xfinity and searched google. I have been unable to get a straight answer to this question. I currently have only TV service, not and do not want internet. If I upgrade to X1 will it work with the DVR and other features that I have with my existing equipment. Can anyone provide a yes or no answer that isn’t a maybe or a guess?

  • Gary Ruth Saxon

    Xfinity/Comcast is the worst TV service around. I am being charged for digital but getting analogy, they do not even have digital here but they sure charge for digital and laugh at you if you complain. STAY AWAY FROM THEM.

  • Ricky Pye

    This is an absolutely TERRIBLE system. I have had it for almsot two years now and it is one buggy mess. The modem/router is the biggest pile of garbage on the market. It has terrible range and it constantly kicks you off the internet. Plus dont let two people use the Wifi at the same time because that is when you really start to have problems.

  • Tim Max

    Not true! You CANNOT EXPAND the space on a X1 DVR with a external HD

  • GN

    All Comcast equipment is trash. The box in my house is completely unreliable.

  • Maria Millett

    Hey There – we didn’t delete your comment. As you can see on all of our pages, we let people comment positive and negative reviews of the company. We manually approve comments and your comment came in when we weren’t in the office.

  • Stephen Aragon

    From experience, if you plan on using your own router to avoid paying the rental fee for the Comcast Gateway, be forewarned. It will not work with the wireless cable boxes, nor will it work with Xfinity Home security without them having to add an additional comcast router behind your own personal router. I had the TG3482G Gateway that Comcast provided but the wifi range would not reach my Ring Floodlight or Ring Doorbell. Comcast suggested I purchase their mesh devices to strengthen the signal, but why would I want to pay extra for something that worked with my previous AT&T router? I decided to go with a compatible router (ASUS CM-32) from their own website, only to find out that it can’t run the wireless cable boxes or home security. Had I known this prior, it would have saved me a ton of money in purchasing the ASUS. I just want to warn those of you shopping for Xfinity service, and if you want to use your own modem to save money, you will have issues. Make sure when the install is done, you have them connect your own modem because you will be charged another install fee if you decide to install your own modem afterwards. All of this could have been avoided if the TG3482G gateway they provided (which is their newest gateway to date) had an adequate wifi signal to begin with.