If you watch a lot of TV, a double-play Internet/TV plan is almost certainly your best value option. It’s also a good option for cord-cutters, although you have to be aware of their data caps.
Comcast also has a mixed record when it comes to customer service, and the installation process can be confusing and expensive for customers who don’t know what they’re buying. If you do know what you’re buying, however, the value is hard to beat.
Comcast Xfinity plans
|Deals||Price Monthly||Internet Speed||Phone|
|Best Double Play Internet PLUS from Xfinity – Best Double Play||$8999||25 Mbps Cable||(855) 436-3540|
|Best Triple Play X1 Starter Triple Play — Best Triple Play||$8999||75 Mbps Cable||(855) 436-3540|
If you're looking to compare plans, make sure to check out our detailed guide on the latest XFINITY from Comcast deals and promotions.
Let’s start with the metric that matters most: speed.
Comcast Xfinity actually earns high marks here, and has been among the more proactive providers in the US when it comes to network upgrades. While the multitude of plans they offer can be confusing, the silver lining is that once you’ve found the plan that makes sense, the performance-to-price ratio makes for a good overall value.
Download Speeds Over Time
|City||XFINITY from Comcast Average Speed||XFINITY from Comcast Top 10% Speeds|
|Albuquerque, New Mexico||30 Mbps||77 Mbps|
|Atlanta, Georgia||44 Mbps||107 Mbps|
|Baltimore, Maryland||32 Mbps||103 Mbps|
|Chicago, Illinois||39 Mbps||90 Mbps|
|Denver, Colorado||43 Mbps||111 Mbps|
|Detroit, Michigan||12 Mbps||26 Mbps|
|Fort Lauderdale, Florida||37 Mbps||86 Mbps|
|Houston, Texas||39 Mbps||103 Mbps|
|Jacksonville, Florida||28 Mbps||78 Mbps|
|Memphis, Tennessee||19 Mbps||56 Mbps|
|Miami, Florida||37 Mbps||86 Mbps|
|Minneapolis, Minnesota||39 Mbps||103 Mbps|
|Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||35 Mbps||105 Mbps|
|Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||31 Mbps||90 Mbps|
|Portland, Oregon||48 Mbps||117 Mbps|
|Sacramento, California||41 Mbps||109 Mbps|
|Saint Paul, Minnesota||42 Mbps||110 Mbps|
|San Francisco, California||63 Mbps||169 Mbps|
|San Jose, California||52 Mbps||144 Mbps|
|Seattle, Washington||49 Mbps||122 Mbps|
Comcast and Xfinity in Brief
Comcast comes in three basic flavors: Economy, Performance, and Performance PLUS. There are a variety of subcategories within these plans, but the long and short of it is that “you get what you pay for.”
Comcast started as a Television provider, and their Internet plans are delivered over coaxial cable networks originally installed for cable TV. For most customers, the competing option will be DSL from providers like AT&T or CenturyLink, which comes over phone lines. DSL tends to be cheaper, but cable is usually superior so far as reliability and maximum speeds. If you rely on broadband for work or entertainment, it’s worth paying the extra money for a cable plan.
While cable trumps DSL, both are being replaced by 100% fiber in some areas. If you have the option, fiber networks like Verizon Fios are even better for heavy Internet users willing to pay for the best possible experience.
XFINITY from Comcast Coverage & Availability Map
Xfinity’s trump card is availability. It’s by far the largest Internet provider in the country, and for better or worse their name is practically synonymous with “Internet.”
Comcast Plans in my area
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Xfinity vs Comcast: What’s the difference?
If you’re confused by the difference between Xfinity and Comcast, you’re not alone. Long story short: there’s no major difference aside from the marketing strategy.
Comcast began rebranding some of their Internet and bundled entertainment offerings as “Xfinity” in 2010. While the name is different, the service is the same.
Comcast business broadband plans are usually sold under the “Comcast Business” brand name, while consumer-oriented packages fall under “Xfinity.”
“Comcast High Speed Internet” has also shifted to the Xfinity name, and is currently marketed as “Xfinity High Speed Internet Service.”
Xfinity cable TV
Xfinity is to cable TV as Kleenex is to tissues, but that doesn’t mean it’s the absolute best option. Channel count maxes out below 300 across Xfinity’s TV plan tiers, while satelitte providers like DIRECTV have closer to 350 and exclusive sports content like NFL Sunday Ticket. That said, budget shoppers will usually get a better price by bundling Xfinity Internet and TV into one bill.
Ultimately, the DVR you choose has as much of an effect on your TV experience as how many channels you pay for. Here’s a rundown on the specs of each DVR Xfinity currently offers in terms of storage capacity, cloud storage, and tuners for recording multiple shows at the same time.
|Standard DVR||HD DVR||TiVo||X1 DVR|
|80 GB Storage||500 GB Storage||80 GB Storage||500 GB Storage|
|45 hours HD storage||60 hours HD storage||75 hours HD storage||60 hours HD storage|
|Not cloud enabled||500 hours SD storage||500 hours SD storage||300 hours SD storage|
|2 simultaneous recordings||Not cloud enabled||Not cloud enabled||Cloud enabled|
|N/A||2 simultaneous recordings||4 simultaneous recordings||4 simultaneous recordings|
What is Xfinity X1?
Xfinity X1 is essentially a souped-up, cloud-based DVR.
“Cloud” sounds like a buzzword to most people, but the benefit here is that your video content is being stored remotely over the Internet rather than directly on your DVR, which means that you can quickly and easily summon it to your various mobile devices.
Another thing that makes the x1 platform special is all the programming you get for the price compared to standard cable. There are also some fun side features, like the ability to display sports info on the side while watching other content.
Xfinity is investing heavily in their on-demand library as well, and generally gets access to films and TV shows at least a couple weeks before “cord cutter” sources like YouTube. They’ve also been investing heavily in their on-demand library, and it’s expected to be the main selling point of their soon-to-arrive X2 system.
What is Xfinity Home Secure?
Xfinity’s home security and “smart home” services haven’t been heavily advertised yet, but there’s a strong chance they’ll be mentioned as an add-on item when you call to sign up for service. But what is “Home Secure,” and is it worth the extra $40 or so every month?
Short answer: if you have multiple smart home appliances and want to install a user-friendly security camera system, then yes, it’s probably your cheapest option that doesn’t cut corners on support for third-party devices.
Long answer: Smart home devices like the Nest thermostat are gaining traction in the US market, and Xfinity would like to be the umbrella company that ties them all together for you.
Home Secure comes with a touchscreen device that ties together your Nest, Lutron, and other smart devices so you control and program them from one central interface. This allows you to set all kinds of fun sequences (turning lights on and off at certain times, recording video when specific doors open or detect movement, etc) in a way that anyone can figure out intuitively.
The main catch with Xfinity Home Secure is that the cameras, thermostats, and other hardware items Xfinity offers for those of us who don’t already have smart devices add up quickly. The cameras are the main offender here, as each one comes with a monthly leasing cost.
The takeaway for Xfinity Home Secure: If you have a large home and want a cutting-edge video surrveilance system, you’re probably better off setting up a customized setup on your own or through another company. But if you just need a couple cameras and a smart home interface, Home Secure does the job surprisingly well. Xfinity’s Internet and TV services tend to get mixed reviews, but the Home Secure customer feedback to date has been overwhelmingly positive.
Comcast Xfinity Pros: Security, HD channels, and Public Hotspots
In our opinion, Xfinity’s public hotspot network is the best add-on feature. This system of public Wi-Fi hotspots allows customers to access public Wi-Fi using their account information in public areas throughout the country.
Comcast Includes Norton Security SuiteThe Norton Security Suite is a standard in the PC security industry. This will run you close $50 off the shelf, so having it free with your plan is a nice perk. Some of Comcast’s competitors also include security software, but it’s often second-shelf options that aren’t worth the trouble.
For the average Internet user who just wants to keep viruses off their Windows PC, Norton is hard to beat for simplicity.
Comcast Xfinity Television Services
If you don’t live in an area where X1 is available, Comcast’s regular cable TV options are still a good value for regular TV watchers.
Since Comcast uses cable TV infrastructure to deliver their broadband service, it’s no surprise that they frequently offer double-play deals that combine TV and Internet service at a low promotional price.
In most areas, the other good option for TV is DirecTV from AT&T. The pricing is simpler and they offer over 166 HD channels (as opposed to Xfinity’s 130). But Xfinity is likely to be cheaper if you purchase both in one plan.
Comcast International ProgrammingComcast also offers a wide range of international TV bundles, including Chinese, Russian, Arabic, French, and many more. (Full X1 international TV listings here.)
Availability varies slightly from area to area, so be sure to check your needs with a Comcast rep on the phone before you sign a plan agreement.
Comcast Digital Home Phone (VoIP)Many cable service providers are offering digital phone plans, usually as an added incentive for triple-play bundles. Comcast is no exception.
The digital phone services offered by Comcast are surprisingly robust, and come in two tiers: “Comcast Local with More” and “Comcast Unlimited.” Both packages require a data plan, but come with popular features such as Caller ID, call waiting, 3-way calling, call screening, repeat dialing, call return, and of course voice mail.
The main difference between the two plans is that Comcast Unlimited offers unlimited anytime calls within the United States, while “Comcast Local with More” only offers unlimited calls to the local area.
Comcast Unlimited also offers a visual voice mail interface so users can sort through calls to listen to the most important messages first.
Comcast Universal Address Book & Online VoicemailLike many of Comcast’s rivals, Comcast has been trying to find ways to integrate their services in order to build value. One example of this is the Comcast Digital Voice Mail service.
Anyone who has both Comcast’s telephone service and Comcast data plan can access their voicemail online, anywhere in the world.
Comcast also offers a Universal Address Book through the Xfinity Connect app, which keeps all contact data in a single place accessible via the cloud.
Both of these features are likely more interesting for regular travelers than the average Internet user. (In fact, some might be more than a little leery of putting all of their contact data in a single place on the Internet.)
Comcast Cons: Data Caps and Overage Fees
Data CapsComcast is one of a handful of Internet Service Providers to introduce “data caps” in recent years. This is bad news for streamers and all-day Internet users, who used to be able to surf to their heart’s content without fear of “going overboard.”
Most customers only use 100 Gbps of data per month. This is only a tenth of the Terabyte required to break the limit. However, a-la-carte data fees for those who do are surprisingly steep and many customers have interpreted this as a move calculated to discourage streaming from companies like Netflix.
Data caps have already risen to a terabyte limit in most areas since they were first announced years ago, and are expected to continue rising as average usage goes up thanks to 4k screens and smart home appliances.
Hardware Rental FeesLike most broadband providers, Comcast will encourage you to rent a modem and Wi-Fi router unit along with your plan for around $10/month.
While they may claim that it provides the best possible Wi-Fi, the fact is that using your own modem and router will probably deliver better home network performance… Not to mention that $10/month adds up to hundreds of dollars over the course of a two-year contract.
If you opt to use your own hardware, it’s also likely that you can get the installation fee waived and self-install over the phone. Just be sure the modem and router you buy are compatible with Comcast, budget a couple hours for navigating the call center and getting the router set up the way you want it.
Conclusion: Xfinity is A Solid Default Option for Internet and TV
Xfinity gets a bad rap in the press, but they’ve been making huge strides to improve the quality and simplicity of their services. Long gone are the funky bills with endless itemized fees — now, you get a simple bill that closely reflects the services you signed up for with no “surprises.”
Their X1 TV platform is one of the better smart TV options on the market, and the promotional pricing they’re running around it is insane. Current customers can expect to get monthly calls from Xfinity offering additional services for unusually low costs.
If TV and fast Internet are your core entertainment needs, Xfinity is our recommended option.
XFINITY from Comcast at a Glance
|Statistic||XFINITY from Comcast|
|Price Range||$89.99 - $89.99/mo+|
|Customer Recommendation Rating on BroadbandNow.com||40.4%|
|ACSI Customer Service Rating||59/100|
References and Footnotes
Jessica Sims is a technology blogger and broadband industry veteran. Her background as an administrator and customer support employee for a major ISP informs her passion for helping consumers understand their service options.
James Webb is a tech and gadgets expert with a focus on educational content development. He draws on his background in the startup world to make complicated technologies and topics easy to understand for normal folks.