Few names are more recognizable in the telecommunications industry than Comcast. Xfinity, the brand name for Comcast’s video, internet, phone and wireless offerings since 2010, operates in 39 U.S. states and Washington D.C., and has been around since 1963.
Close to 29 million people across the country use Comcast. They subscribe to a Comcast service like Xfinity TV or Xfinity Internet, or even both with one of Comcast’s bundles, which allow consumers to group multiple products in exchange for a discount. As of the beginning of 2017 there were 22.5 million Xfinity TV customers and nearly 25 million Xfinity Internet customers.
In a climate where more consumers of televised entertainment are choosing to end their relationships with cable TV companies, Comcast retains a loyal base of subscribers who appreciate that the company is at the leading edge of technology. Those who do “cut the cord” often stay on as Xfinity Internet customers, benefiting from some of the fastest speeds available.
In this article, we give an in-depth look at the TV and internet services from Comcast and offers advantages, disadvantages and bottom-line views of Comcast service.
Comcast Services, Plans, Bundles and Cost
Comcast offers its Xfinity TV and Xfinity Internet services in a variety of formats, allowing customers to customize their subscriptions based on preferences and needs. Television and internet can each be purchased separately or as part of a Comcast bundle.
What Xfinity TV packages are available?
The options for Xfinity TV packages may vary depending on where you live. But generally you will have several different options, mainly differing by the number of channels you get.
Xfinity TV Packages
|Choice TV||Limited Basic||Digital Starter||Digital Preferred||Digital Premier|
|Cost per month (first year)||$30||$46.95||$59.99||$69.99||$84.99|
|# of Channels||10+||10+||140+||220+||260+|
|Premium channels||None||None||ESPN/ESPN2/NBCSN||STARZENCORE/Nat Geo WILD/NFL Network||HBO/SHOWTIME/STARZ|
|Based on availability near Philadelphia, near Comcast headquarters|
Which Xfinity TV package should I buy?
To determine which package you should buy, think about which channels matter most to you. Keep in mind that if you cancel and decide to rejoin, or you downgrade, you may lose the promotional rate that is typically given to new customers. Therefore it may make sense to start conservatively and add channels as necessary.
What Xfinity Internet packages are available?
Although Comcast’s cable video revenue is decreasing, a trend due to cord-cutting and fewer residential Xfinity TV customers, its latest financial results, from Q3 2018, show a substantial increase in revenues from Xfinity Internet subscribers.
Xfinity offers a range of internet speeds, each of which is designed to accommodate a specific number of devices. Plans may include an Xfinity data plan that caps users at one terabyte of data per month, which more than 99 percent of customers do not exceed, according to Comcast. Overages are calculated in 50-gigabyte blocks at $10 each. An unlimited data plan is available.
Xfinity Internet Packages
|Performance||Performance Starter||Extreme Pro||Performance Pro||Gigabit||Blast!||Gigabit Pro|
|Cost per month (first year)||$39.99||$49.95||$79.99||$89.95||$89.99||$92.95||$299.95|
|Download speed||60 Mbps||15 Mbps||400 Mbps||150 Mbps||1,000 Mbps||250 Mbps||2,000 Mbps|
|Number of devices||5||1||12+||6-8||Unlimited||8+||Unlimited|
|Based on availability near Philadelphia, near Comcast headquarters|
Which Xfinity Internet package should I buy?
The decision will depend on how you (and others in your household) use the internet. If you stream on multiple devices, at least 100 Mbps is usually recommended, but if it’s only light streaming that matters, you can get away with less. Higher speeds are ideal for multiplayer gaming and heavy usage.
With Xfinity Internet, customers can purchase their own compatible modem or rent an xFi Gateway, Xfinity’s modem/router combo device. With an xFi gateway and the free xFi app, you can pause Wi-Fi access, see who is using your connection, protect your network from malware and more. Purchasing xFi Pods can help expand connectivity throughout your home.
What Xfinity bundles are available?
Comcast bundles together internet and television and calls it the Xfinity Double Play. A bundle that adds a third Comcast service is a Triple Play, and a fourth, a Quad Play. Customers have over 10 options for the internet/television Double Play.
|Choice Double Play||Standard Double Play||Select Double Play||Signature Double Play||Super Double Play|
|Cost per month (first year)||$49.99-$64.99||$79.99||$89.99||$109.99||$139.99|
|Download speed||100 Mbps||150 Mbps||150 Mbps||150 Mbps||250 Mbps|
|Based on availability near Philadelphia, near Comcast headquarters|
Which Xfinity Double Play should I buy?
Even if you are considering joining the millions of Americans who have sworn off multichannel television from a cable or satellite company, it’s worth checking the math to figure out how much you’ll actually save. In some cases, for example, an Xfinity Double Play can cost less money than buying internet and paying for a live TV streaming service.
With a Comcast bundle, also consider that if you combine at least Performance Internet service with Digital Starter TV, you can use X1. An X1 TV box integrates your television and internet to offer 4K UHD and 4K UDH/HDR viewing, voice control and more.
Our Review: The Deep Dive
When it comes to availability, reliability and technological capability, few in the industry can stand shoulder to shoulder with Comcast. Xfinity TV is personalizing the television-viewing experience, giving consumers choices of over 300 channels (including over 100 in HD), Xfinity On Demand with more than 90,000 TV series and movies, mobile streaming, anytime-access of DVR recordings and the X1 Voice Remote.
Xfinity Internet comes in numerous tiers and is delivered through one of the largest fiber networks in the U.S. According to the FCC’s latest measures of consumer broadband performance, internet from Comcast delivered at least 95 percent of advertised speeds for at least 80 percent of customers, second among 13 internet service providers. And the Netflix ISP Speed Index, which measures the service’s prime-time performance, ranks Comcast first overall.
Despite its A- rating from the Better Business Bureau, Comcast reviews among customers are mixed. Those who give Xfinity low ratings most often cite poor customer service. This is not uncommon in the industry; ISPs and subscription television providers are the worst-performing business types for customer satisfaction, data from the American Customer Satisfaction Index shows. In 2018, Xfinity scored a 60 out of 100 in the ISP category and a 57 in television. The average in both categories was 62.
How does Comcast Xfinity rate?
Comcast Xfinity is a leader in the telecommunications industry. The company may not be the most affordable or have the best customer service. But Comcast's internet and television are dependable, available and at the front line of technological advancement, a fact that explains why Xfinity products are in millions of Americans' homes.
Available in a large part of the country; fast internet; wide choice of TV and internet plans; 30-day cancellation policy; services available without time commitments.
Prices can rise after promotional terms end; poor customer service; cheaper alternatives.
Always start by checking which providers are in your area, comparing plans and pricing. Comcast should be on the list. Xfinity is a safe, if not perfect, choice, likely to meet your TV and internet needs — and do it well.
I've been wanting to get off of SmartZone for some time. There are many reasons why, but the primary ones are: 1) They have lost my mail. I logged in one morning and most of the mail in an important personal folder was gone. All of my folders except for deleted items is set to never delete. I called into tech support and they told me that currently they cannot recover mail that is in a user-created subfolder. First, they said they don't back up mail. I just laughed.
Then the "advanced" tech support said they are only be able to recover mail that was in the inbox and not a personal folder. That's great. Where did my mail go in the first place?; 2) Advertising in my mail client. I'm amazed at how long I've put up with it. Typical, high-handed, Comcast-monopoly jamming advertising down my throat whether TV or email.
I could live with this lame webmail client if not for the two problems above. But, there are many more reasons I don't like Smartzone. Here are the ones I can remember: 1) Slow as all get out. This could almost be listed as a primary reason that I hate Smartzone. I'm sure too that some of this slowness is due to having to build the advertising web page. How pathetic. This is an email client, not a billboard; 2) Only view or manipulate 100 messages at a time.
3) Cannot specify what folder to search in. It just searches everything; 4) Can't search by date or any other criteria. 5) Right-click mouse button has no copy / paste function like the rest of the standardized world.
6) Auto-save constantly interrupts me. Even when in another application, pig-faced Comcast switches windows on me if I happen to have a partially composed mail open. I mean, why not do the auto-save in the background instead of interrupting what I'm doing in another window?; 7) No reasonable ability to backup mail. Just try moving your mail somewhere. And that brings me to my last point - the best way to do that. I'm doing it right now and since I'm waiting for the mail to be forwarded to my new mail client, I thought I'd write this review of Smartzone and Comcast email and suggest the most reasonable way I could think of to lose this awful thing.
HOW TO FORWARD MAIL FROM SMARTZONE TO A NEW EMAIL CLIENT: When asked how to migrate mail from SmartZone to a new mail client, I've read suggestions by Comcast Support to just forward your emails to yourself. Just imagine if you have ten thousand emails. Sure, that would work if I were in prison and had six months of spare time.
That's the worst thing you could do is to try to forward individually or even in bundles (which all become attachments to a single mail and can be too large to send). You can't just forward a 100 emails. You could try, but they'd be sent out as one email with 100 attachments.
THE BETTER WAY: All you have to do is use Outlook Express or what I just installed which is Mozilla Thunderbird email client (free download). If you set either to leave a copy of mail on the server and to synchronize their inbox with the server then all of your "unread" mail will automatically forward out of the SmartZone inbox to your new email client. Just go through each page of email, unfortunately only 100 messages at a time.
Click on the square box that is above all of your messages at the top left so that 100 messages all get selected at a time. Then right click on the selected area and choose "mark as unread". Do that for every page of emails that you want forwarded to your new email client. As long as they are set to "unread", they will be copied to your new client. Some might have a select to synchronize with the server, in which case, select that.
That's the fairly easy part. But, what if you have lots of mail in personal folders in SmartZone? Or, what if like me, you really need your sent mail? There might be a better way to do this but I haven't found it. Here's what I did though. Once all my inbox mail was transferred to my new email client, I created a personal folder in Thunderbird. You can do the same in Outlook Express. Then I moved all of my transferred mail to a personal folder called SAVED_MAIL. I like to do that now and again anyway just to keep my inbox manageable. So now my inbox is completely empty in my new email client.
What I did then is to select all of the mail in my sent mail folder in SmartZone and mark it as unread just like I did with my inbox. I then moved that mail to my SmartZone Inbox. That's the only way to have it get automatically transferred to my new email client. Since my inbox is empty at this point, any or at least most of the mail arriving there will be the mail that was originally in my sent mail folder from SmartZone. That way I don't get my inbox mail mixed up with my sent mail.
As each 100 messages was transferred in Smartmail from the sent mail folder to the SmartZone inbox, I'd hit "get mail" in Thunderbird and it would grab those new unread messages from Smartzone which are really my sent mail in SmartZone. So, each 100 messages that I move in Smartzone from the sent mail folder to the inbox, I then switch to Thunderbird and hit the "get mail" button and it goes and gets that next 100 messages. I kept doing that simultaneously to save time.
Once all of my SmartZone sent mail was transferred to the inbox of my new mail client inbox, I created another local folder in Thunderbird called SAVED_SENT_MAIL and moved all of the mail from my Thunderbird inbox to that new folder. That takes almost no time at all because it's all on the local hard disk at that point.
You'd do the same thing with mail that you saved in any personal folders in SmartZone. To get that mail to your new mail client more or less automatically, you have to move it to your SmartZone inbox. The more mail you have in personal folders on SmartZone, the longer this is going to take you. If you have most or all of your mail in your inbox, then this whole deal goes pretty quickly. If not and depending on how much mail you're trying to forward to your new mail client using this "synchronization method", the longer it will take.
But, the method above is far better than trying to forward every piece of mail separately to yourself. If you select multiple messages to forward at the same time, SmartZone bundles them all up as attachments into one mail and sends like that instead of separately.
So, depending on how many you decide to forward at once, the single message might be too large to send and it will bounce back. In any case, I would not like my email all bundled into attachments of ten or twenty emails. I want them to remain individual messages as they were intended to be. I hope this helps anyone trying to escape SmartZone. It is absolutely a horrible webmail client and I am now free of it. Thank God.
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA -- I don't know why Comcast switched to SmartZone. I am pretty computer savvy but to me, SmartZone is complicated and not efficient. It is also VERY slow to download, despite your connection speed. I am not happy at all. I will have to switch emails soon.
MOUNTVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA -- I said GOODBYE to Comcast last April 2008, both for TV and Internet. I could write a book about price increases, no customer service, having to get their converter box to view channels they moved that were included in my package etc. But now I am being plagued by Comcast again. Friends of mine that are "still" using Comcast send me emails. They arrive in my Inbox and I can open them open up, BUT I HAVE TO SCROLL DOWN AND DOWN AND DOWN AND DOWN TO READ THESE EMAILS.
I have not admitted to my friends but it is so annoying that sometimes it is not worth it to scroll down what seems like forever. I have been told Comcast is working on it just like they are working at improving their customer service. The ONLY solution would be for them to dump Comcast like I did.
VIRGINIA -- Comcast SmartZone e-mail has numerous issues and they have been known to Comcast for months. For example, it is impossible to forward an embedded picture to someone and have that picture show up at the other end. Comcast offers "workarounds" such as forwarding as an attachment. Naturally you cannot delete previous addresses doing that. Numerous phone calls, chats, etc demonstrate to me that Comcast has no intention of fixing these problems. This isn't rocket science.
Since the previous version of Comcast email did not have this issue, one has to wonder what their motivation really is. They state "our people are working on this but we have no date when it will be fixed." I recommend to anyone considering e-mail providers that you look elsewhere. The cost of high-speed internet at Comcast doesn't come close to providing even the most basic service. The solution to Comcast's problems is to replace the senior management and I mean the most senior management.
BELCAMP, MARYLAND -- I was away and when I came back SmartZone was on my computer. I do not want it! How do I get it off? I will use Yahoo or some other engine if I can't get it off!!
MASSACHUSETTS, MASSACHUSETTS -- I am writing this review for three reasons. First I want to know if there is anyone else out there that finds the advertising banner on the side of the email screen intrusive and aggravating. Secondly, I want to encourage others to report this problem to the proper governmental authority. I am in the process of following through with this and when I find the right place to complain I will come back here and leave the address.
Lastly, I just want to vent. I contacted Comcast to ask if there was a way to permanently block or hide this banner and they said no. This kind of advertising is new because it comes up on the side of my email (my personal space!) that I pay for and interferes with the peace of mind that I need to read my emails. The distraction of the flashing advertisement is not only very annoying but I also think it's flat out wrong for Comcast to have allowed advertisers to do this. It's the same kind of tactics that the telemarketers used and now they are legally limited to what they can do because of their overly aggressive practices.
I also feel that I have a right to privacy with my email and I think that these advertisements in my private space are intrusive and take away my right to privacy. Besides, I know that I can go to Hotmail or Gmail to set up another account but why should I be put through that aggravation.
So the big question here is: what is my space and who can interfere with it legally? My right to privacy is at issue here and if you also feel the same then please leave a note telling me so. We can stop this intrusion on our privacy like we did with the telemarketers and soon to be spammers. We can stop it by socking it to them in their pocketbooks, legally! Thanks for listening :)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- I've been with Comcast now for 7 years. They just switched their email program to SMARTZONE, it's horrible. The screen is now very small and it's so confusing that I can't even use it anymore. I am in the process to changing all my email to another program such as Gmail or Hotmail. Stay away from Comcast email!!! Right now it's not working again!!!
The information we provide and the analysis we share is always free. So, how do we survive? We get compensated by our partners, which may sometimes influence the products or services we review and the order in which they appear. Our suggestions and guidance are unbiased and are based only on our thorough research.