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Comcast calls Xfinity X1 an entertainment operating system, and it is. But in more practical terms, it’s the interface on your TV for finding everything you want to watch, hear, or play. You can find live television broadcasts, music apps, and even some games. It can even connect to some smart home security systems, so that you can see a video feed of your front stoop from the safety of your couch.
While it offers a lot, it’s not available everywhere, and it requires other Comcast subscriptions to use. Here’s what you need to know aboutXfinity X1.
What is Comcast’s Xfinity X1?
Comcast’s Xfinity X1 is a TV and entertainment service that you set up through a set-top box with DVR. (Comcast calls it the X1 Self-Install Kit.) With Xfinity X1, you can watch or listen to a wide variety of entertainment, from on-demand TV to music, on all your devices. The key is the interface, which consolidates everything you might want to watch and makes it searchable from one place. You can find live news broadcasts, sports games, movies on Netflix, and shows on Amazon Prime. It has a few other interesting features, such as voice controls and the ability to connect to your home security system.
As a DVR, the Xfinity X1 lets you record TV shows, even while you’re watching something else, and save the videos to the cloud. Later, you can stream or download the content onto whatever devices you want.
How Xfinity X1 works
The Xfinity X1 has six tuners, which means it can record up to six channel simultaneously.
When watching live TV, you can pause and go back up to 60 minutes. So if you’re 15 minutes late to watch a sports match with your family, you can ask them nicely to back it up so that you can catch the beginning.
For DVR storage, you get 500GB, which amounts to 50 or 60 hours of HD video, and more if you record in standard definition. Several other popular DVRs give you 1TB of space. If you need more with the X1, you can add an external hard drive. In some locations, Comcast offers DVR storage in the cloud, which opens up a ton of possibilities for how you can stream and download the content (more on that momentarily).
If you’re a real TV and entertainment junkie, it’s worth mentioning that Xfinity has more than 150,000 titles on-demand, and the majority of them are included with X1.
Xfinity X1 DVR cloud storage
The real selling point on the DVR side is that Comcast lets you save your recordings to the cloud. That gives you the ability to stream them and download them to your devices even when you’re not home. And if you do this over an Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot, then you can watch or download without using your mobile data. One thing to note is that you can’t download or stream content if you’re traveling outside the U.S., so be sure to download content and save it to your device before you go.
The X1 cloud features aren’t available everywhere, however, so check with Comcast before getting your hopes up.
If you can get DVR storage in the cloud, you can stream recorded videos on up to five devices at once or watch a DVR recording while it’s in progress, as long as you’re on your home network.
What else is special about Xfinity X1?
Compared with other set-top boxes and DVRs, Comcast’s Xfinity X1 has a few features with noting.
Search and suggestions
Xfinity X1 is like a search engine for everything in your entertainment library. It searches all the apps at once, so if you look for The Good Place, you can see which apps carry it, as well as details about it on NBC.
And instead of sorting content by channel, you can see what’s available based on genre, like action movies, or kid-friendly content. You can also browse suggestions that X1 dishes up based on your viewing history.
The Xfinity X1 remote control includes a voice command button. Press and hold it, then tell it to “pause,” “skip ahead,” and so forth. You can also search using the voice controller by asking for the name of a show, a sports team, an actor, and more.
Security system controller
If you have a security system from Comcast (or another supported one), you can connect it to your X1 setup. Then you’ll be able to see feeds of security cameras around your home, for example, and otherwise manage the system.
Examples of Xfinity X1 apps
Here are a few of the apps you can find on Xfinity X1, listed alphabetically:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Easy Pair (for screen mirroring)
- HSN Shop by Remote
- Photos (from your collections)
- Xfinity xFi (for managing your home network)
Comcast Xfinity X1 cost and availability
To get Xfinity X1 from Comcast, it has to be available in your area. Additionally, you need to be a subscriber to Xfinity TV and Xfinity Internet, and have either the Digital Starter TV or Performance Internet package. (You can check what’s available in your area here.)
According to Comcast, pricing is subject to change, but in general, expect to pay about $10 per month for just the Xfinity X1 portion of your subscription package.
Should you get Xfinity X1?
While the Xfinity X1 offers a lot of neat features, it’s clearly not for everyone. It’s really for people who already have other Xfinity services. If your household is already using Xfinity services and you are a bunch of serious media enthusiasts—TV especially—then it’s worth considering. Otherwise, you might keep your mind open to the variety you can find among the best streaming devices.
New to cord-cutting? Here are our picks for the best movie streaming sites of 2018 and free live TV apps and channels. If you’re looking for a specific channel, here’s how to watch HBO, Showtime, Starz, Sundance TV, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPNU, Willow, AMC, FX, Fox News, Freeform, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, FS1, TBS, TNT, Tennis Channel, Golf Channel, Syfy, HGTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Bravo, Lifetime, Discovery, PBS, the CW, BBC, CSPAN, NBA TV, MTV, Comedy Central, Food Network, TLC, HLN, A&E, Animal Planet, National Geographic, the Weather Channel, the History Channel, and NFL RedZone without cable, as well as free movies on YouTube. If you’re on the move, here’s how to watch Fox Sports Go and live stream NBC Sports.
Jill Duffy is a writer covering technology and personal productivity. She writes most often about software, fitness gadgets, and smart home devices. Her work has appeared in PCMag, FastCompany, Vogue India, The Ritz-Carlton Magazine, Prevention Magazine, and other publications. She has lived in the U.S., U.K., and India, and currently resides in Romania.