Xfinity Home Security
The touchscreen hub is intuitive
Automated rules are easy to set up
The system provides multiple devices for arming and disarming
A custom Gateway modem creates a reliable wireless network
You can see a live feed from security cameras on your television
Offers video doorbell camera
The look and feel of the system is slightly outdated
The single indoor/outdoor camera is low resolution and lacks a privacy feature
Notifications and other functions have a slight delay
Xfinity Home Security
Installing home security sensors and cameras can feel like adding yet another high-tech system to your life. Xfinity, the popular television and internet provider, simplifies things by having the cable company’s technicians install door sensors and cameras and set up a touchscreen to manage how they work. You can also save on your monthly bill by bundling security with other home tech provided by Xfinity.
There are other advantages to Xfinity Home including the ability to arm and disarm the system—or glance at a feed from security cameras—using your television’s Voice Remote.
However, convenience comes with drawbacks. The system lacks the most sophisticated interface and interactions offered by leading competitors. Its cameras are low resolution, lack a privacy function, and the interface experiences notification delays.
In our five-week test of Xfinity Home, the core system of sensors and motion detectors performed well. The touchscreen hub and mobile app are great, although the design feels about one generation behind the times. If you want the latest and greatest in smart-home tech, then take a look at a dedicated security company like Vivint or ADT. But if aesthetic concerns are a non-issue for you, then consider joining the one million customers who use Xfinity Home to protect their homes.
Establishing an Xfinity Home account starts just like ordering television, internet, or voice services from Comcast. Give the cable company a call or if you are an existing customer use your current account. Of course, you should be prepared to go through an automated voice system before speaking with a representative about home security options. When we got through that minor hassle, the rep was knowledgeable and helpful.
I originally purchased a basic package that included four contact sensors, one motion sensor, a keypad, and a touchscreen hub. However, this plan is no longer available—the closest package they now offer is their Complete Home System Plan. The Complete Home System package comes with all the same devices, except it has five contact sensors instead of four. You'll be expected to sign a two-year contract for professional monitoring for around $20 a month.
It is difficult to give a specific price range for Xfinity Home packages because prices vary depending on your region. However, Xfinity could offer special pricing and bundles with other Comcast services. A package like their Home Security Protection Plus Plan can potentially cost you as low as $30 per month and Pro Protection Plus can be as low as $40 per month. Prices can also vary depending on how many other Xfinity security services you opt to bundle. While we prefer transparent and upfront pricing for home security, these Xfinity bundles may save you money.
The technician who came to install our system was knowledgeable and friendly. But don’t expect to hear about all the nuances of smart, perimeter-wide protection of your home or have a long talk about the relative virtues of using multiple window sensors versus using a single motion sensor to protect an entire area. Xfinity Home sends a pre-visit checklist to help but, that doesn’t relate to choosing the devices.
Expect only the most essential security sensors and cameras, as well as a smart thermostat, smoke detector, and outlet controller. For other smart-home devices listed as “partners” on the Xfinity Home website, you’ll need to buy those directly from other sources. Some Xfinity retail locations in your region might sell some smart devices such as lightbulbs and locks.
Xfinity Home is a professionally installed home security system interconnected with your cable television and internet services. We did not previously have Xfinity cable television, so the first order of business was establishing the television service and making sure that we had a fast, solid Wi-Fi network in the home. That meant upgrading to the Xfinity XB6 Gateway Modem—equipped with dual-band 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz router for long-range Wi-Fi.
Xfinity Home prefers that you rent the XB6, however the rental does add money to your monthly bill. We later discovered that Xfinity can use your existing modem (by attaching an add-on piece of equipment) at no monthly cost.
The technician also plugged in a Wi-Fi “pod” manufactured by Plume (a provider of home-based Wi-Fi mesh equipment and services). The little pods plug into an outlet and automatically sync with the Xfinity modem to increase the reliability of system communications.
Then we were guided through installing two smartphone apps. The first one, xFi, manages the network and its connections, devices, and speed testing. Those network functions do not come with the main Xfinity Home app. Some Xfinity customers might need two additional apps for account services and streaming media—creating a jumble of four different smartphone apps.
With the Gateway Modem up and running and the apps working as they should, you’ll have a secure wireless network (or SSID) for your security system. Your existing home Wi-Fi will operate on a separate network.
Before Xfinity showed up, our test home already had a Nest thermostat, Kwikset smart lock, and a Philips Hue gateway device for controlling a few lightbulbs. Xfinity technicians do not install any of these smart-home devices. It took a few tries over a few days to get the Philips Hue lightbulbs connected with Xfinity Home, a problem the technician knew about when installing the system but did not help resolve.
However, Xfinity sells and supports Sengled smart lightbulbs that couldn’t be any easier to connect. Just screw in the bulb, use the “Add a device” function, and immediately you have a way to turn those lights on and off in the app. You can easily set up rules like turning on lights at a particular hour or when you enter through a specific door. Heads up to those with Nest and Ring devices—they are not included in the Xfinity app’s “compatible smart devices” section.
It was just as easy to automate the power to any appliance with Xfinity’s plug-and-play “outlet controller.”
During the installation, we decided on the quantity and location of door/window sensors and cameras. The message was, “It’s your home, so it’s up to you.” We decided on a system with seven door sensors, two motion detectors, and two security cameras. After we selected their location, the technician was proficient with their installation, including the outdoor camera that required a modest amount of drilling and wiring. The tech also ran a set of diagnostics to ensure a strong signal to each device.
We thought about adding a third camera and more Plume “pods,” but those devices were not available in the truck. We strongly suggest making a detailed list of desired devices and making sure they are included in the order before an Xfinity technician arrives.
Finally, we walked through how the system works, the use of the touchscreen hub versus mobile apps, and how to name the devices. Again, Xfinity Home technicians were professional, helpful, and courteous.
How It Works
Xfinity Home provides no fewer than five different ways to arm and disarm the system:
- A touchscreen
- The Xfinity Home mobile app
- The X1 voice-enabled television remote control
- A wireless button-based keypad
- A keychain remote
In principle, it can be advantageous to have so many access points. On the other hand, each one of the interfaces operates differently, so it takes time to figure out which controller should be used.
For example, the wireless keypad—ideal for keeping by your bedside—has a color indicator light but not a screen. An amber light indicates that one of your doors is open but no information about which one. The touchscreen, based on our experience, was the best way to arm and disarm the system—but doesn’t provide a way to set up automated rules. You will need to use your smartphone app to set up automated rules. Continuously recorded video is only viewable via the web dashboard.
The touchscreen's icons and fonts are large, bold, and a bit outdated. But we came to appreciate the screen’s simplicity and easy visibility. Whenever you’re ready to arm, push the giant “Disarmed” virtual button. Then select Away, Stay, or Night, enter your security code, and a two-minute countdown begins.
Like most security systems, the Home status turns on door/window sensors but bypasses motion detectors so you can move freely in the house. The Away mode activates both types of sensors. Night mode works just like the Stay function but gives you the option to enable motion detectors in low-traffic areas such as garages, attics, and basements.
If you opt for the Pro Protection Plus plan, the video feeds are continuously recorded via a cloud-based virtual recorder. When the camera detects motion, a video clip of the “motion event” is added to your timeline. You can also control the type of motion that triggers the notification
At the time of review, the company did not have access to a two-way talk function or offer a video doorbell. Currently, they offer an Xfinity doorbell camera featuring two-way talk, which allows you to view and speak with a person at your door or in your yard.
Xfinity Home could be the ideal security choice if family members do not have a smartphone or prefer not to use one. They can use the television remote to see camera feeds and arm or disarm the system. The smartphone alternative can be achieved by pushing the microphone icon on the Xfinity button and speaking commands, such as “Xfinity Home, arm” or “Xfinity Home, show me back door camera.” TV watchers will appreciate the ability to turn lights on and off without leaving the couch.
We appreciated Xfinity’s test mode, an easy-to-follow process to ensure that all the sensors are working—an important task to perform for any security system every month or so. The mobile app has a chat function to contact tech support. On one occasion, we had to wait for 15 minutes to chat with a tech agent who was not well informed. But on a second chat, we immediately reached a helpful agent.
Easy automation: Most security systems allow you to set up automated rules that control the alarm and smart-home devices. However, some of the competition can be overly complicated. But Xfinity Home’s mobile app displays automation rules in plain English, using web-style underlined links to change the parameters. Here’s an example:
- At 6:00 a.m. disarm security system.
Tap any of the underlined items to make a change. If I click 6:00 a.m. the next screen allows me to change the time, or switch it to sunrise or sunset. It’s just as easy to set the rule to, for example, arming the system at midnight.
We created another rule to turn on our living room light when we step into the room—and turn it off after 10 minutes. Here’s how it looks:
- When Living room motion detects motion, turn on
- Living room light and turn off after 10 minutes.
Notifications use the same simple process so that you can get an email, text message, app notification, or X1 message (sent to the television) if a specific door is opened or closed. You can also get a similar notification if the door does not open by a particular time—so parents of teenagers know if their kids returned by their curfew.
You can even set up “rule templates” that customize a scene or rule. For example, a "Good Night" template could send you a SMS notification if a door in your home remains open for five minutes. Of course, many home security systems can do something similar, but not with the same level of ease.
Biometric security: When you set up Xfinity Home, you’ll establish a four-digit code to control the keypad as well as a passcode word. If the alarm goes off, the professional remote monitoring center will call your phone to verify if it’s a real break-in or a false alarm. Then you will confirm your identity by giving them your secret passcode. These settings are controlled via your smartphone app, which essentially becomes the key to the system.
As a security measure, the app confirms your identity when changing settings, including these crucial codes. Typing in your phone’s passcode each time can be a nuisance. So Xfinity Home allows you to use your phone’s Face ID or fingerprint ID to confirm that you’re the one making the changes.
Prices and Fees
There was no mandatory upfront cost for Xfinity Home’s basic starter package at the time of my purchase. That’s usually how traditional security companies, including Xfinity, get you to commit to a two-year contract for professional monitoring. However, Xfinity Home's current lowest-priced plan, the Base Home System package—consisting of three door/ window sensors, one touchscreen controller, one motion sensor, and one yard sign—costs $15/month for 24 months or $360 upfront, as a one-time payment.
Many homeowners will want to protect their homes completely and this package only covers one to two entrances. That's why it might be worth it to upgrade to the Complete Home System that includes all of the above but adds the addition of a keypad controller and five total door/window sensors instead of three. Below is the per-item cost of the equipment I purchased for my own home to give you a better idea of the price range you'll be looking at for each:
Door/window sensor: $20
Motion sensor: $40
Indoor/outdoor camera: $120
Zen Thermostat: $120
Smoke detector: $70
Outlet controller: $50
Wireless keypad: $40
The system that we installed consisted of 10 window sensors, a motion sensor, a keypad, and two cameras. We also added a $120 Zen Thermostat and a $50 outlet controller. For that set of equipment, we had the option to pay $720 upfront or finance it without interest at $32 a month for 24 months. Total pricing will vary based on the security system, add ons chosen, and region of the country where installation occurs.
Our price is in addition to the cost of professional monitoring and the $14 a month rented modem. Remember that Xfinity Comcast frequently offers special prices when bundling home security with television, internet, and telephone.
Xfinity Home is a brand of Comcast. Working with a large national media-services company is a different proposition than getting home security from a firm that strictly focuses on home security. For example, competitors like Vivint will make sure you have the latest, greatest gear—and its technicians help you install and support smart locks, lights, garage openers, and personal assistants. Xfinity Home is a more generic offering.
That’s perfectly fine if you believe that protecting your home with a few sensors and a basic security camera is a commodity. In exchange, you’ll save some hassle and probably a few dollars. As a bonus, you can use your big-screen television and remote control to manage the system.
Xfinity Home is a reliable home security solution. It works like a traditional security company that locks you into a two-year contract. The gear might be slightly generic but, Xfinity Home provides a reliable service with professional installation and monitoring.
- Product Name Xfinity Home Security