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What Is Xfinity and How Is It Different from Comcast?

You’ve probably heard of Comcast—and you’ve probably also heard of Xfinity, especially if you frequent our site. You may have also seen some confusing branding, like “Comcast Xfinity” or “Xfinity by Comcast.” Sometimes the two names are even used interchangeably. So what’s the deal?

Are Xfinity and Comcast the same thing?
At their root, yes. Think of them as two heads of the same beast. We’ll get into more details in a minute.

So did Xfinity purchase Comcast?
Well, no. Xfinity was formed by Comcast in 2010 to—ironically—try and avoid confusion as Comcast expanded its brand. Why’s that ironic? Considering that you’re here reading this, it doesn’t seem like Xfinity really did the job it was intended to.

If you have more questions about the difference between Comcast and Xfinity, you’re not alone. But don’t worry—we’ve got all the answers you need right here. Read on to learn exactly how Xfinity and Comcast are related.

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What is Comcast?

Here’s a little history: Comcast was founded in the mid-1960s and eventually built up quite a customer base, providing cable service to tens of millions of subscribers across the US. In the ‘90s, Comcast started offering internet service, eventually picking up over 40%  of the US broadband market. Most of Comcast’s focus up to this point had been on sports programming, broadcast exclusives, and Olympics coverage.

What is Xfinity?

In 2010, right around the time of the Winter Olympics, Comcast was in the process of merging with NBC. Since Comcast was primarily known as a TV and internet service provider (ISP), the folks in charge of marketing thought it might be confusing to continue adding services and products to what used to be a narrowly focused brand.

The solution was to form Xfinity: a consumer-facing internet and television brand. This is a fairly common practice—nothing out of the ordinary here. Comcast would remain as the parent company, and Comcast’s various services would be rebranded to Xfinity. Comcast High-Speed Internet became Xfinity Internet, Comcast TV became Xfinity TV, etc. Some enterprise and business services are still branded as Comcast, but everything the average consumer sees is Xfinity these days.

Did it work?

Well, not really—or at least not as well as Comcast probably hoped. There is still an unfortunate amount of cross-branding (like the “Comcast Xfinity” references you’ll occasionally see), and generally, nobody seems to know the difference between the two or why Comcast uses the Xfinity name.

Although it’s been eight years and things have generally settled down, there was initially some controversy around the rebrand. There were a couple reasons. First, it didn’t work all that well. If anything, it seemed to confuse consumers more than clarify things for them.

Second, there was some concern that Comcast undertook the rebranding in an attempt to move away from the negative image associated with the Comcast brand. Comcast’s reputation for horrendous customer service is pretty well known. In fact, there’s a pretty thriving online community built around the “Comcast sucks” catchphrase.

The claim that Comcast created Xfinity to try to erase the negative press was never verified, and the company has promised to improve its customer service across the board. This actually seems to be working, because despite the lingering reputation, Xfinity has improved steadily this year in our customer satisfaction survey. Although Xfinity still ranks near the bottom for most categories, its actual scores are higher than the previous year. And it sits in fourth place—right at the top—for signal reliability.

So on that front at least, good job, Xfinity.

What does Xfinity offer?

Xfinity provides three basic services: cable TV, internet, and phone. The company offers bundles of two or all three services, generally at a discount. Bundling is usually the best way to get value for your money with a cable service, and Xfinity is no exception.

Xfinity TV

Xfinity TV is a very solid cable TV service, with a lineup of 260+ channels to choose from. You get access to a good sports selection and all the usual premium channels like HBO® and STARZ®. Xfinity also offers a huge on-demand library, which is great if you know what you want to watch already. Of its packages, the best deal is Xfinity Digital Preferred with 220+ channels for $59.99 per month.

Xfinity Internet

Xfinity’s internet service is fast and reliable. Speeds range from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps for most areas, and some markets get access to a blazing 2 Gbps connection. The most commonly advertised connection speed is a very respectable 100 Mbps. The service is widely available and consistently fast, so it’s hard to go wrong here.

Stand-alone service is a little pricey, but you can often add fast internet service to a bundle for a very reasonable price, which makes it easy to recommend. We like the Preferred XF Double Play, which gets you 220+ channels and 100 Mbps internet for $89.99 per month.

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Comcast and Xfinity: the Same but Different

As you can see, Xfinity and Comcast are different brands of the same company. Xfinity is the TV and internet service provider for consumers, while Comcast is the company that owns Xfinity (and other brands, like NBCUniversal). That’s not so confusing after all, right? 

In the end, the important thing to know is that Xfinity’s TV and internet services are consistent and reliable—and come in solid bundle deals.

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