In 2010, a new name emerged in the Internet/voice services/cable provider marketplace: XFINITY. (Yes, they always use capitalization like that.) Today, after five years on the scene and even with XFINITY services offered in over 40 states, some people still don’t understand what XFINITY is and what the difference is between XFINITY and Comcast or what the brand offers. (You can see TV& Internet products from the company here.) If you want to really understand the difference between XFINITY and Comcast is, we’re here to help.

What is XFINITY?

Comcast Cable Communications has been around since the early 1980s, and has provided television services to tens of millions of Americans. The company began offering Internet access in the mid 1990s, and by 2011, it boasted nearly 40 percent of the American Internet subscription marketplace. Much of the company’s focus has traditionally been on sports programming, exclusive broadcasts, and the Olympics.

During the 2010 Winter Olympics Comcast was in the process of merging with media giant NBC. Comcast was known as a TV and Internet service provider, and the people in charge of marketing and branding thought it would be too confusing to continue to call a huge mix of products and services “Comcast.” The answer was a new brand for TV and Internet offerings: XFINITY. Comcast unveiled their new brand name and new logo, and began renaming Comcast products to XFINITY products. Comcast High-Speed Internet became XFINITY Internet, Comcast TV became XFINITY TV, and so on. One big exception is that business-level service is still branded as Comcast Business in most cases.

The rebranding has been controversial for two reasons. One, it hasn’t worked very well. The fact that you’re reading this article shows that people are still confused about what XFINITY is and how it’s different from Comcast. Second, it was criticized as an attempt to distance the brand from all of the negative publicity surrounding Comcast’s historically bad customer service. These claims were never verified, and Comcast has vowed to improve its customer service on all XFINITY products.

In summary, what is XFINITY? It’s a new brand that is a subsidiary (part of) of Comcast. The whole company used to be called Comcast, but now Comcast is the parent company for brands like XFINITY and NBCUniversal.

What Does XFINITY Offer?

The XFINITY brand offers its customers three primary services: Internet, cable TV, and phone (called XFINITY Voice) services. XFINITY works hard to attract customers to use all three of their primary services by choosing a bundle, wherein each individual service is discounted.

The company offers a basic package of residential Internet speeds of up to 25 megabits per second in many markets, and an enhanced (and more expensive) option for speeds of up to 50-100 megabits per second. These speeds make them competitive with most major providers, such as Charter Spectrum and AT&T U-verse.

XFINITY’s cable television programming includes hundreds of digital channels along with access to premium channels, like HBO. In keeping with Comcast’s established traditions, they also offer extensive access to sports programming. The company allows customers to access media via televisions as well as on computers and mobile devices.

As for voice services, XFINITY offers its customers unlimited calling within the United States as well as features such as voicemail and texting. It is telling, however, that many of their bundle packages focus on TV and Internet as more and more consumers get rid of traditional phones in favor of mobile devices.

Why the Switch?

Before it began to do business as XFINITY, Comcast was both at its peak in terms of subscription base, but was still looking for a way to freshen their image, both to attract new customers and to re-energize their base. Their switch to the name XFINITY helped the company achieve both goals, but it also led to a bit of lingering confusion as people asked just what XFINITY was, and wondered if there were any difference between this “newcomer” and the older Comcast brand. The answer ultimately is in name only, but that seems to have been enough for millions of customers.

Hopefully now you understand the difference between the two names. No matter what the name is, the service is great. If you’re looking to get XFINITY services for your home, find out now if it’s available in your area.