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What is Xfinity and Why Should I Care?

Cable giant Com­cast rebrand­ed their TV, inter­net, phone and home con­trol ser­vices two years ago under the name Xfin­i­ty to coin­cide with the digi­ti­sa­tion and wide­spread improve­ment of their ser­vices, includ­ing improved inter­net speeds, HD ser­vices and diver­si­fied con­tent view­ing options.

Com­cast are the biggest home inter­net provider and cable oper­a­tor in the Unit­ed States, with stakes in many cable net­works includ­ing NBCU­ni­ver­sal and an oper­at­ing rev­enue of over 55 bil­lion as of last year. They are extreme­ly well estab­lished and have the biggest share of the media oper­a­tor mar­ket, with over 18 mil­lion cus­tomers to date.

Comcast’s Xfin­i­ty cov­ers many ser­vices that the com­pa­ny are already well known for pro­vid­ing, which begs the ques­tion “why Xfin­i­ty?”.  While they have stat­ed that the changes in their ser­vices are big enough to jus­ti­fy their re-brand­ing, should we real­ly care?

Com­cast Confusion

A major re-brand­ing effort by any com­pa­ny usu­al­ly hap­pens when big changes are made to the prod­ucts and ser­vices offered, but in the case of Com­cast there has evi­dent­ly been some con­fu­sion. The Xfin­i­ty brand was estab­lished in 2010 – two years after the project was first intro­duced under the name “Project Infin­i­ty”- and despite rough­ly $640 mil­lion in adver­tis­ing in the two years that have passed since, con­sumer under­stand­ing of the Xfin­i­ty brand has remained hazy. Com­cast CEO Bri­an Roberts acknowl­edged this fact last week, and to address this issue, Com­cast will be inject­ing a fur­ther $170 mil­lion in mar­ket­ing which will see exten­sive adver­tis­ing in print, radio and the NBC net­work, and high pro­file adver­tis­ing includ­ing the 2012 Lon­don Olympics.

Progress is now under­way, with Com­cast scrap­ping old prod­uct-cen­tred adverts in favour of adverts which show the diver­si­ty and pow­er of the Xfinin­i­ty Brand. Aside from faster inter­net speeds (they are dou­bling two exist­ing inter­net sub­scrip­tion tiers), diver­si­fied con­tent across tablets and smart­phones, and new HD ser­vices, it is Xfin­i­ty Home which is the real cen­tre of interest.

Xfin­i­ty Home is a broad­band-based dig­i­tal home mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem which lets users con­trol home secu­ri­ty via Android and iOS, for exam­ple by stream­ing live secu­ri­ty cam­era footage and con­trol­ling indoor lights and ther­mostats remote­ly. So, if you go on hol­i­day you can con­ve­nient­ly check up on things at home, turn the lights on at night to deter bur­glars and receive secu­ri­ty alerts.

Should you care? The Verdict

It is get­ting eas­i­er and eas­i­er to watch what you want online with­out hav­ing to pay, and with this com­pe­ti­tion pos­ing a real threat, ser­vice providers like Com­cast are now focussing on keep­ing exist­ing cus­tomers hap­py and sat­is­fied. In the past, Com­cast have suf­fered some of the worst cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tions rat­ings ever to befall a com­pa­ny, but since Xfin­i­ty has been intro­duced rat­ings have improved significantly.

In regards to this new brand, it would be unfair to say that the effort has not had any point, though it would have been bet­ter to have had a clear­ly defined mar­ket­ing plan right from the start.

All in all, you should care about Xfin­i­ty if you want paid lev­els of ser­vice, the abil­i­ty to watch your favourite pro­grams on what­ev­er plat­form you wish, and get access to online stream­ing and live play­back options. You should also care about Xfin­i­ty if you want a dig­i­tal home secu­ri­ty ser­vice that offers you excel­lent control.

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