Xfinity Flex Review

 

ProsCons
 
  • No long-term contract
  • See all free shows/movies from all apps in one place
  • Easy setup
 
  • Limited selection of apps
  • Remote & navigation are clunky
  • No Disney+, ESPN or Hulu + Live TV

In the war for viewers, cable companies are scrambling to keep hold of their dwindling market share as more and more of their customers cut the cord in favor of cheaper services with better perks.

In an attempt to win back subscribers, cable (and internet and phone) giant Comcast has pivoted its services to include streaming via its all-new Xfinity Flex offering. The idea here is to wrangle those coveted eyeballs through an interface that gives them access to all their favorite streaming services while still keeping them to Xfinity’s services.

Xfinity Flex works as a streaming dashboard that lets you connect apps like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Netflix. It also provides access to over 10,000 free shows and movies.

While the goal with this offering is to provide users with a one-stop shop where their favorite streaming services and channels live, overall Xfinity Flex has a narrow catalog of offerings compared to other services like Amazon Fire Stick and Roku.

Therefore, if you’re looking to whittle your media diet down to internet service only and one streaming device, Xfinity Flex is likely not the option you’re looking for.

However, if you live and die by Xfinity services — including its home light and temperature control add-ons — and simply want to eliminate the hefty cable bill, Xfinity Flex could be a great option for you. It acts as an easy-to-use central hub for all of these applications while giving you access to some of your favorite streaming services. Plus, you won’t have to sign a long-term contract to take advantage of Xfinity Flex — you can cancel the service at any time.

Apps And Content On Xfinity Flex

First things first — you probably want to know which major streaming names and premium channel add-ons are available. Here are the popular apps available on Xfinity Flex:

  • Amazon Music
  • Amazon Prime Video
  • Epix
  • HBO
  • Hulu (on-demand only)
  • iHeartRadio
  • Movie purchases/rentals
  • Netflix
  • Pandora
  • Showtime
  • YouTube
  • However, the catch with Xfinity Flex — and it’s a big one — is that there are several big-name services that aren’t available yet, including Disney+, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Philo, Sling TV, and more. Sports fans will also be missing out on ESPN, and the Flex also does not have popular music streaming options like Spotify. So if you’re looking to cut the cord completely and still get access to the greatest breadth of offerings, this lack of popular services could be a major turn-off.

    Pricing

    The nice thing about Xfinity flex that it is free to Internet-only Xfinity subscribers, making it easier to justify if you already have Xfinity internet service. By the same token, only Xfinity internet subscribers can use this service, so if you aren’t currently subscribed to Xfinity, you’re out of luck.

    Xfinity Internet plan prices vary depending on the area where you live. For example, in Chicago, the Performance Starter package costs $20/mo. for 12 months with a one-year agreement, while the Performance package costs $40/mo. for 12 months with a one-year agreement.

    Design

    You need a Flex TV box to enjoy the service. Xfinity provides one free TV box, and you can rent additional ones for $5/mo. The box itself is a black, beveled rectangle, measuring 5 inches long, 5 inches wide and 1 inch tall. Its small size makes it pretty easy to incorporate into most entertainment setups. The box includes an Ethernet jack, HDMI port and USB-C for power.

    Hardware And Setup

    To take advantage of Xfinity Flex, you must be an Xfinity Internet subscriber. You’ll also need a TV with an HDMI port. Xfinity provides one free Flex TV streaming box, which is 4K-enabled and includes a voice-activated remote. If you’re an Xfinity Internet subscriber, all you have to do is go online and claim your device.

    Xfinity Flex is easy to set up — just plug the device in and connect it to the Internet. The Flex TV box will automatically find and connect to your home’s Xfinity Wi-Fi network without requiring you to input the network name or password. After that, you can log into apps like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and more.

    During setup, the remote must be pointing directly toward the front of the box, or it won’t work. This is because the Xfinity Flex streaming TV box is directional, so the signal won’t register unless the remote is pointed directly at the box’s sensor.

    You’ll also need to provide your phone number to activate the service.

    Remote

    Xfinity Flex uses the same remote as its current cable boxes. This means that it comes equipped with features you won’t use much, like a number pad. The remote includes the typical volume and channel buttons as well as a D-pad, media playback buttons and a record button, which, unfortunately, doesn’t do anything.

    If you’re looking for a specific title, genre or actor, you can use the Xfinity Flex remote’s voice search feature. Simply hold down the mic button, then speak into the remote. Then Flex will search through all the apps you have connected and return the results, which can be filtered by high-definition and standard-definition quality, whether or not a description is included and more.

    Interface

    Xfinity Flex offers a library of over 10,000 free shows and movies.

    The Xfinity Flex homepage displays shows and movies that are currently available. It also lets you know where to find the content.

    Oddly, you won’t find a search function at the top of the homepage. Instead, you’ll have to navigate all the way to the bottom where you’ll find the Search, About, Help and Settings functions.

    The Free to Me tab will show you content you can watch for free. The catch here is that it’s pulling from services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. This is actually a pretty nice feature, as it puts all free movies and shows from both streaming services at your fingertips, so you don’t have to log out of one service and into the other if you just can’t seem to find a movie or show you want to watch.

    Under the Live TV tab, you’ll see content and channels sourced from free apps like Pluto TV and Zumo. Keep in mind that this is commercial-supported content, so you won’t be able to fast-forward through ads in the shows and movies featured under this tab.

    The New tab pulls titles from Netflix, Prime Video and YouTube. However, it’ll take some digging to get to the free content featured in this tab, because there are a lot of pay-to-view titles spotlighted.

    The Music tab pulls content from services you’re already subscribed to like Amazon, iHeartRadio, Pandora and YouTube.

    The Today tab is great for those who are already deeply embedded in the Xfinity ecosystem. It gives you pretty much the standard fare you’d expect from a Today tab, including weather, news, sports, late-night roundups, celebrity gossip and more. If you’re a religious user of all things Xfinity, this tab allows you to access camera feeds, control your home’s thermostats, lighting and more.

    Additionally, if you’re using Xfinity Flex with an xFi Gateway, you can get access to certain features like setting parental controls and pausing Wi-Fi. You can even see other info and alerts you’ve set up ahead of time, such as how many hours of TV your children are watching on a given day or how much time they’re spending on their phones. Remember, you can only see these numbers if you’ve subscribed to the Xfinity services that provide them — they won’t show up if you use a third-party router.

    Can I Cut the Cable TV Cord With Xfinity Flex?

    Until recently, the Xfinity Flex was not high on the list of recommended devices for cord-cutters. The addition of services such as Hulu, CBS All Access, and Peacock have helped to improve the Xfinity product’s position.

    However, when you take into consideration the hundreds of apps available on other streaming devices like Amazon Fire Stick and Roku, Flex simply can’t compete. Especially if you’re someone who loves exploring the wonderful and weird world of streaming apps.

    If you’re eyeball-deep in Xfinity services, including X1 and its home and security apps, Flex might be worth it for you. If you’re an internet-only user, the “absolutely free” aspect of Xfinity Flex is a good reason to give the service a whirl.

    If you don’t fall into either of these categories, you might want to consider other services with a wider variety of apps that are compatible with the internet service you are using.
    Current as of June 2020*

    Malin Curry

    Article Author

    Disclaimer: This article may have had additional images, links or data that was added by this site's editor.

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