Is XFINITY OnDemand a Good DVR Alternative?

Oct 18, 2013 comcast, dvr, movies, 0 Comments
Xfinity OnDemand


XFINITY OnDemand gives you the ability to watch television shows and movies when you want them. You can watch episodes of some of the most popular TV shows and movies, and even catch up on some past seasons. With Digital Video Recording (DVR) services costing money each month, XFINITY OnDemand is a useful service to have and a great (free) alternative.

XFINITY OnDemand: Movies

The selection of movies is wide and varied. You can search for movies multiple ways, including by looking through:

  • Movies by genre
  • Movies by title
  • Recently added flicks
  • Popular movie collections (such as “Charlie Brown,” “Stephen King Films,” or “Star Trek Movies”)
  • The weekly top 10
  • Indies

They even have a section specifically for free movies that won’t cost you extra. XFINITY OnDemand also grants you the ability to watch pretty much everything in either Standard Definition or High Definition.

With 3D movies and television sets becoming a big thing, On Demand is keeping up by offering a 3D section of pay-per-view movies, as well. Their selection — while small—isn’t bad in terms of quality, with movies like “Gamer,” “The Great Gatsby,” “World War Z,” “Star Trek: Into Darkness,” and others. The $6.99 price tag watch these movies seems painful, however.

XFINITY OnDemand: TV Shows

The television listings On Demand are organized similar to the movies. You can search by television network, see the weekly top shows, or browse the programs by title. Sometimes, the most popular shows will have their own link on the main page to make it easier.

All of the major networks are covered, including: ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, AMC, Animal Planet, Comedy Central, SyFy, Food Network, and much, much more. I especially love having AMC because I miss “The Walking Dead” when it airs Sunday nights, normally. I like having it there in the morning, waiting for me. Also, if you have a digital TV package that includes the premium channels like HBO, you’ll even have access to those channels and TV shows On Demand, as well.

What are the Drawbacks?

One sad little fact is that, back in the day, I would estimate that about four of every five movies On Demand were free and the others were pay-per-view. However, that number seems to have flip-flopped over the years. Not to mention that the selection of free movies is sometimes like digging through the $5 DVD bin at Walmart — now and again you might find a gem, but overall it’s pretty slim pickings.

As for the television shows available, I have a pretty easy time keeping up with my preferred programs with On Demand, seeing as I don’t have a DVR service. Now and again, I’ll find shows that On Demand simply does not carry and I’ll have to make sure I don’t miss them. Likewise, it can sometimes be annoying to have to wait 24-48 hours for an episode to show up in their listings after its original air date.

The pay-per-view movies cost anywhere from $0.99 to $9.99 on On Demand. A buck for a movie isn’t so bad, but it’s those higher costs that are sometimes cringe-worthy. The foreign and indie films in particular seem to run high on cost.

But, to some, if you’re having a family night and want a movie without the hassle of running out to RedBox or any of the very few video rental stores still in existence, it might be worth it to tack a couple extra dollars onto your next bill, since you don’t have to pay it up front. The kid movies also run on the expensive side, however.

Overall, though, XFINITY OnDemand is a valuable service that I greatly enjoy, despite their flaws. (Let’s face it, no service is perfect.) And as long as they continue giving me a good alternative to DVR, I’ll gladly keep using it.


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Mike is a certified low voltage installer with over 10 years of professional experience in the field, much of it working for Cable TV companies. He also has over a decade of experience in the computer field as a network engineer and support specialist. Mike's hobbies include installing high-end audio and video systems.

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