Back to Life/Back to Reality: Xfinity

Back to Life/Back to Reality: Xfinity

School has begun for just about everyone and soon the fall sports and activities will begin to fill all our calendars.  We’re still refreshed from summer, but as everything starts back up again efficiency is key.  In the summer, we’re too busy playing outside to spend much time in front of a screen, and with school, homework and activities taking time to catch a show is a well-deserved luxury.

About a year or so ago, we switched to Xfinity after having some issues with our old service and we’re not looking back.  I recently was invited to visit my local Xfinity store to learn more about Xfinity X1 for a blog post I’m working on (this one) and I am so glad I did for the blog and for my own home life too.

  1. The Xfinity store was really close to my house and there are so many new Xfinity store locations in the Boston area and beyond that there is likely one near you too.  If you’ve ever spent some time in an Apple or Microsoft store you know what it feels like to be in an experiential space.  The Xfinity stores are set up that way too and in a less overwhelming way because they are more intimate and you don’t have a room full of parents tugging at their kids’ sleeves trying to pry them away from video games. Just the basics are sometimes not so basic. It was nice to have an Xfinity guide to talk to in person and to walk me through a few things like how to set up my own account login so that I don’t have to text my husband at work every time I forget his.
  2. For once, perhaps since the kids were about 3 and 7 years old, I was able to teach my kids about a few things on the tv.  Yeah, I thought I was going to teach them a lot of new things, but somehow they already knew about the Kids Zone and they’re already experts at the voice controlled remote.
  3. When I went to pick up our new cable box this summer, I was introduced to Xfinity Home briefly, but I handed it off to my husband to look at because I wasn’t intially that interested.  When I got to see Xfinity home in action at the store, I began to consider it more seriously because although I am not an “alarm the entire house” kind of person, now that the kids are getting older, having a few extra peace of mind perks is a good thing if only for my own sanity.
  4. This summer my husband raced Ironman Tremblant in Canada.  A few days before his race, he came to me all excited.  I was sure he was going to update me on something about the race, his training or how he was feeling as the athlete’s village was being set up.  Nope.  He was, actually super excited because he figured out how to use Xfinity to recieve and make phone calls through our home phone back in the US.  I have to admit it was pretty cool.  It also means he was able to get the two enthusiastic messages his coach left him on our home voicemail in real time.
  5. What we didn’t get to take advantage of this summer was tv and movies on the go from Xfinity.  We used our library and Hoopla, which we love, but the kids complained because shows expired before they had finished watching them and a limit of 10 downloads including books, music and movies for the month with two long car trips all of a sudden wasn’t enough.

Now I’m going to catch you up to speed a little bit.  Whether you have Xfinity X1 or are considering it, here are a few of my favourite attributes.  Let’s start with the Kids Zone.  My kids are at the top age group of the kids zone, but every once in a while they still like to revisit some of their favourite little kid shows for nostalgia’s sake.  With Xfinity you can set parental locks on shows beyond a certain age range, but in addition to that the Kids Zone is somewhere kids can go directly to find a show or movie they would like to watch. The Kids Zone uses the Common Sense Media ratings, which is something that many of us already refer to as resource and having it integrated is one less step for parents.

I have to admit that I cringe a little when I hear my kids talking into things all the time.  The teacher and mom in me just wants them to spell things out every once in a while.  The truth is that in addition to being a little resistant to change, when I try to talk to Siri or my GPS it never quite seems to understand me and I end up spending twice as long trying to accomplish anything.  With the tv voice controlled remote though, it is a whole different story. Pressing the microphone button down and speaking into it is way faster than typing “P -r- o-j-e-c-t — R-u-n-w-a-y” and the remote has not misunderstood me once yet.

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Xfinity X1 voice remote

We listen to a lot of books on cd in the car but when we get to our destination, usually once child is waiting for another child and is somewhere they don’t really want to be.  If the weather is good we can take a stroll, but if it is raining or dark, or I just have too much work to catch up on, having a screen on hand is great.  After homework, and a little time to read (although a bustling dance studio isn’t the most conducive place to get lost in a book) I’m okay with a little down time watching a show or movie.  With the Xfinity app you can either stream shows on your phone or iPad or other such device and you can actually also download shows for free for those times when you don’t have wifi.  That is a pretty cool parenting  survival tool.

Xfinity Home at your fingertips.

Now for a look at Xfinity home.  I’m not usually a security, sets the alarm, lock all the doors kind of person.  For better or for worse, I am a trusting person. So when people talk about security systems, and cameras, and alarms, I usually cringe.  Now that the door bell rings more often with package deliveries, politics, and other annoying solicitors, there are some features of an Xfinity Home system that appeal to me.  Because we live upstairs and our door is downstairs, if I’m expecting someone I will often leave the door open.  If we’re not expecting someone, we have to go downstairs to see who it is and I don’t like having the children go to the door without knowing who is there.  Even if they look through the door window it can be difficult to tell.

Xfinity Home also has some other great systems integrated into it.  For example, you can also have a Chamberlain garage door device for closing the garage door that you may have left open as you rushed off to work, or that the kids left open after getting their bike out to bike to school.  The Nest thermostat is also integrated with the Xfinity Home app so you can adjust the thermostat from your desk or from vacation. You can save energy while you’re away for a leaf-peeping, hiking weekend but have the house nice and warm by the time you get home by adjusting your next through the Xfinity Home app.

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