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Get Ready for $99 Security, Home Automation from Comcast/Xfinity

Xfinity (formerly Comcast) comes to Houston with $99 deals on home security and automation, and monthly service plans that cost almost $20 less than ADT Pulse.


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Xfinity (Comcast) offers $99 install that includes: Window/Door Sensors (4), Motion Detector, Wireless Keypad, Keychain Remote, Security Panel, Touch Screen, Internet gateway, cellular backup

Xfinity (formerly Comcast) is now offering security and home automation to Houston residents, with $99 installations and monthly service plans that cost nearly $20 less than ADT Pulse.

However, the cable provider is saying little about the program.

Interviewed by CE Pro last month, Xfinity spokesman Charlie Douglas would not comment on any particulars, including the product vendors, sales tactics, customer support, and installation.

At least we now know why Xfinity has been so vague about its home security partners. It seems the company still hadn’t decided if it would use technology from iControl, which powers the new ADT Pulse solution, or uControl, which offers a similar Web-enabled home management system.

Yesterday, it was announced that iControl and uControl are merging, bringing a unified solution to the cable industry.

One could speculate that the combined company, called iControl, will win the Xfinity Home Security business once and for all.

Xfinity Home Security


But Xfinity is apparently selling and installing something for Houston customers today, going head-to-head with ADT Pulse. Judging by the Comcast Home Security Web site, the cable company is providing the same iControl solution as ADT, although that is sure to change with the impending iControl/uControl merger.

As sold today, the Xfinity solution is substantially less expensive than ADT’s, but again the details are sketchy.

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Xfinity’s “Preferred” security/automation plan costs $39.95 per month with a three-year agreement. The plan includes professional security monitoring, as well as self-monitoring of security, cameras, lights and thermostats via the Internet.

ADT’s equivalent Premier service costs $57.99 per month with a long-term monitoring agreement – almost $20 more per month than Comcast.

And while ADT says it is not discounting prices for Pulse products and installation, Xfinity is offering an incredibly attractive $99 deal that includes:
  • Security panel (a self-contained Simon XT from GE Security is shown on the Xfinity site) (1)
  • Wireless keypad (GE Security) (1)
  • Window/Door Sensors (4)
  • Motion Detector (1)
  • Touch Screen (1)
  • Keyfob (1)
  • Cellular (GSM) module for backup communications
Customers will pay extra for cameras and automation devices (lights and thermostats for now). However remote management of those devices is included in the same $57.99 fee. Xfinity’s Basic plan, which excludes camera monitoring and home automation functionality, costs $29.95 per month -- far less than ADT’s equivalent $47.99 Select plan.





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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Security · Z-Wave · Icontrol · Z-wave · Zigbee · Adt · Adt Pulse · Comcast · Xfinity · Xfinity Home Security · Ucontrol · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

18 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Henry Barnes Jr.  on  11/05  at  09:53 AM

Hi Julie,

I had a quick question for you. I have noticed that the cable companies are jumping into the security and automation business pretty heavy right now. I have been consulting in the home automation business since 2005 and I had no idea that any of the cable companies knew much if anything about security. My question for you is what is your opinion about them relying so heavily on all of the current wireless standards? I don’t know about you but I would not want my customers relying on wireless instead of a hardwired solution especially when it comes to something as life protecting as security. I am just curious to what your personal opinion is on this whole situation. Thanks for all of the great info. that you provide to us via CEPro, Electronic House and other publications.

Have a great day,

H. Barnes Jr.
Plano, Texas

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/05  at  09:58 AM

Posted by Henry Barnes Jr.  on 11/05 at 10:53 AM

Hi Julie,

I had a quick question for you. I have noticed that the cable companies are jumping into the security and automation business pretty heavy right now. I have been consulting in the home automation business since 2005 and I had no idea that any of the cable companies knew much if anything about security. My question for you is what is your opinion about them relying so heavily on all of the current wireless standards?

Even traditional security providers have been installing excellent wireless solutions for a good 20 years or so. As with virtually all networked electronics, hardwired is generally the optimal solution but wireless security sensors are considered to be very reliable.

The bigger question in the case of uControl concerns the battery life of ZigBee security sensors. Traditional sensors have extremely low power requirements. How long will a battery last on a ZigBee (or Z-wave) sensor?

Posted by Andrew Southern  on  11/05  at  02:47 PM

Card Access Inc’s ZigBee modules only require batteries once a year or so (depending on usage).

I think this is a very interesting development. Overall the more people that have a taste of home control, the better. Some people will want more down the line - also there is no way CE Pros could service a market as large as the Comcast roster.

Should prove to be interesting to see the adoption rates at $99, plus who is going to do the upsells? If I was Comcast I would subcontract local certified pros to work out the add-ons - integrating lighting control etc is more detail oriented because every house is different.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/05  at  03:06 PM

Andrew, once a year is too often to have to change security sensor batteries, considering they’re located in awkward locations, like in ceiling corners, within doors, at the top of windows, etc.

Maybe that’s no big deal for a Comcast or ADT install with just 3 or 4 sensors, but even our modest size home has about 12 wireless sensors.

I’m sure Ember has figured out how to increase efficiency in ZigBee sensors, and I’ll be interested to learn more.

Posted by Joe Whitaker  on  11/06  at  02:07 AM

Once a year is a little too often. But this is a fuzzy area as everything is that uses batteries. Like Andrew said “depending on usage” but also battery type, sensor location colder areas last longer than hotter ones. Ember has done an awesome job of creating a low power consumption protocol for data transfer and card access has done a lot with the antennae technology. The true test will full residential adoption. The core idea of some of the technologies involved was for the mass adoption. With companies like cable companies and adt pushing the idea we may all benefit. Cable companies will never go full blown custom installation, but they could possibly be the guys that open up the doors for all of us in the CI business to mainstream acceptance and massive amount of profit potential. I may just have to become good friends with our local ADT guys in a hurry!

Posted by Seth_J  on  11/06  at  07:19 AM

My customers love Comcast. They are sure to love this just as much.

♥♥♥♥

Posted by Peter Rogers  on  11/06  at  08:03 AM

Hi, Julie- I think I can help here. The sensors used in this system are from GE (now UTC, actually) and use long-life batteries that are generally good for 3-6 years, depending on which sensor. Our company (FrontPoint Security) sells the same technology, but we prefer a cellular link as safer and more reliable, and put one in every system we sell. We are a true alarm services provider and operate across the US and Canada, and there are issue related to licensing that will make life more interesting for a company like Comcast. Other utilities have entered the alarm space before - and left, because it really is a different game. People may be willing to wait for cable service, or put up with less than stellar responsiveness, but when it comes to life safety issues, I believe that people are justifiably nervous about entrusting their lives and property to a cable company.

Posted by Julie jacobson  on  11/06  at  08:30 AM

Peter, indeed the current sensors are typical security sensors with low power requirements and long battery life.

What we are pondering here is the possibility of Comcast moving to an all-Zigbee ecosystem, bypassing traditional security panels and sensors.

But you are correct, the bigger question is whether or not a cable company can pull it off ... I’ll be writing that one soon.

Posted by Hagai Feiner / Access Networks  on  11/06  at  06:17 PM

My business professor used to walk into class every day and open the session with the sentence “Find a need and fill it!”. Comcast thinks there is a gap in the market and they are filling it. Now we all know that a few years of this subscription can actually buy you an automation system, but there will be clients who prefer the monthly fee forever. Bind that with triple play and Comcast will squeeze all the recurring dollars out of you. Not a bad business model. Now- will it actually work ir will it be a flop? My experience tells me you cannot do any integration without personal service and support. So if anything, this will drive clients to contact the real integrators once they realize they need to tshoot their lighting controls with someone in India…

Posted by Jason  on  11/08  at  07:34 AM

This is really too much. These are the same companies that refuse to trim out a RJ-45 end.  Like someone said before, our clients love Comcast tech support and customer service.  The one thing that will makes me upset is after a wave of these installs we’ll be called in to clean up the mess and the clients well distressed at us…

Posted by Andrew Southern  on  11/08  at  08:16 PM

I read this all over again, I think this is one of the more important posts in recent memory. For $99 you get a panel, touchscreen, keyfob, keypad, door sensors, motion sensors, etc - I mean, there are comparable custom solutions that could easily cost 10x this much (and people who could make a case for 100x wink.

This is an incredible value no matter how you look at it. Sure, it is hard to service 10’s of thousands of people, and dropping the ball is commonplace. The truth is that people will put up with the bad service if they know it’s a deal.

Regarding the battery thing, I think changing the batteries in your ZigBee motion sensors could be done the same day each year you change the batteries in your smoke detector. No biggie - again, if you consider the price of the solution compared to just a few years ago.

Posted by Joe Whitaker  on  11/08  at  09:35 PM

I <3 Andrew…. I am in agreement with hum in this. So many people will put up with the flaws just because of the savings. Don’t believe me…... then how can radio shack still sell X10 pieces? Value vs Quality is one of the reasons home automation as a whole hasn’t taken that full grasp yet. But with companies like Comcast giving it a push, and with all the utilities putting a little taste of automation for the masses out there it is now just a matter of time!

Posted by Lee  on  11/15  at  05:37 PM

I use Alarm.com which provides a cellular connection.  They have a free app on the Android and iphone/ipad that provides a touch screen panel if you have one of those devices.  Alarm.com provides users to add sensors and detectors on their own with detailed instructions.  The sensors can be purchased online fairly cheap. I have been very satisfied with their service. The service for a central monitoring station is approximately $25/month.  I don’t know it off the top of my head exactly because my wife pays the bill.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/16  at  04:27 AM

Hi, Lee—Thanks for the input. Alarm.com provides excellent options. Did you install the system yourself? A GE Simon XT panel, I presume?

Do you integrate cameras, lights and thermostats?

Thank you.

Posted by Lee  on  11/16  at  03:25 PM

When I went with it, I received the Ge Simon 3 panel.  I was fortunate though because my previous system, ADT used the same sensors. So I simply had to remove the ADT Panel, mount the Alarm.com Panel and program all the sensors in.  I then purchased more sensors.

I have lights, my garage door, thermostat, xmas lights and even my sprinkler system automated through a program called Indigo for the Mac.  I use the Insteon interface purchased from Smarthome.com. 

My cameras are hardwired to a dvr. THe dvr sends the picture to the same mac mini running indigo and I can monitor the cameras via my iphone.

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