Comcast wants to be both your internet provider and your smart home security system with a new device, Xfinity Video Doorbell. It has all the marquee features of competing video doorbells from Nest and Ring, including an HD camera with a 4:3 aspect ratio. There’s also two-way audio, so you can chat with the delivery person as they’re dropping off the package. And Comcast has integrated the device with its xFi Advanced Security suite to protect it against any threats.
The Xfinity Video Doorbell functions as you might expect. When a person presses the button to “ring” the doorbell, you’ll get a simultaneous notification on your smartphone. If you have other Xfinity devices in your home, you’ll also get a message there. For example, if you’ve got an Xfinity X1 or Flex streaming box in the living room, you might see motion alerts pop up on your TV screen. You can adjust these notifications so they’re not pinging you during your Infinity Wars rewatch.
If you’re wondering why you’d choose a Comcast video doorbell over, say, the well-established Google and Amazon models, look no further than the competitive price tag. The Xfinity Video Doorbell costs $US120 (A$168) outright, about $US60 (A$84) less than the battery-powered Nest Doorbell and the Ring’s wired Doorbell Pro. Brands like Wyze have even cheaper video doorbells starting at $US50 (A$70), but they might not integrate with your existing Xfinity setup. You can also pay off the doorbell through your Comcast bill at $US5 (A$7) a month for two years if you’re an Xfinity Home Pro Protection or Pro Protection Plus customer.
Security cameras are a gateway to setting up a connected home, so it’s no surprise to see Comcast pursuing the same customers it’s charging for internet and TV. Comcast offers a security bundle through the above-mentioned program, including security cameras and motion sensors.
But Comcast’s security camera may also be a data hog, and perhaps that’s why the internet provider wants to entice you to buy one. Comcast brought back data caps when many of us are still stuck at home, and I personally maxed out on my Comcast data allowance before the pandemic after forgetting to dial down the resolution on the original wired Nest Doorbell.
Comcast temporarily paused some of those data caps in parts of the U.S., but it continues to charge overage fees to work-from-home families who rely on the internet to keep their jobs. According to its support pages, all internet-based video streaming and download services, including programming offered through Xfinity Stream, are included in calculating monthly usage. We’ve reached out to Comcast to confirm that the video-streaming doorbell will count toward that cap as well and will update this story with any response.