Cable Company Home Security Issues

Author: Carlton Purvis, Published on Jan 14, 2014

Mark already had cable from Comcast so when he started getting offers for their home security service, he was interested. He had recently moved into a new home and was about to leave on vacation for the first time after moving in. The family would be gone for a week, so he called Comcast and signed up. After having the two service for years, he says the system is easy to use, but he’s ready for a change. In an interview, he told us why. But first here's a rundown of Comcast's Xfinity Home Security Service:

Xfinity Home Security

With 21.6 million cable subscribers, Comcast is the largest “multisystem operator in the country”. IT's main revenue comes from cable, but it has expanded into Internet, and in recent years, home security services. The Comcast Xfinity Home Security service has been around since 2010. Shortly after, Time Warner Cable and Verizon also launched similar services and Cox Communications added home monitoring last year.

Comcast, known for it's "bundles" is using its reach to get customers to add security service as part of their packages. Forty-one percent of it’s new home security subscribers are existing customers. The company says it won't release the number of home security subscribers it has.


The Package

Currently pricing on the website shows that for $40.00 per month (or less if it’s bundled with cable and internet service) and a three-year service agreement, a person gets a touch screen controller, three door sensors, a motion sensor, a wireless keypad, two cameras, two lighting controllers and a thermostat controller. Mark has all of these except the cameras. Customers can add additional parts from an equipment list on the website.

**** *** *** *******:

Motion *********

*** ****** **** *** ******* *** ****** *********. ***** ** also *** ****** *** * ******** ****** ****** **** ******* says *** ****** ****** ** ******** ********* ** *******.

*** ****, *** ******* *** * **** ***** ** **** security *******, ** ****.

“*’** *** ** *** *** ***** *** *** ** ** wasn’t *** **** ********, * ******** ***** **** *** **** service * **** **** ***,” ** ****. ** **** ** wouldn’t ****** **** ******** **********, *** ***** ******** *** ** from ** ****** ***** ****** ******* ******* ** * ***** company.

Installation *** **** ** ***

****** **** ** *******, ******* **** *** * ********** *** did ************, ***** *** ************* ** ***** ** ****, ** said. ********* ** **** *** ****** ** ********** *** ****** themselves.

*** ****** *** ** *** ******* ****** ***** ******** *** the ********* ** *** ***** ****** *** *** *** *** intuitive ** ** *** **** ** ***** *** ** *** it *** *** ******. *** ***** *** ****** ************, ** said. *** ******* ** **** ******* * **** *** *** system ** **** **** *** ****** ***** ** ******* ***** anyone ******. *** **** **** ** *** ** **** **** it ** ***** ** ****** ***** ********** *** ***. ** says ** ***** ***** **** ** ****** *** ****** **** anywhere **** *** ***.

*** **** ******* ******* ****** ** ********** ****:
  • ******** ***** *******
  • *********** *******
  • ***** ****** ***** * *******
  • ****** *******
  • ****** *********

Sacrificing ******** ***** *** ********

******* ********* *** ********* ***** *** ********. **** **** *** of *** **** ******** ******** **** *** ****** ** **** it ********* * ********’* ******** *****.

“**** **** *** **** ******* ********* **** **** **** ***** ***** ** ** **** **** router *** **** **** ****** ** ** ******* ***** ****** and **** ** ** *** ******* ***** ******,” ** ****. “The ******* ** **** *** ****** **** **** ***, *** throughput ** ******** ... ** *** *** ***** ******** *******. The ****** ***** *** ***** **** ** ****.”

******* *****’* *** *** ********* ****** *** ******** ** **** router **, ****, * ****** *******, **** ** ***** * workaround ** *** *** **** ******** ***** ** ******* ******* port ** *** ******. *************, **** ***** *** ****** *********** to *******, ** ****.

Touch ****** ********

*** ***** ***** ***’* * ***** ** *** *****, *** an ***** ** *** ***** ****** ******** **** *** ******, which ** * ******* ** * ****** *****’* **** *** touch ****** **** **** ** *** ***** ******* **’* *** very ****, ** ****. ******* ****** * ***** **********. *** touch ****** **** ******* ********* **** ***** ** ** *****.

“**** ***’** ****** ** ********** ** ***** ** ***** **’** freeze, *** **’** *** * ****** ** ***** ****** ******* we **** ****** ** ***** *** **** *** *** ********* was ******.

False ****** ******With this system you can expect some false alerts, he said. His pets still set off the motion alerts when no one is home, despite having techs come out three times to calibrate the system.

Camera ******

**** ****** **** *****’* **** * ****** ** **** ** his ****, **’* ******** **** **** ****** ** *** ****** because *** ****** *** *** **** **** **** *** ****** and *** ******* *******. *** ******* *** ** ******* ***** or *** ** ****** ** ******. ** *** * ****** that ******* **** ******* ****** **** ***** *** ** ******* after *** ***** ** **** *** ***** *** ****** ** a **********’* ***** *** *****.

*** **** **** ****** ***’* ******* ** **** ** *******, the ******* ***’* ****** ** **** ******, **** ****. *** mother ***** **** *** *** **** *** ***** *** *** was ****** **** *** *****. ***** **** ** ********* ***** defined *** *** ******* ** ***** *** ** ***** ** the *****.

“*** **** ** ****** *** ****** *** ****. **** ** it’s ******, **** *** **** ** *** ****. *** *** set ******* ***** **** **** ******* ***** * **** ** to ****** *** ****** **** ****** ****** ******* *****. ** your ***** *** ******, *** *** ***’* *** *** ******* to ****** ***** ***** **** **** **** ***’** *.*.*.,” ** said. *** ** **** *** ****** ** *** ** ****** any ****** **** ****** ** *****.

Camera *******Subscribers can watch images live from the touch screen or the app at about 10fps. The quality is “good enough to make out what is going on and see faces pretty well but not enough to read license plates or anything like that,” he said.

****, “*** *** * *** ** ******* ******** ** ******* the ***, *** ** *** ** ****** **** * **,” he ****. ** ********** ****** ** *** *********** *** **** the ****** **** *** ****** *** ** *** **** **** he’s **** **** *********** **** ************ *******.

*** **** ****** *****, *** ****** ********** **** ** *** **********’* *****.

Comcast ********

******** ********* ******** ** ****'* ****** ******** ** ** **** that *** ** ***** ************** ******.

"**** ** *** * ****** ******** **********," * ********* **** by *****.

*** ************ **** **** *** ******* **** "*** ********" ****** detectors **** *** **** ** "*********** *** **** **** ****** have ****,"*** ***** *** **** * ****** *** **** *** ***** getting ***** ******. ** **** **** *** ***** ** *** tablet ****** ** **** ****** ** **** ********** *** *****, the ***** ****** *******'* ****** *** **** **'* ***** ***** of *** **** ******** ****** ********** ******** ******.

"** **** ** **** *********** *** ** ** * ****** dive *** *** *** ****** ***** ******," ** ****.

Comments (1)

Thanks for taking the time to provide a good overview of the system capabilities. Going back to the bulletized list of Xfinity issues, I began to think that some issues might be endemic within the industry, while others might be "fixable." I wonder if IPVM readers can share their expectations on which might be endemic?

My guess is,

  • Internet speed penalty (unrelated to monitoring)
  • Touchscreen glitchy (another provider might fix this)
  • False motion still a problem (not sure, another provider _might_ fix this)
  • Camera Latency (not sure, another provider _might_ fix this)
  • Camera Selection (another provider might fix this, especially if augmented with local recording)

Recently, IPVM had a good discussion (http://ipvm.com/updates/2390) that addressed some motion capture and retention issues. I have come to feel that a more robust capability ought to be multilevel. You might locally record and retain 100% of the video, but with detected motion somehow flagged so that after one or two days, non-motion-flagged video is discarded, then after greater interval or when storage is full, the oldest motion-flagged video will be discarded. This seems to offer robust utility with low probability of failed capture and storage. I don't know if any VMS or appliance offers such a capability though.

Our video monitoring setups experience camera latency over the internet, but since it's modest (less than 5 seconds) it hasn't raised any issues for us. I'm curious if Mark can characterize the latency he's experiencing, and perhaps even provide an example in which it's material (eg our video latency precludes use as a video phone but doesn't appear to impair other functions).

Reviewing my comments, I may appear to be an apologist for Comcast. For the record, I've not been in a location that required use of Comcast for many years, have no regrets at moving on, and have no affiliation with Comcast. My only thoughts were, it's good to set expectations because there's a possibility that the issues you raise may not be corrected through another vendor, and particularly the ease of use cannot be assumed so you have one good thing going for you. Just thought it might be helpful to explore expectations through the context of the IPVM subscribers, many of whom are deeply knowledgeable within this field.

Again, thanks for taking the time to put together a very thorough and clear treatment. I really enjoyed and learned from it.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Most Recent Industry Reports

July 2018 IP Networking Course on Jun 22, 2018
  This is the only networking course designed specifically for video surveillance professionals. Register now. Lots of network training exists...
Installation Hardware for Video Surveillance - Indoor Fasteners on Jun 22, 2018
As part of our Installation for Video Surveillance series, in this note, we cover drywall anchors. A key part of installing security hardware is...
Hikvision ColorVu Integrated Visible Light Cameras Examined on Jun 22, 2018
When it comes to low light, infrared light has become the defacto standard in surveillance. But IR is limited to monochrome images, making colors...
'Secure Channel' OSDP Access Control Examined on Jun 21, 2018
Despite claiming to be better than Wiegand, OSDP's initial releases did not address the lack of encryption between reader and controller, leaving...
Most Wanted Improvements In Manufacturer Technical Support (Statistics) on Jun 21, 2018
5 key areas of improvement and 1 clear wanted support feature were voiced by 140+ integrator responses to: What improvement in manufacturer...
GDPR / ICO Complaint Filed Against IFSEC Show Facial Recognition on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM has filed a complaint against IFSEC’s parent company UBM based on our concern that the conference violates core GDPR principles on...
IFSEC 2018 Final Show Report on Jun 20, 2018
IPVM attended the IFSEC show for the first time this year. The Chinese took over the show, centered on Hikvision, flanked by Dahua, Huawei and a...
Mobotix Releases 'Move' Into 21st Century on Jun 20, 2018
For years, Mobotix stood resolutely against, well, every other manufacturer, selling it as a virtue: MOBOTIX equipment is designed with no...
Cybersecurity Startup VDOO Disclosing 10 Manufacturer Vulnerabilities Starting With Axis And Foscam on Jun 20, 2018
Cybersecurity startup VDOO has uncovered significant vulnerabilities in Axis cameras along with many others not yet disclosed. In this report, we...
Axis Guardian - Cloud VMS And Alarm Monitoring - Released on Jun 19, 2018
Axis has struggled to deliver a cloud-based managed service video platform. Video service providers have utilized AVHS for over a decade, and have...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact