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Xi3 Companion Box Reviewed

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Regular Contributor

Xi3 Companion Box Reviewed

The Comcast gods smiled upon me and today I received my new Xi3 companion box.  As an early early adopter of the X1 platform, I had suffered through the lag-ridden original companion boxes and was really excited to get this one.  So far, it has not disappointed.

 

The product packaging is a direct knock off of Apple's iPhone boxes... gorgeous white heavy glossy cardboard box, white glossy plastic insert, beautiful cables with Xfinity-branded velcro cable ties and a very nice HDMI cable as well as a nice coax cable with plastic "crystal" connectors.  Gone is the huge power brick of the old companion box... this just features a standard cable that plugs right into the small, light Xi3.  As far as the box goes, it's small and light as promised, with one blue light on top.  No record light that I saw, so they got rid of THAT bug (I could care less about a record light) and oh yeah, there's no clock, so I'm sure there will be complaints from those who use their cable boxes to tell time.  (Sorry, couldn't resist)

 

It comes loaded with a SD card in the back already plugged in and labeled "instant replay" but the rewind and pause (aka "Trickplay") functions are not yet enabled, so you get the familiar zero with a circle through it when you try to pause live TV.  The 30-second easter egg does work on this box / remote, thank goodness.  It took me a few tries and I was nervous when it didn't work at first, but then it did.

 

So the question that has been debated on this board.... it does seem like the xi3 uses one of the tuners of the main DVR box to stream live TV.  I have one companion box  (Xi3) and one main DVR, and was able to record 4 programs on the main DVR, which then means one of the tuners is being used for the companion and I guess the final tuner for the main DVR live TV stream.  When I tried to record a 5th at the same time, I got a "recording conflict" error message.

 

All of the apps included on the original main DVR box are included on the Xi3 as far as I can tell.

 

The big difference between this and the old companion box is speed.  Boot up is about the same, maybe 45 seconds faster, but WOW, channel changing and menu navigation are as fast as the main DVR box.... or as fast as the box used to be before version 2.0 rolled out.  Changing channels is fast and it appears that two years into it they finally have a box that responds as quickly as the DVR's of the mid 2000's.

 

The box itself is very small and comes with the new backlit XR5 remote.  I am really enjoying the "feel" of this remote vs the older Tivo-like "peanut" remote, and I really really love having an input button back on the remote to switch to my Roku.

 

Self-activation was painless, easy and took just a minute.

 

Overall, an excellent upgrade which has made my second TV much more watchable.  I'll leave the whole number of tuners debate to those more qualified.... I can't remember ever wanting to record more than 3 shows at the same time, so am very happy with 4.  Thank you to the Comcast gods if you are reading this.

 

Very happy.  Now, can we get the "double delete grey screen" bug fixed??? Thanks, Comcast.

 

 

 

 

 

Accepted Solution

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

So say I have 1 main x1 & 2 xi3's. I can no longer record 4 shows while watching a 5th live bc each xi3 will take up a tuner? Ill only be able to record 2 while watching a 3rd live?
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Frequent Visitor

Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

If anyone wants to know anything about the Xi3, I'm getting one installed on Thursday.
Gold Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

How do you know it is going to an Xi3? Comcast does not confirm those things in advance...


Jrstuart1 wrote:
If anyone wants to know anything about the Xi3, I'm getting one installed on Thursday.

 

Frequent Visitor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Specifically asked for Xi3 on the phone and they told me the box was just released today and they put in the notes for the tech to install this box.
Gold Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Let us know... What you are saying is not consistent with anything we have been told in the past. That being said, we could use some Xi3 beta testers. It won't be me... LOL


Jrstuart1 wrote:
Specifically asked for Xi3 on the phone and they told me the box was just released today and they put in the notes for the tech to install this box.






Frequent Visitor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Even if it still is in trial, it beats my Pace companion box lol
Frequent Visitor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

They also told me today that the XR11s should be coming out in May.
Gold Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

XR11s should be out sooner than that. It appeared on the Comcast remote site in the past few days...

Just so you know, any Comcast employee you would talk to over the phone would be the last to know about this sort of thing. You will find far more up to date info in this forum.


Jrstuart1 wrote:
They also told me today that the XR11s should be coming out in May.




Service Expert

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


Jrstuart1 wrote:
If anyone wants to know anything about the Xi3, I'm getting one installed on Thursday.

be sure they install the time shift SD memory card into the unit. It may not work but that is one thing I'd like to know if it is working in the released version. What will be your installed list of equipment (example: one DVR, 1 Xi3)? 

 

tests I'd like to do.. the DVR has 5 (ok 6 but comcast disables one) tuners. One is reserved for live viewing on the TV attached to the DVR. The other 4 can record and be used by the Xi3 to watch TV (live) as the Xi3 has no onboard tuner. Assuming one DVR and one Xi3, please press guide and record 4 channels so all 4 tuners are in use. does it allow the 4th to be started (since Xi3 takes a tuner)? Be sure to not record the live channel the Xi3 is tuned to. 

 

example: on Xi3 tune to channel 401, on the DVR record channels 402, 403, 404, 405. If all 4 'start' recording successfully, what channel is the xi3 displaying? can you change the channel on the Xi3 ? 




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Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

The Xi3 is going to be replacing my Pace RNG150N companion box and my DVR is an Arris XG1-A.
Official Employee

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Jrstuart1 wrote:
If anyone wants to know anything about the Xi3, I'm getting one installed on Thursday.
be sure they install the time shift SD memory card into the unit. It may not work but that is one thing I'd like to know if it is working in the released version. What will be your installed list of equipment (example: one DVR, 1 Xi3)?
________________________

SD Card comes with, works just fine. Pauses, rewinds, live TV and has the Internet apps the RNG 150 doesnt

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Service Expert

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

I would be interested to know if there is any change to billing if I replace an RNG150 with the Xi3.




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Frequent Visitor

My experience with the Xi3 so far

I had the Xi3 installed today. I will answer all the questions I have seen on this box in the forums over the past several months right now. The box comes with an XR5v4 remote. This is a very nice remote, and they should include it with all of their X1 installs, but I know they make you pay for it. I haven't tried it myself, but the tech and customer support told me that this box uses a tuner from the XG1. It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV. There is no lag between this box and the XG1. The two boxes are in sync. There's no additional cost per month, it's the same rate as the Pace RNG150 companion. Finally, and probably the most important point, the box is way faster than the RNG150 and there is no lag. It's the same speed as the XG1. It has built-in RF capabilities too, so no need for an adapter. Based on my experience so far, I highly recommend it over the Pace companion box.
Valued Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far


Jrstuart1 wrote:
I had the Xi3 installed today. I will answer all the questions I have seen on this box in the forums over the past several months right now. The box comes with an XR5v4 remote.

Does the remote have a magnifying glass (XR5) or a microphone icon (XR11) on the button above the "Xfinity" one?

 

I ask because Step 4C in the Xi3 Quick Start Guide,shows an XR11 Voice Control remote:

 

Xi3 Quick Start Guide

http://media2.comcast.net/anon.comcastonline2/support/help/faqs/sik_files/HOW8585Xi3_GettingStartedG...

Frequent Visitor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

It has a magnifying glass so it's an XR5, but that's probably because the voice remotes aren't released yet.
Valued Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far


Jrstuart1 wrote:
It has a magnifying glass so it's an XR5, but that's probably because the voice remotes aren't released yet.

OK, thanks.  I guess the XR11 remote (http://xfinitytv.comcast.net/products/xr11 ) will be included once they are released then.

Problem Solver

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far


Jrstuart1 wrote:
I had the Xi3 installed today. I will answer all the questions I have seen on this box in the forums over the past several months right now. The box comes with an XR5v4 remote. This is a very nice remote, and they should include it with all of their X1 installs, but I know they make you pay for it. I haven't tried it myself, but the tech and customer support told me that this box uses a tuner from the XG1. It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV. There is no lag between this box and the XG1. The two boxes are in sync. There's no additional cost per month, it's the same rate as the Pace RNG150 companion. Finally, and probably the most important point, the box is way faster than the RNG150 and there is no lag. It's the same speed as the XG1. It has built-in RF capabilities too, so no need for an adapter. Based on my experience so far, I highly recommend it over the Pace companion box.

Just FYI, the XR5v4 came with my XG1 self install, so it seems to be the new standard remote.

Frequent Visitor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

I'd buy one for my XG1, but I'm going to buy XR11s when those come out instead. I really like the XR5 remote.
Frequent Visitor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

How did you get a self install kit? When I called in asking for X1, they said I couldn't get a self install kit. Even the Xi3 I just got they told me I had to have a tech come out.
Official Employee

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

Some markets have X1 self install and some markets are including the Xr5 with all X1 installs.

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Frequent Visitor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Did you end up getting a Xi3?

Official Employee

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

I would be interested to know if there is any change to billing if I replace an RNG150 with the Xi3.
_________

Same price

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Regular Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

So, how can we get our hands on one of these to switch out?

Official Employee

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Call in to see if it's been released in your market yet.

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Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

Any Idea when XI3's will be coming to other citys (like seattle)? I spoke with a customer service rep yesterday and he said 2016, but im not sure if thats true

Regular Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Let us know if there are still lip sync issues especially with "on demand" material like the RNG companion box.has

Valued Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


Gov0525 wrote:

Let us know if there are still lip sync issues especially with "on demand" material like the RNG companion box.has


From what  has said in his "post-installation" thread http://forums.comcast.com/t5/X1/My-experience-with-the-Xi3-so-far/td-p/2469848 , it sounds like the Xi3 does not have that issue.

 


Jrstuart1 wrote:


I had the Xi3 installed today. I will answer all the questions I have seen on this box in the forums over the past several months right now.

 

The box comes with an XR5v4 remote. This is a very nice remote, and they should include it with all of their X1 installs, but I know they make you pay for it.

 

I haven't tried it myself, but the tech and customer support told me that this box uses a tuner from the XG1.

 

It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV.

 

There is no lag between this box and the XG1. The two boxes are in sync.

 

There's no additional cost per month, it's the same rate as the Pace RNG150 companion.

 

Finally, and probably the most important point, the box is way faster than the RNG150 and there is no lag. It's the same speed as the XG1.

 

It has built-in RF capabilities too, so no need for an adapter.

 

Based on my experience so far, I highly recommend it over the Pace companion box.


Valued Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


telcodad wrote:

Gov0525 wrote:

Let us know if there are still lip sync issues especially with "on demand" material like the RNG companion box.has


From what  has said in his "post-installation" thread http://forums.comcast.com/t5/X1/My-experience-with-the-Xi3-so-far/td-p/2469848 , it sounds like the Xi3 does not have that issue.

 


Jrstuart1 wrote:


I had the Xi3 installed today. I will answer all the questions I have seen on this box in the forums over the past several months right now.

 

The box comes with an XR5v4 remote. This is a very nice remote, and they should include it with all of their X1 installs, but I know they make you pay for it.

 

I haven't tried it myself, but the tech and customer support told me that this box uses a tuner from the XG1.

 

It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV.

 

There is no lag between this box and the XG1. The two boxes are in sync.

 

There's no additional cost per month, it's the same rate as the Pace RNG150 companion.

 

Finally, and probably the most important point, the box is way faster than the RNG150 and there is no lag. It's the same speed as the XG1.

 

It has built-in RF capabilities too, so no need for an adapter.

 

Based on my experience so far, I highly recommend it over the Pace companion box.



Yes, the Xi3 is a MoCA only IP enabled device.  It has no cable card or tuners inside.  A video gateway (such as the XG1) is required and the tuners there are shared with the Xi3 devices in the home.  One more item of interest is that the Xi3 also supports the internet enabled apps that the RNG150 does not.  Enjoy your Xi3!




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Regular Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

I would like to see if this is available in the NW burbs of Chicago, but since I just paid $40 for a tech visit to install the inferior RGN150, I don't want to pay another $40!!!  I can't wait for self-install to hit my area, its ridiculous to have to have a tech come out for X1 still!

Valued Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far


abhaygautom wrote:

Any Idea when XI3's will be coming to other citys (like seattle)? I spoke with a customer service rep yesterday and he said 2016, but im not sure if thats true


Well, according to a statement in this article, the Xi3 should be available in most markets by the middle of this year:

 

From:

Comcast Starts To Deploy All-IP Boxes For X1
‘Xi3’ HD Client Being Rolled Out in Select Markets
By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News - October 28, 2014

http://www.multichannel.com/news/technology/comcast-starts-deploy-all-ip-boxes-x1/385122

 

"A Comcast official said the MSO is starting to deploy the new Pace-made device slowly in a number of unidentified markets, but added that Comcast expects the device to become 'widely available across our footprint in Q1 or Q2 of next year [2015].'"

 

Of course, Comcast is known for frequently slipping their schedules, so we shall see.

Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

Yea hopefully it will be soon. Currenlty in seattle, we dont even have Cloud DVR capabilites until March. 

Valued Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

BTW – There’s an article on the MCN site today with the latest news/details on the Xi3:

 

Comcast Brings Live TV Buffering to All-IP 'Xi3' Box

New Feature Relies On Integrated SD Memory Card

By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News - February 10, 2015

http://www.multichannel.com/news/technology/comcast-brings-live-tv-buffering-all-ip-xi3-box/387858

Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Can you post pictures and/or videos of the UI, box, and controller? What kind of internet apps are there?

Valued Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


FredNation wrote:

Can you post pictures and/or videos of the UI, box, and controller? What kind of internet apps are there?


The UI and remote are exactly the same as the UI and remote variety available for the XG1 DVR today.  The box is a 6x6x1 inch black bot with a square button on the top right.  The Xi3 has power in, HDMI out, and an SD card slot on the back along with the MoCA connector (coax).




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Valued Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


ComcastNeal wrote:

FredNation wrote:

Can you post pictures and/or videos of the UI, box, and controller? What kind of internet apps are there?


The UI and remote are exactly the same as the UI and remote variety available for the XG1 DVR today.  The box is a 6x6x1 inch black bot with a square button on the top right.  The Xi3 has power in, HDMI out, and an SD card slot on the back along with the MoCA connector (coax).


You can see some drawings of the Xi3 here:

 

Xi3 Quick Start Guide

http://media2.comcast.net/anon.comcastonline2/support/help/faqs/sik_files/HOW8585Xi3_GettingStartedG...

 

Gold Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Another great catch by the Telcodad...!!!


telcodad wrote:

ComcastNeal wrote:

FredNation wrote:

Can you post pictures and/or videos of the UI, box, and controller? What kind of internet apps are there?


The UI and remote are exactly the same as the UI and remote variety available for the XG1 DVR today.  The box is a 6x6x1 inch black bot with a square button on the top right.  The Xi3 has power in, HDMI out, and an SD card slot on the back along with the MoCA connector (coax).


You can see some drawings of the Xi3 here:

 

Xi3 Quick Start Guide

http://media2.comcast.net/anon.comcastonline2/support/help/faqs/sik_files/HOW8585Xi3_GettingStartedG...

 


 

Contributor

Re: My experience with the Xi3 so far

thanks mannn

Regular Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

What's the difference between a pace DVR and the XI3? As a poster said, "It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV." can't this be done with the DVR I alrrady have?
Gold Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/x1-hub-vs-companion-box


Jdawg1 wrote:
What's the difference between a pace DVR and the XI3? As a poster said, "It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV." can't this be done with the DVR I alrrady have?



Regular Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

So this is a nondvr box that can pause live tv?
Valued Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


Jdawg1 wrote:
What's the difference between a pace DVR and the XI3? As a poster said, "It comes with an SD card, so you can pause and rewind live TV." can't this be done with the DVR I alrrady have?

The Xi3 is an all-IP companion ("non-DVR") box to a Pace or ARRIS XG1 DVR. The Xi3 box doesn't contain any tuners, it can only access one of the ones in the XG1 gateway box .

 

The Pace and Samsung RNG150N companion ("non-DVR") box cannot pause or rewind Live TV like the XG1 DVR, only recordings. However, the use of that "Xfinity Instant Replay" SD card allows the Xi3 box to buffer up to 25 minutes of live TV.

 

See:

X1: Equipment Comparison

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/x1-hub-vs-companion-box

 

DVR vs. Non-DVR Set-Top Boxes

 

There are a few key differences between the DVR and the non-DVR set-top boxes.

 

- All recording is done from the DVR. Non-DVR set-top boxes can schedule recordings and play back recorded content, but do not record content.

 

- It is the DVR that connects with the Comcast network to buffer live TV and access certain applications. As a result, only the DVR and X1 non-DVR HDMI-only device allows access to pause and rewind live TV. The X1 non-DVR set-top boxes can pause and rewind recordings and XFINITY On Demand programs, but not live TV.

Frequent Visitor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

What is the cost for this? I realize it may vary depending on location. Do you buy or rent the box? Is there a monthly charge? I would call and ask, but I never get accurate information on the phone. Thanks
Silver Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

For me it's the same as any other non DVR, 9.95

Frequent Visitor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Thanks
Problem Solver

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Is the Xi3 more responsive than the XG1, or is it simply now on par with it?

Service Expert

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


scjohnson312 wrote:

Is the Xi3 more responsive than the XG1, or is it simply now on par with it?


No clue, but I bet it is, from what I've read on the web.

 

http://www.dslreports.com/faq/17774

 

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/11/4418868/comcast-xi3-dvr-ditches-hard-drive-puts-your-recordings-in...

 

http://www.lightreading.com/meet-comcasts-ip-only-set-top/d/d-id/698739

 

http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/cable-tv/x1-hub-vs-companion-box

 

And don't compare it to the XG1 DVR, compare it to an RNG150 companion.




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New Poster

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

I see you got the Xi3,  what market are you in?  I'm scheduled for an install and can't get an answer about the Xi3 in the Chicago area.

Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

Does cloud mean that your shows are saved on a server somewhere? or does the XG1 act as a server when streaming the recorded content on a different device?

Valued Contributor

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days


abhaygautom wrote:

Does cloud mean that your shows are saved on a server somewhere? or does the XG1 act as a server when streaming the recorded content on a different device?


The recordings are saved on both the XG1 DVR's hard drive and on a "cloud" server, which  makes them available to view on mobile devices.

 

See this other recent thread for more info:

 

Cloud service coming here supposedly tomorrow. couple questions...

 

 

Most Valued Poster

Re: Xi3 getting installed in 2 days

So say I have 1 main x1 & 2 xi3's. I can no longer record 4 shows while watching a 5th live bc each xi3 will take up a tuner? Ill only be able to record 2 while watching a 3rd live?
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