New Xfinity a challenge to some Comcast customers

Southwest Florida Comcast customers confused about the company’s switch to Xfinity probably aren’t alone.

Xfinity, Comcast’s upgraded television, Internet and Voice service, is available on multiple platforms including televisions, computers, mobile phones, iPads and tablets. Comcast has also added a security system and recently partnered with Skype, which will enable customers to makes calls via their television sets.

Yet some customers are trying understand how Xfinity works.

When Comcast customer Kathy Thomson of Bonita Springs returned after a week-long trip, the service had switched to Xfinity and all her pre-recorded programs had disappeared.

This wasn’t supposed to happen, but some of our customers have had this problem, Comcast technical service supervisor Robin Jackmack said.

Comcast customers in Southwest Florida, who are from the north, may already understand the new guide system because they’ve been using it, said Barbara Hagen, a Comcast spokeswoman. Some of them have already been helping out their neighbors who are unfamiliar with the system, Jackmack said.

Other features Comcast removed include local weather radar and “picture in picture,” or PIP.

“We hope with a later version picture in picture will come back,” Hagen said.

For now the best way to switch between screens is to use the “swap” button. Customers may also pause one of the two programs they are watching by hitting pause and then “swap” to the other show. This allows the viewer to switch to another program and not miss anything, Hagen said. A person may also use the “last” button to go back and forth between channels.

Currently, channel 25 provides The Weather Channel, but in the future local weather radar will be back, Hagen said.

Not all customers are upset with the change to Xfinity.

“I actually love all of the free movies on demand and the option to pick shows for the kids to watch,” said Comcast customer Susan Chaplin of Naples.

The most common difficulties have been with the basic layout of the upgraded guide and recording options, Jackmack said.

“Something new takes patience. They seem to see how easy and beneficial it is once they become familiar with the new features,” Jackmack said.

For questions on the guide, call Comcast at (239) 432-9277.

*****

Xfinity has changed the way Comcast customers use their TVs and computers.

Here’s a “how-to” guide:

Recording shows

Press “record,” but if you want to record a series, hit “guide” and hit “record” two times. Previously there was a prompt for recording a series right after a person hit record.

A person can also go into the system by selecting “guide” and then “info.” Next select “record” and move the cursor to the red dot with two semi-circles. Once you are to this point, you may select what type of episodes you want to record and what time you want the recording to start and stop.

Using new on-screen guide

The default provides four rows of programs and a banner at the bottom to advertise video-on-demand. Customers can hit “menu” twice, then “set up,” and “grid set up.” Next hit “grid cell height” and select “single.” This changes the default to five rows of programs.

New clock

After selecting a program and seeing the information about the program, a customer can look at the bottom of the screen and hit the clock. If the time of the program doesn’t fit the person’s schedule, the clock will show all the times the program is airing. A person who finds a program they like, but it not subscribed to that channel, may find the program on a channel they do subscribe to.

Searching for programs

The on-screen guide has improved search ability. Instead of selecting letter A and scrolling through all the programs that start with A to find “American Idol” a customer can select one to two to all the letters of the show and “American Idol” rises to the top of the list.

Scrolling can also be done by hitting the grey button up arrow titled “page” or the down arrow titled “page.” This is much faster than using the white arrows that move the programs one by one.

Using the toolbar

If you are having trouble with the large toolbar across your screen, when you pause a program, try hitting “menu” two times. Then select “set up,” “guide setup,” and “flip bar position.” Choose “top” or “bottom” to move the toolbar to the top or bottom of the screen.

Parental controls

There are parental control options and color-coding for the on-screen guide to categorize shows by sports, movie, children and “other shows.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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