The opening of Comcast Home Security shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, since Comcast is one of the leading competitors in the Internet, home TV, and phone industry and they are always looking for ways to expand and attract new customers. Comcast launched their home security service in the spring of 2012 in Chicago, Illinois, and have been steadily broadening their reach into over 20 other markets within the country.
But what do they offer? And how do their security systems fair against big names like ADT or FrontShield?
What Features Does Comcast Home Security Offer?
As is standard with any home security system, Comcast Home Security offers protection from break-ins with a 24/7 alarm primarily accessed in the form of a tablet-sized control unit. Not only does this unit work via Wi-Fi and 3G connections to avoid messy cable clutter, it will alert the authorities in the event of a break-in. The dual Wi-Fi and 3G connections are extremely handy and important because it ensures the signal will get through should one or the other fail. And, as a more traditional (but still handy) touch, the control panel also includes a panic button in the event help is needed without an alarm actually being triggered.
As a bonus, Comcast offers climate control features that can help you save money on your utility bills. This is always handy, especially during the hot summer months when we leave our air conditioning on. One nice little feature is the ability to access your security system remotely via your cell phone. Comcast states they do this at no additional charge, which is a nice difference from some other security companies, such as ADT with ADT Pulse, who charge a monthly fee for such a thing.
What to Like about Comcast Home Security System?
Since Comcast is new in the home security business, it would seem they still have a few bugs to work out. The plus side is that Comcast already has a massive reach with their phone and Internet services, and because they’re a trusted name, it won’t be difficult to coax some new customers into giving it a try, especially with their tantalizing 30-day free trial. Another plus is being able to bundle their services, giving you the ease of having a single bill to pay. Service bundles are something Comcast is already familiar with.
Monthly costs added onto your cable, telephone, and Internet bill aren’t too steep, either. Comcast’s Preferred Package runs $39.95 a month, and includes three-door/window sensors, the wireless control pad, and a motion detector. For only $10 more a month, you can upgrade to the Premier Package, which includes two indoor/outdoor cameras, as well as two lighting and appliance controllers, a thermostat with controller, and the ability to store camera video footage online.
What’s the Bad Side?
Those aforementioned bundles? They’re awesome — so long as you want all your services through Comcast. However, should you choose to switch your Internet provider, for example, you’re out of luck. A Comcast Internet connection is required to even sign up for a Home Security system.
Likewise, many are turning their noses up at the installation costs associated with a Comcast Home Security system, which runs on average about $200 and up to $400. Whereas companies like FrontPoint Security offer free shipping, and free installation because their wireless units are so easy to install customers can do it themselves. Considering Comcast is using similar wireless technology, the $200 installation cost seems really steep.
As stated above, basic installation for both the Preferred and Premier packages includes three doors/windows, which also means you’re looking at extra costs for any extra doors and windows you want to install sensors. My small duplex has five windows and three doors, meaning even I would have extra fees to ensure my house is properly protected.
Contracts are another thing that might make you hesitate. Comcast is notorious for locking people into service contracts, and their security systems are no different. After your initial 30-day free trial (which isn’t technically free, if you consider installation costs that you might have to fight to get refunded if you choose not to keep the service), you’re looking at hefty fines for early termination. Not fun.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for many, is that Comcast is known as one of the worst companies for customer service. Being a Comcast customer for my Internet for years, I can attest to this. I’ve dealt with rude, impatient, and often incompetent people through Comcast and avoid contacting them at any cost. When you’re dealing with your Comcast Home Security system not functioning properly, dealing with poor customer service and not getting help when you need it can be extremely frustrating and worrisome.
Comcast Has Promise — But Needs Some Work
Overall, Comcast has the potential to be a leading name in the home security business. But without any special features that some other companies don’t offer (such as ADT’s carbon monoxide monitoring) and with their steep installation costs, they have some work to do in order to properly compete with the big guys in the industry.