The first thing to do is to haggle.
Call the 800-Comcast number and ask for the Customer Solutions Department. I reduced my bill about $30 a month and got more channels and higher (150 Mbps) internet. And they told me to check back during the holidays for perhaps better deals. The representative also said that Comcast would warn me in the future before special promotions expired.
The other thing to do is to replace your cable boxes ($9.95 a month + taxes). The rep advised me to get a new Roku box, which now (via a beta app) gives you all your Xfinity channels and lets you view your recorded and on-demand programs.
I decided to try this by purchasing a Roku 4 for $79.99 from Amazon.
I was a bit skeptical about this solution, but it really works. It also replaced my Amazon Fire TV gizmo, so if you do not own one already, this cost further offsets the price of the Roku. When you register the Roku online, it lets you sign into Amazon to activate their Prime Videos.
You can then select your other streaming services on your Roku/TV and sign into them.
The Roku home screen looks like this:
Finally, you must find the Xfinity Stream beta. If your Roku supports it, the Xfinity Stream beta will be shown in the Roku Channel Store. Add it.
Note however that this always starts on Channel 2. My HD channels (mostly) start at 1002, and there are no PgUp/Down buttons on the Roku remote control. The Options button (top-left — press * key) has an HD-only option, but this did not change the channels displayed on the grid for me. Pressing the down button to get to channel 1000 is painful, even with the built-in acceleration.
An update to the Xfinity App now adds a Favorites menu in the above screen capture. This allows you to vastly reduce the number of things you must scroll through to reach the station you desire.
You can also use the Search option
But, if one searches for, say CBS, confusingly we get (in Knoxville TN) Channel 8, but in fact activating the selection does give me the HD 1008 channel.
To see what is on, the browse option is probably the most useful way to find what to watch:
Both Netflix and Amazon look like their usual selves:
The video quality is excellent using hard-wired Ethernet. I shall return one of my cable boxes this week, and may buy a second Roku to eliminate another.
There are a few downsides to this. You need a second remote to control things like TV power. There is a volume control on the side of the remote, but this is only for the headphone jack. But speaking of volume..., I bought a second Roku Ultra (smaller) for the kitchen TV. The Roku makes the volume from the TV speakers MUCH louder, which is a Godsend, since the kitchen is often a noisy place. This Roku is connected via WiFi, and works beautifully. And, there are more available channels on my Xfinity app than there are via my cable box! For example BBC in HD is available only via Roku in my area.
There are no instructions in my box other than a language-free set of diagrams. There are no Xfinity voice commands, but Roku has its own voice commands on some models. They do NOT work for the Xfinity Stream app.
For a savings of $120 a year per Xfinity box, I can easily live with any restrictions due to using the Roku.