In the following comparison and review of Xfinity Flex and Roku, we have covered everything you need to know about them. Therefore if you are having trouble deciding, which streaming service to go with, read on and find out which one takes the gold.
People are cutting the cord and opting for streaming services. This is probably because the cost of cable subscriptions has always been too high for the majority while streaming services have proven affordable and versatile.
If you are a cord cutter, chances are you’ve been out there searching for a suitable streaming device. That being said, finding a streaming device that is suitable for you and your television can be daunting, especially since there are lots of options available.
Among the many options are Xfinity Flex and Roku.
Roku is a streaming device leader and actually has several streamers in its lineup. Despite having several models in the market, even the oldest media streamers remain to be the best.
Furthermore, the Roku streaming stick comes with a couple of great features such as 4K video resolution, offers Dolby Vision HDR, and superior voice control.
It’s fair to say that the Roku streaming stick is tailored to match the needs of most. Remember, in the modern world we live in, people have high expectations and would quickly dismiss something that is not up to their standards.
Xfinity Flex is somewhat the new kid on the block, and it was released in late 2019. It is basically a streaming box that allows you to watch movies and shows as well as access games, news, and music.
It may not match up to the more sophisticated likes of the Amazon Fire TV stick or even Roku streaming stick, but it has incredible features, which we will mention later on.
If you are left with the decision of choosing between Roku and Xfinity Flex, which one would you go for?
Roku is a big brand, and it seems like the more enticing choice. However, big is not always better. Xfinity Flex is a nice streaming device and if you are already a customer of Comcast Xfinity, you get it for free.
Xfinity Flex Overview
Xfinity Flex is more of a streaming device that lets you gather all of your favorite streaming apps into a single dashboard.
Normally, Xfinity is a cable TV service provider but countless numbers of people have been moving away from cable TV. Nowadays, people prefer to get their home entertainment from streaming services leaving cable TV service providers out in the dust.
After seeing TV cord-cutters wandering over to the streaming services and devices such as Roku or Amazon Fire Stick, Xfinity decided it’s time to go where the customers are. That’s when they designed the Xfinity Flex streaming box.
The Xfinity Flex is available to only the Xfinity customers and it’s provided for free. You won’t have to pay a dime to get access to this streaming service.
That said, if you’re not subscribed to the Xfinity internet service, this streaming service is surely not available to you.
Thankfully, Comcast Xfinity internet service is accessible in about 40 states across the United States and has over a million subscribers. That means Flex is widely available and people can finally enjoy free streaming services.
Xfinity Flex is different from typical streaming devices and services. This is because you don’t have to subscribe to any channel packages.
Instead, it majorly relies on free content from the free apps, free TV channels, Xfinity’s vast on-demand library, and subscription services from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, and so on.
You basically have the choice to pay for subscription services from steaming services or continue enjoying the provided free content.
That being said, this streaming device is a work in progress and it will be long before it can even compete with the likes of Roku.
Roku Streaming Stick Overview
All things considered, Roku would beat Xfinity Flex hands down. Roku has been around long enough and it has some features you won’t find on the Xfinity Flex streaming device.
For instance, if you are into 4K streaming, then Roku is definitely the media streamer for you. There are so many cool features on Roku especially if you opt for the high-end models.
These include a headphone jack built into the remote, Dolby Vision HDR, voice controls just to mention a few.
To help you make an informed decision, we will take the time to compare Xfinity Flex and Roku. This will give you a clearer picture of the best streaming device for you.
There are definitely a couple of features you are looking for and that’s exactly why we are here. We will elaborate on the details.
How much does it cost?
If you are already subscribed to Xfinity internet, then you get Xfinity Flex for free. You don’t have to pay anything for the streaming device.
It is made part of your internet package but you only receive one box. You can purchase more for $5 every household is allowed to have a maximum of three devices.
Despite Xfinity Flex being a free streaming box, you still pay for the premium services to access your favorite content.
In the meantime, Roku is armed with various models of its streamers.
There is the Roku Express, which is the cheapest device from the brand and costs about $30. It consists of features like voice search and HD streaming. Next on the list is the Roku Premiere, an upgrade from the previous model that costs $35.
Those who prefer to stream in 4 HDR can get the Roku streaming stick+. It’s a high-end model with cool features such as private listening and voice search. However, you will have to dig deeper in your pockets and fish out $50.
A recent addition is the Roku Ultra and this one comes with great features like programmable remote buttons, an Ethernet port, a remote finder, and the ability to stream in Dolby Vision. It costs a whopping $94 but that is the price you pay for all those sleek features.
Roku is a streaming platform that has some free channels with great movies and TV shows. With this, you will get access to the Roku Channel. It’s a free app that offers a wide range of ad-supported movies and TV shows.
In addition to free live channels like ABC News, you’ll find many videos for the kids.
Therefore, if your budget doesn’t cover subscriptions to the premium channels such as Netflix, there is still plenty of free content for you on Roku. Otherwise, you are required to pay subscription fees for some services including SlingTV and Amazon Prime.
First and foremost, let’s touch on the content you get with Xfinity Flex. Well, much of the good stuff that we like is right here on this platform. We are talking about Netflix, Showtime, Starz, Amazon Prime Video, Streampix, Tubi, and HBO.
Most of the subscriptions for these streaming services are added to your Xfinity monthly bill as long as you sign up. Amazon Prime and Netflix are the only streaming services that require the subscribers to pay directly to the provider. All the rest of the subscriptions run through Xfinity itself.
On the flip side, many apps are missing from this platform. It’s really disappointing because people like variety so that they can choose whatever works for them.
Xfinity Flex lacks notable apps such as Disney Plus, CBS All Access, Spotify, Pandora, and so on. The number of apps you won’t find on this platform is way too many that it makes you wonder if it’s even worth it.
The majority of viewers get streaming devices because of the various free apps they can access on the platform. If you have used a streamer like Roku before, you can attest to it that there are some apps on it that you would never have known existed.
Flex takes this joy away from the viewers. You can’t explore and enjoy those weird and funny shows found on some of the free apps.
If good content is what you want, there are streaming services and channels like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video that will provide whatever you need.
Though, Xfinity tries as much as possible to keep viewers on its own interface rather than letting you wander around elsewhere. For instance, Xfinity Flex’s home page is evidently lacking a button you can use to find Netflix.
Not that it’s impossible to find the button, the issue is it’s pretty much hidden and you have to dig around to find it. It’s actually cleverly hidden at the bottom. And when you finally find the button named ‘Explore Netflix’, you can click on it to see the Netflix titles but you’ll still be on the Flex interface.
On the other hand, Roku claims to offer access to over 400,000 movies and TV shows from the various on-demand services.
Their claim is not far from the truth considering it offers content from almost all the major streaming services including Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, HBO, YouTube and so much more. There is also the Roku Channel which is actually free. This adds way more content to the platform.
If you want a streaming platform that will provide a daily dose of movies and series, Roku is your best choice.
Xfinity Flex has just a few of the main services and seems to be more concerned about keeping you on the interface than anywhere else.
Xfinity Flex seems to have given much thought to its remote control. It’s actually the one area where Flex stomps its competitors.
First of all, we liked the feel of flex’s XR15 remote. It fits nicely in the hand and the backlit rubber buttons are soft to the touch. Personally, I have encountered a fair share of terrible remotes that are clunky with hard buttons. It doesn’t take long to recognize a high-quality remote when I see one.
The remote control also comes with a voice search function that’s remarkably accurate and effective. You don’t have to spend like ten minutes issuing the same voice command to a device.
The XR15 remote control from Xfinity Flex never misunderstood any of our commands and searches. Aside from that, it can also control your TV’s power, channel selection and adjust the volume. Unfortunately, it doesn’t control the TV settings.
An impressive feature of this remote is the ‘Aim Anywhere’ technology. You can literally point it anywhere and the signal still reaches your device.
Who would have thought Xfinity Flex can have such a cool remote? But does it outshine the Roku’s?
The Roku remote has buttons on it designed to control your TV. This is important because it eliminates the need to switch between your TV remote and that of the streamer.
The remote can control your television as well as an HDMI-supported soundbar. Just like Flex’s remote, the Roku one also has a voice search feature. It contains a microphone button which you can use to search for your favorite movies and TV shows and play them.
Additionally, the Roku remote comes with shortcut buttons for some streaming services like Disney Plus and Netflix. Though these shortcut buttons can only be used for the specific channels and which means they are not programmable.
For some high-end Roku models, the remote also features a built-in headphone jack for private listening. All you have to do is sit down, relax and watch shows without disturbing others.
The sound on the TV or soundbar is muted and it then comes out through the headphones. During this time, you can still use the remote to adjust the volume.
Both the Roku and Xfinity Flex have great remote controls. That being said, Roku has the more advanced remote. It supports private listening and even offers shortcut buttons for popular channels. Xfinity Flex comes in at a close second.
Apps and Streaming Services
The good thing about Xfinity Flex is that it has great live TV channels. Some of them such as Tubi, ESPN3, Sky News, and Xumo are free.
But then the main reason why people go for the streaming platforms is to get access to the on-demand and live TV streaming services. This is where they find the latest movies, shows, games and so much more. That being said, you will need a subscription to the particular services to watch their content.
Amazon Prime is among the subscription streaming services on Xfinity Flex. It costs $12.99 per month but comes with a 30-day free trial.
Amazon Prime is the home to kids’ movies, educational TV, original films, and even in-theatre releases. If you want to add onto the service more content they allow you to purchase add-ons such as Starz for an additional fee. Though, you can’t purchase directly through your Amazon Prime on Flex.
HBO has a subscription fee of $14.99 per month and also provides a seven-day free trial. Its catalogue is packed with movies, shows, documentaries and original series.
It’s also worth mentioning that this service also some of the popular shows like Game Of Thrones and Silicon Valley. That’s aside, Hulu was not available on Xfinity Flex but it was recently added.
This most recent addition costs $6 per month and with that you are on your way to watching great shows like The Handmaid’s Tale among many others.
Netflix is one of those streaming services that you can’t miss on a streamer. Well, it’s also right here on Xfinity Flex starting from a monthly subscription of $8.99.
The service comes with a massive library of shows and movies you cannot miss to watch. If you can afford the premium plan, you benefit from more simultaneous streams and 4K picture quality.
Some of the binge-worthy titles include Ozark, Breaking Bad and so much more. Netflix has something for all ages and pretty much everyone. Moving on, there is Showtime which comes at a flat rate of $12 per month.
Thankfully, you won’t have to commit to a contract because they have a no-contract policy. Some of the titles you will enjoy on this channel include Homeland and Billions.
Music fanatics can finally rejoice since Xfinity Flex already has them covered. You can listen to as much music as you want on apps like NPR One, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Amazon Music.
While the apps on the platform are quite a few, there are plans to add more in the future. Peacock and CS All Access are the newest addition to the platform and we hope there will be many more in the coming years.
Note that if you were already subscribed to Starz, HBO, Cinemax, Epix, or Showtime you will be required to cancel the subscription and then repurchase the specific services through Comcast to access the services on Flex. As for the other apps including Netflix and Hulu, you can use your existing credentials to log in.
Unlike Xfinity Flex, Roku has a vast number of apps. Roku has been around longer than Xfinity Flex and as such we can understand why there are hundreds of apps on this popular streaming platform.
It has almost all the apps you can think of both paid and free. Some of the apps are for games. This means you will not only be watching movies and series but also playing some games online.
If you would like to play games once in a while, Roku is the better streamer compared to Xfinity Flex.
Xfinity Flex vs Roku Best for 4K TVs
Among the standout features on Xfinity Flex is that it supports 4K streaming. Yes, you can actually stream in 4K HDR. Though, you require a stable internet connection with speeds of at least 25Mbps to able to stream in the premium quality.
The fact that Xfinity Flex supports 4K HDR streaming doesn’t mean it will be easy for you. Keep in mind, most of the Xfinity internet plans have a speed cap.
In that case, you will need to get the Performance internet package that costs $40 per month to stream 4K HDR. Don’t forget you must have a compatible TV as well as a streaming service subscription. Netflix offers 4K streaming but only with its more expensive premium plan.
In the meantime, rest assured Roku has is the best for 4K streaming. You will obviously pay more for the Roku models that support 4K streaming.
The good thing about Roku is that it provides plenty of options to buy or rent 4K movies and series that might not be available on your streamer.
You can’t miss the major apps for renting or buying movies on the Roku platform. Therefore, when it comes to 4K streaming, Roku is basically the better device.
Xfinity Flex interface might seem difficult to navigate but that’s not really the case. The first tab on the front page is named Free to Me. As the name suggests, it shows you all the free content you can get on the platform.
There is not so much free content here but it’s enough to get you started. The next tab in line is the Live TV tab that pulls some nice channels and content from the preloaded apps including Pluto TV and Xumo.
These are basically ad-supported free TV apps. The New tab stays true to its name with new titles from the likes of YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Though most of these titles are essentially the ones you can buy or rent from Xfinity. Xfinity uses a similar approach to the other services such as Amazon Fire.
Those who like listening to Music can go to the Music tab and access a great playlist. You can watch the music videos from YouTube here as well. Most of the Music will come from the services you sign up like Amazon Music.
And finally, we move on to the Today tab. This is where you will find weather reports, politics, celebrity gossips, news and so much more.
If you have a smart home, then you can use Xfinity to monitor your home’s security cameras, control lighting, thermostats, and so on. All this happens from your TV.
On the other hand, Roku has one of the cleanest interfaces you can ever find on a streaming device. On the menu, you can arrange the apps the way you want just like you do on your smartphone.
This also means that you have an opportunity to pick the apps used the most and place them on the home menu. As such, you will spend less time searching around for an app that you are most likely to use daily.
The interface is simple and looks natural. It’s not overcrowded with junk or hundreds of apps you barely use. You have the chance to put on the home page only what you want and that’s really impressive.
Xfinity Flex and Roku User Experience
Even though Xfinity Flex has a simple setup the user experience is not as seamless as you would have expected. For instance, it’s divided into three guides with Xfinity taking one and the rest for Pluto and Xumo.
They are basically standard grids each with a separate tab for live and the on-demand content. You will also come across some filtering options. For a new Flex user, it’s a bit cumbersome to keep switching between the three guides and the various on-demand menus.
The main issue with Xfinity Flex is how difficult it is to find the on-demand content. The way the platform presents its content is shoddy and unhelpful to the users.
Even when you try to sort the content, it still doesn’t come out that well. Flex struggles to keep up with the other streaming platforms that present their on-demand content in a neat and well-thought-out manner.
The ‘Free to me’ tab is not as handy as it should be. One would think that this is where you find essentially all the free content available on the platform but that’s not the case. All you find here is the rental or purchase-only titles.
In case any of your subscription services are linked, there is even more free titles to sort through, which doesn’t help. Though, there is the option to mark your favorites which serves to narrow down things a bit.
If you like being organized, Roku will offer you exactly what you need. The fact that you can arrange the apps depending on the ones you use the most introduces a convenience factor.
If there are any apps that you use on a daily basis, all you have to do is place them on the front row. This, way you will spend less of your time searching for it. The truth is if all streaming platforms could do this for their customers, life would be so much easier. So, we thank Roku for this.
Xfinity Flex does have quite a simple setup but it’s not the best. There are so many setbacks that affect the user experience, unlike Roku that lets you decide the apps to put on the home page.
Which one is the best?
The truth is we all want the best streaming services we can find. We have discussed a lot about Xfinity Flex and Roku.
It’s now time to determine the best streaming platform among the two. They both have strengths and weaknesses in certain areas but there will always be one that overpowers the other.
Xfinity Flex is the perfect streaming device for people who have Xfinity internet. The streaming box is provided to the Xfinity internet users at absolutely no extra cost.
In that case, you might as well go ahead and get it. It will make no sense in getting another streaming device if you can get this one for free. While there are fewer apps on the platform, a good number of the major ones are available.
On the other hand, if you are new to streaming devices and don’t have the Xfinity Flex internet, Roku is your ideal choice. It comes with many great features and a user-friendly interface.
Roku also has thousands of apps, many of which are popular like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
What can we say, Roku has all the good stuff and it beats Xfinity Flex in almost all categories. It’s the better streaming device without any doubt.
That being said, the final decision is up to you. The choice you make will depend on several factors. For instance, the exact features you’re looking for in a streamer and budget. On that note, we will leave everything in your able hands and the information we have provided will also help you out.
Is Xfinity Flex really free?
Yes, as long as you are an Xfinity internet customer, you get the Xfinity Flex streaming box for free. There are some streaming services on the platform that requires a subscription-like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. There is also free content from the commercial-supported services and apps.
Does Roku have a monthly fee?
There is no monthly fee for watching the free channels available on Roku or even using the device itself. You will only have to pay the subscription fee for some streaming channels like Sling TV and Netflix. But aside from that, there is nothing else. Roku has plenty of free channels and content.
What is the best device for streaming TV?
Xfinity Flex is the best device for streaming if you are already an Xfinity internet customer. However, Roku is the better and more advanced device and comes with many of the great features that people want. In that case, Roku would be the best streaming device for streaming your TV.