I really like my Xfinity TV, and particularly the DVR recording feature. But the on-screen program guide is a pain. I can get to the channel lineup on my computer, can I actually set up recordings through my computer too?
Comcast’s Xfinity service used to have a really great on-screen programming system that you could access via app and Web interface, but they got into trouble with some TiVO remote recording patents and shut it all down back in November 0f 2017. Until just a few days ago! As of Sept 30, 2019, a new remote programming feature has finally been brought back to the Xfinity interface. It’s a bit confusing, however, so I’m hoping they’ll redo it after a few months to integrate more smoothly into the overall system, but… it’s back!
The confusion is that if you’re trying to set a recording for a program you’ll only be able to watch on your home network, you’ll only be able to set up the recording in house too. Presumably a technological (or legal) limitation, it’s hugely limiting. Worse, there’s still the “access DVR recordings remotely” in the Web interface and apps, so it’s not clear how all this fits together.
Still, it’s something and if you’re sitting in your easy chair you can definitely use your phone, tablet or computer to quickly set up a recording or even a series recording…
To start, go to the online channel guide at xfinity.com/stream. For my demo I’m going to look up a movie I know is playing in a few days and set up a recording. To do that, it’s time to use the slick Xfinity search feature, tucked onto the top right of the screen:
The movie I’m interested in is actually called Bell, Book and Candle but check out how I can just get a couple of those words – in the wrong order – and it’ll match anyway:
Click on the match and you’ll see more information about it, including ratings and major stars in the film (or TV series if it’s a series):
A 77% on RottenTomatoes, sure, but it’s actually a pretty amusing, albeit innocuous comedy with a great cast. I recommend it as a fan of older films, but that’s another story.
More importantly, notice that it’s scheduled to be on channel 501 TCM Thursday at 6.00pm. Great. We can record programs off TCM because that’s part of my channel lineup.
Below the movie info box is an additional area:
It’s this lower entry that you’ll want to click or tap on to get to the record feature. Notice here, however, that there’s no indication that you can record the movie, is there? You just have to explore…
Finally, the Record button shows up. If you don’t see it, you don’t have permission to record this particular show, episode, movie or program. That could be because your current location doesn’t match the geo restrictions of the show (notice above the “IN-HOME” limitation), might be because you don’t actually subscribe to that channel or it might be for some other reason entirely that I haven’t encountered yet. 🙂
Assuming it’s there, however, click or tap on “Record” to set up your DVR recording. After just a few seconds you should see this:
Done. That’s it. When the time rolls around the movie will be recorded and show up in your Recordings queue. Want to confirm? Go back and click on the movie listing again and you’ll now see:
As you can see, you can cancel the recording if you want or, by clicking or tapping on “Modify Recording” you can adjust start and stop times, etc.
If you’re looking at an episode of a series, the record window is a bit more complicated:
I have a couple of TV series in my record-new-episodes queue and it works great. Far easier than trying to remember when the show comes on live TV, that’s for sure.
And that’s it. The Xfinity Stream app for your smartphone offers remote DVR recording features too, though it too has some confusing rules about what you can set up remotely. Let’s hope that all gets cleaned up so we can focus on our shows and not the technology soon. Meanwhile, now you know how to do it. Oh, and do check out Bell, Book and Candle. It’s amusing!
Pro Tip: I’ve been writing about computer basics for years. Please check out my basic computer help tutorials while you’re here. Thanks.