Deciding on the right TV service for you - and your budget - can be a challenge. Each provider offers something a bit different in terms of channels, pricing, and contract terms.
The two also differ in customer satisfaction. According to the 2018 ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) scores, DIRECTV came in at 64, beating out Comcast XFINITY at 57 (on a scale of 0-100).
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While the slick limited time offer pricing looks tempting, you should consider the big picture - what your TV service will cost you over the course of time.
DIRECTV charges more per month in the second year of service, but XFINITY tacks on fees that are included in the DIRECTV pricing. These include:
- DVR rental
- HD fee
When you factor in all of these extra fees, DIRECTV comes out a little less on average for comparable packages.
DIRECTV TV Packages & Prices
|Provider/Package||TV Channels||Monthly Price|
All packages come with the DIRECTV HD Genie and dozens of satellite music channels. Choice and up include NFL Sunday Ticket. Premier Includes premium movie networks.
Comcast XFINITY TV Packages & Prices
|Provider/Package||TV Channels||Monthly Price|
|XFINITY Digital Starter||140||$49.99|
|XFINITY Digital Preferred||220||$59.99|
|XFINITY Digital Premier||260||$104.99|
All packages come with dozens of digital music channels. Premier includes the premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime.
Bottom line: Both TV providers offer a wide range of channel options. In terms of sheer volume, DIRECTV tips the balance with its larger channel lineup for less money.
Channel options are obviously going to be a major deciding factor in your choice of TV service.
- Every package from Choice on up includes NFL Sunday Ticket (every out-of-market game every week)
- Every package from Xtra up includes ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, MLB Network, NBA TV, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports
- Staple stations like Cartoon Network, Food Network, TBS, TNT, and AMC are included in every plan, plus extras like Nick Jr. and Disney XD
- The top tier - Premier - comes with 20+ premium movie channels, including HBO, Starz, Showtime, Cinemax and FXM
Comcast XFINITY Channels
- Basics like Food Network and Cartoon Network are missing until the third tier
- Smithsonian Channel comes with most packages (is offered as optional on DIRECTV)
- Decent selection of sports coverage starting at the Economy tier, including Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports
- Top tier - Premier - includes similar selection as DIRECTV: HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, and The Movie Channel
- Sports add-ons include RedZone, NFL Network, and NHL Network
Bottom line: If you're a big sports fan, DIRECTV gives you more at no extra cost. With Comcast XFINITY, most of the extra sports coverage will cost you in the form of subscriptions. XFINITY wins in on-demand content, with 84,000+ titles compared to DIRECTV's 10,000+ library. As far as movie channels, the two are about even.
The battle between the DIRECTV Genie and the XFINITY X1 DVR systems is a close one. The Genie is 4K capable and has more storage capacity, but Comcast's X1 combines DVR and cloud storage for viewing flexibility.
- 1 TB - 200 hours in HD/800 hours SD
- Record up to 5 unique streams at once
- Connect up to 8 TVs (additional receivers cost extra)
- 4K (must have a compatible 4K TV)
- Manage and watch on the go with app
Comcast XFINITY X1:
- 500 GB - up to 60 hours in HD/300 hours of SD
- Record up to 6 shows simultaneously
- Download recordings from the cloud for offline viewing
- Manage and watch on your mobile devices via the app
Bottom line: You get more storage with DIRECTV but you can split your recordings between your DVR and the cloud with the X1.
The lure of satellite television - particularly for people who live in rural areas - is its widespread availability. Still, Comcast XFINITY provides twice the availability of AT&T U-verse.
States where DIRECTV is available: 50
States where Comcast XFINITY is available: 40
States without XFINITY: Alaska, Iowa, Hawaii, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
You can check TV provider availability easily and quickly using our cable provider by zip code tool.
You want to know what you're committing to, and for how long. DIRECTV makes it simple and straightforward, Comcast XFINITY complicates things a bit more.
DIRECTV Contract Terms
- Two-year contract required
- Introductory pricing first 12 months, then rates double (for most packages)
- Early termination fee - $20 per month for each unfulfilled month in your contract
Comcast XFINITY Contract Terms
- Introductory promotional pricing requires 12-month agreement
- Some XFINITY bundles require a 24-month service agreement
- No-contract options cost about $10 more per month
- Early termination fee - $10 for each unfulfilled month in your agreement
Bottom line: If you don't mind the commitment, DIRECTV offers the most transparency in their contract terms. You know what you're getting, and you know what you'll pay after your special offer expires. XFINITY is a good choice if you want to stay away from a contract and don't mind sorting through the various contract vs no-contract pricing and package options.
- Will you get your favorite channels?
- How much will it cost - and will the price change over time?
- How long is the contract?
- Will you pay extra for equipment?
- What about mobile viewing?
Read on to find out the answers in our guide to DIRECTV vs Comcast XFINITY.
Finding the best TV provider for your needs and budget is easy as long as you know what you're looking for and have the complete facts on pricing. Before you make your final decision, read our full Comcast XFINITY review and DIRECTV review for more details on each provider.
Looking for other services in additional to TV? Check out the best TV and internet bundles!