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Dish vs Comcast XFINITY: Which is Better?

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Dish vs Comcast XFINITY
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Dish Network is the second largest satellite TV provider in the US, with about 13.7 million pay television subscribers to DIRECTV's 20 million.

XFINITY is the largest cable television provider in the US. That doesn't mean they're automatically the right TV service for you, though.

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There are several factors you should look at before you decide on a pay TV provider.

Key Considerations

Promotional pricing can lure you in quickly, but remember - no matter which TV provider you choose, that attractive pricing is temporary. It's best to look at the big picture.

  • What other fees are added to your bill?
  • Are your favorite channels available?
  • Is there a contract?
  • How long does the promotional pricing last?
  • What kind of equipment do you get?

Find out all about how Dish measures up against XFINITY in the following comparison.

TV Package and Price Comparison - Dish vs XFINITY

At first glance, Dish vs XFINITY pricing looks fairly similar. If we dig a little deeper though, we find that there are a few extra fees that can add up quickly on your monthly XFINITY bill.

  • Separate DVR rental and HD service fees
  • Broadcast TV fee
  • Regional Sports fee
  • Installation fees (for both self-install and professional installation)

These fees can total up to $30 or more just on their own, which turns that nice introductory into a big dose of sticker shock.

With Dish, you get the first Hopper 3 free, although you do pay a monthly DVR service charge.

In terms of promotional pricing, most of XFINITY's deals last 12 months. Dish guarantees your pricing for two years.

XFINITY TV Packages & Prices

Provider/PackageTV ChannelsMonthly Price
XFINITY Digital Starter140$49.99
XFINITY Digital Preferred220$59.99

All of the packages include music channels, and Premier gives you premium movie channels like HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax.

Dish TV Packages & Prices

Provider/PackageTV ChannelsMonthly Price
Dish America's Top 120190$59.99
Dish America's Top 120 Plus190$69.99
Dish America's Top 200240$79.99
Dish America's Top 250290$89.99

All plans include local channels and 70+ Sirius XM music channels.

TV Channel Comparison - Dish vs XFINITY

Both providers give you a decent selection of the most popular channels across their mid-tier offerings. Dish has a bit of an edge on sports coverage while XFINITY excels at on-demand content with over 84,000 titles to Dish's 20,000+.

Dish Channels

  • Broad sports coverage starts at the very bottom tier with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, Fox Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network
  • NFL Network comes with three out of the four packages
  • Multi-Sport package comes with over 35 premium and regional sports networks, including NFL RedZone
  • Unique sports add-ons available like Willow Cricket channel and Racetrack Television Network (horse racing)
  • Top tier - America's Top 250 - comes with The Movie Channel, Showtime, Starz, Starz Encore, Epix, and FXM

XFINITY Channels

  • Typical selection of sports and family channels across lower tiers
  • NFL Network and MLB Network included in top three plans
  • Sports Entertainment Package sold separately with NFL RedZone and out-of-market regional sports
  • Starz Encore channels come with all plans from Preferred and up
  • Premier plan includes HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, Encore, and The Movie Channel

Bottom line: The big news here is that at the time of this writing, HBO and Cinemax are noticeably absent from the Dish premium movie channel lineup. This is due to a fee dispute with AT&T and may change over time.

Other than that issue, both offer PPV events and the typical menu of premium sports add-ons like NHL Center Ice and NBA League Pass. Dish channels are great for sports fan while XFINITY channels are suited to those who are more interested in a varied blend of different entertainment types and must have their HBO shows (at least for the time being).

DVR and Equipment Comparison - Dish vs XFINITY

Dish Network's Hopper 3 is notorious for its massive capacity and flexibility. XFINITY's X1 Cloud DVR is no slouch, but it's tough to compete with the Hopper.

Dish HD DVR Hopper 3

  • 2 TB - up to 500 hours of HD recording/2000 SD
  • Record up to 16 shows simultaneously
  • Connect up to 8 TVs total (extra receivers - called Joeys - incur additional monthly fees)
  • Voice-controlled remote
  • Manage and watch on other devices with the Dish Anywhere app
  • Download programs for offline viewing

XFINITY X1 Cloud DVR

  • 500 GB - up to 60 hours of HD recording/300 SD
  • Record up to 6 unique streams at once
  • Voice-controlled remote
  • Download recordings for offline viewing
  • Manage and watch on the go with the XFINITY app

Bottom line: Despite Comcast adding flexibility via their cloud DVR, it's still a weak contender against the Hopper 3. In fact, since you can also access your recordings, live TV, and on-demand content on your mobile with the Dish app, it's tough to pinpoint many advantages to the XFINITY cloud DVR.

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Availability Comparison - Dish vs XFINITY

Availability is where satellite TV service really shines over traditional cable.

States with Dish Network: 50

States with Comcast XFINITY: 40

Still, if you're a die-hard fan of cable television you'll have a much better chance of finding XFINITY near you than other cable TV providers. For example, AT&T U-Verse availability is limited to just 21 states, while Charter Spectrum rivals XFINITY with service in 41 states.

Contract Comparison - Dish vs XFINITY

Contract terms can influence your decision as much as price or selection.

Dish Contract Terms

  • 24-month service agreement required
  • Price guaranteed for the duration of the contract
  • Early termination fee is $20 for each month left in your contract

XFINITY Contract Terms

  • Promotional pricing offers require a 12-month commitment
  • Prices go up in your second year
  • No-contract service costs more per month

Bottom line: If you're not desperate to avoid commitment, it's worth it to calculate the potential savings you'll see over two years with Dish compared with XFINITY's pricing plus their extra fees.

Recap

Ultimately your choice of the best TV provider boils down to personal preference. You might be willing to pay a little more to stay out of a contract, or maybe you'd rather have the larger storage capacity offered by Dish's DVR system.

XFINITY may also tip the scale with their affordable internet and TV bundles. Don't count out Dish for bundled services either as the satellite company partners with internet providers in your area to offer more value as well.

Still undecided? Check out our full reviews of Dish Network and Comcast XFINITY before making a final decision!

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