Xfinity vs. AT&T — TV and Internet Service

We’ve racked our brains over pricing, long-term contracts, download speeds, channel selection, and nearly everything else to find out which is better: Xfinity or AT&T?
Best for Most
Faster-than-most internet
Lackluster customer service
Runner-up
Partners with DIRECTV
Long-term contracts

THE QUICK AND DIRTY: Xfinity and AT&T service have been competing for years, but it seems like we’re always finding new things that make these two different. We’ve racked our brains over pricing, long-term contracts, download speeds, channel selection, and nearly everything else to find out which is better: Xfinity or AT&T’s line of products?

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Before You Keep Reading

AT&T is pushing its recently acquired DIRECTV satellite TV service to the forefront and ignoring its inferior U-verse TV. DIRECTV is really a much better product than U-verse TV in almost every way possible (price, selection, service, etc.), so AT&T’s actions make sense. It’s also why we decided to forget U-verse TV in our comparison.

We’ll cover the TV-only winner, the internet-only winner, and we’ll follow up with the big finale: which company has the best TV/internet service bundle.

Xfinity vs. AT&T—overall comparison (TV + internet)

PriceSpeedChannelsDVRDetails
Xfinity$49.99–$154.99/mo.*25–1000 Mbps140–260X1 (60 hrs)View Plans
AT&T (with DIRECTV)$65-$190/mo.†5–1000 Mbps155–330Genie (200 hrs)View Plans

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months w/a 1-year agreement
†For 12 months with a 2-yr TV and 1-yr internet agreement, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.

Best for most

For the best combination of TV and internet service, we gave Xfinity the win. We like TV and we love internet, and unless you happen to live in an area where AT&T Fiber is available, Xfinity’s internet speeds are much faster than AT&T’s (read more about it below), so we can watch Netflix without the buffering, and if we’re still not sufficiently entertained, we can tune into XFINITY TV’s cable channels to watch the latest shows and movies.

Of course, Xfinity isn’t without its drawbacks—Comcast customer service continues to be less than stellar—but we’ll talk more about that later. So Xfinity wins for the best TV/internet combo, but TV-only service is a different story.

We talk more about TV-only service in the TV section, but let’s start with internet and how Xfinity blows AT&T out of the water.

Find the best internet providers in your area.

Xfinity vs. AT&T Internet

Prices are neck and neck—but Xfinity gains a lead over AT&T for speed.

At first glance, Xfinity and AT&T Internet seem pretty similar. But when you start to dig deeper, you’ll uncover one major difference.

Xfinity v. AT&T Internet pricing

Comparing the pricing between Xfinity and AT&T Internet seems pretty straightforward. Both offer a wide variety of plans at pretty reasonable prices.

However, if you only need a small plan, we’d recommend Xfinity, since its Performance Starter plan gets you 10 Mbps for about $10 less per month than AT&T Internet’s 5 Mbps plan.

Xfinity internet

PlansPrice*SpeedDataDetails
Performance Plus$39.99/mo.60 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Performance Pro$54.99/mo.150 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Blast! Pro$69.99/mo.250 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Gigabit$89.99/mo.1000 Mbps1 TBView Plan

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For the first 12 months w/a 1-year agreement

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a higher-end plan, we recommend AT&T’s Internet 300 plan. It gets you a 300 Mbps fiber connection for pretty much the same price as Xfinity’s 250 Mbps (non-fiber) plan. Nice.

Speaking of fiber, remember that one big difference we mentioned? That’s it.

AT&T Internet

PlansPrice*SpeedDataDetails
Internet Basic 5$40/mo. 5 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Internet 10-100$50/mo.10-100 Mbps1 TBView Plan

AT&T Fiber

PlansPrice*SpeedDataDetails
Internet 100$50/mo.100 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Internet 300$70/mo. 300 Mbps1 TBView Plan
Internet 1000$90/mo.1,000 MbpsNoneView Plan

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 1-year agreement

AT&T offers fiber plans in certain areas, while Xfinity is cable only. Fiber is great for reliable speeds as well as upload speeds that match your download speed.

Whatever would you need that for? Well, if you upload large files to YouTube or livestream on Facebook, you’ll appreciate those matching download and upload speeds.

Xfinity vs. AT&T Internet speed

Both AT&T and Xfinity offer a variety of speeds, and they seem to deliver on them. But AT&T Fiber is much more reliable than its DSL alternative.

In Netflix’s July 2018 ISP Leaderboard, we noticed that both Xfinity and AT&T Fiber ranked in the top 5 when it comes to streaming Netflix—but AT&T’s DSL internet ranked 13th.1

AT&T Fiber

XfinityAT&T FiberAT&T Internet (DSL)
July 2018 Netflix rank1st4th13th

Long story short, if you’re going with AT&T, get AT&T Fiber if you can.

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What speed do you need?

Find out what speed you need to stream Netflix, music, and other services in our Best ISPs for Streaming guide.

Xfinity vs. AT&T (DIRECTV) — TV Comparison

AT&T’s DIRECTV barely beats out Xfinity TV.

Even though AT&T now owns it, DIRECTV is still one of the better TV services out there. To start, DIRECTV is available anywhere in the United States, it carries NFL SUNDAY TICKET, and it includes a pretty sweet DVR, the Genie. However, simple pricing has never been a strong suit of DIRECTV, and there are other things to watch out for, like the long-term contract.

AT&T (DIRECTV) TV

PlansPrice*ChannelsDVRDetails
SELECT™$35.00/mo.155+Genie (200 hrs.)View Plan
ENTERTAINMENT$40.00/mo.160+Genie (200 hrs.)View Plan
CHOICE™$45.00/mo.185+Genie (200 hrs.)View Plan
XTRA$55.00/mo.235+Genie (200 hrs.)View Plan
ULTIMATE$60.00/mo.250+Genie (200 hrs.)View Plan
PREMIER™$110.00/mo.330+Genie (200 hrs.)View Plan

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.

Xfinity TV has never knocked our socks off, but it’s still better than most subscription TV services. It has options for no-contract and contract pricing, and it offers a sizable selection of on-demand shows and movies (more than 160,000). The X1, Comcast’s flagship DVR, rocks some nifty bells and whistles like voice search, multi-screen sports viewing, etc., but recording hours pale in comparison to DIRECTV’s Genie DVR., and it is available only when you bundle with internet.

Comcast Xfinity TV

PlansPrice*ChannelsDVRDetails
Digital Starter$49.99/mo.140+HD DVR (60 hrs)View Plan
Digital Preferred$59.99/mo.220+HD DVR (60 hrs)View Plan
Digital Premier$104.99/mo.260+HD DVR (60 hrs)View Plan

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 1-yr agreement

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Read more:

If you want an in-depth comparison between Xfinity’s X1 DVR and DIRECTV’s Genie DVR, check out the “Comcast Xfinity X1 Review.”

The thing about those Xfinity and DIRECTV contracts

Xfinity TV has an advantage over AT&T’s DIRECTV on pricing—but barely. Xfinity has a no-contract option if you’re willing to pay a little more, which may be its biggest price advantage. If you have to move in the next two years, don’t get DIRECTV—DIRECTV requires a two-year contract, and you’ll have to pay an early termination fee (ETF) to end it, which can run hundreds of dollars. To be fair, it does take some work to install a satellite dish, so we see why DIRECTV doesn’t want you quitting on it after a month of service. Still, if contracts are a deal-breaker, then Xfinity is the way to go.

To be clear, Xfinity does offer long-term contract options. You can get a lower price if you enter into a contract with Xfinity, and that’s fine. Sometimes we even prefer it so we can save a few bucks a month. But keep in mind Xfinity will raise prices as soon as the contract is up (DIRECTV will too).

But getting good TV isn’t just all about contracts, and DIRECTV redeems itself when you talk about anything other than its long-term contract.

DIRECTV makes its case for TV service

DirecTV logo

We’re of the opinion that more channels doesn’t always equal more value, but we have no problem if you disagree. If you happen to be a channel hoarder, most of AT&T’s DIRECTV packages offer more channels per dollar than Xfinity TV.  If you have a must-watch channel or show, we suggest you start by checking Xfinity’s channels or DIRECTV’s channels online. (You can always call and ask too.)

For example, we like a handful of shows on the FX channel, like The Americans and Legion. So we’d probably start by finding the lowest-priced package that offers that channel—the SELECT package from DIRECTV and the Digital Starter package from Xfinity.

If you care more about how you watch TV, it helps to know the difference between each service’s DVRs. Xfinity’s X1 lets you watch Netflix (DIRECTV’s Genie does not), and you can find more on-demand shows and movies compared to DIRECTV. On the other hand, DIRECTV’s Genie has four times the storage size of the X1, so no need to worry about deleting those reruns of Golden Girls you’ve been saving for a rainy day. As for simultaneous recording, the X1 can handle six shows at once and the Genie can manage five at once, so either way you don’t need to sweat recording everything at primetime on Sunday.

It’s almost too close to call, but we have to go with AT&T’s DIRECTV for TV service. There’s more to watch, including NFL SUNDAY TICKET (NFL subscription), and we like having more storage for the movies and shows we might watch. Besides, we never get tired of The Shawshank Redemption, so don’t make us delete it to make room for other movies.

Xfinity vs. AT&T — Bundles Comparison

If we’re going to get TV and internet service together, we’re getting Xfinity.

AT&T bundles its internet with DIRECTV’s satellite TV, and the results are a little surprising. For instance, $75 a month for 100 Mbps internet and the DIRECTV SELECT package is not too shabby, but after the first year of your two-year contract, that price will jump up to $108 per month.

We say if it sounds too good to be true, it is. However, if you score a sweet deal on TV and internet, make sure to get an email confirmation with any and all details included so you’re covered if any issues arise.

DIRECTV + AT&T Internet

TV + internet bundlePrice*SpeedChannelsDetails
DIRECTV SELECT + Internet 100$75/mo100 Mbps155+View Bundle
DIRECTV CHOICE + Internet 100$85/mo.100 Mbps185+View Bundle
DIRECTV PREMIER + Internet 100$140/mo.100 Mbps330+View Bundle

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr TV and 1-yr internet agreement, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.

Xfinity’s TV and internet bundles appeal to us more than AT&T’s, but we know we’ll have to get all the details in writing to make sure we don’t run into surprise fees or price increases.

Xfinity TV + internet

TV + internet bundlePrice*SpeedChannelsDetails
X1 Starter$89.99/mo150 Mbps140View Plan
X1 Preferred$114.99/mo150 Mbps220View Plan
X1 Premier$134.99/mo.150 Mbps260View Plan

Data effective 9/18/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 1-yr agreement

So which is it, Xfinity or AT&T for TV & internet?

It can be difficult to compare AT&T and Xfinity services when there are so many different promotions and plans, but we say this:

  • If you use internet more than TV but still want both, go with Xfinity service.
  • If you use TV more than internet but need both, you’d be fine with AT&T/DIRECTV.

We put a little more value in internet service because you can use it to stream live TV (DIRECTV NOW, Sling TV, etc.) and on-demand shows and movies (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc.,) so that factored into our decision.

Xfinity vs. AT&T Summary

Between AT&T and Xfinity, there isn’t one bundle that we’d call a “must have.” However, if you’re weighing your options, we recommend keeping this article open when you call. Pricing and plans may change depending on where you’re living, but if you call Xfinity be sure to bring up what AT&T is offering and vice versa.

We’re big believers in making these companies work for your hard-earned money. If Xfinity’s X1 Starter Double Play bundle is looking mighty appealing, why not bring up AT&T’s DIRECTV SELECT + Internet 100 bundle when you’re talking with a representative? You might eke out a better deal by bringing up what the competition is offering, and the more specific you are with pricing and details, the better the chances are of you getting a good deal. It’s worked for us, and we’ll do it again.

Find the best TV provider in your area.

Need help deciding?

If you’re having trouble choosing between Xfinity and AT&T, hit us up with any and all questions. We love hearing them, and it makes us feel good when we’re able to help out.

Sources

Netflix, “ISP Leaderboard – July 2018

  • Margery Guest

    I have AT&T and am totally disgusted with their customer service. Is XFinity’s any better? And what is the name of the company–Comcast or XFinity?
    Margery Guest

    • Steve

      Comcast customer service is the worst you will find anywhere. You would not believe how bad they are. By far the worst customer service I have ever dealt with in my life. It took us 14 months to get a correct bill, and that was after monthly calls for hours to person after person in some other country. Every time they would tell us “okay the bill should be correct now”….then the bill would come and it was still totally wrong! On top of that we had the contract with signed right in front of us and they did not want to honor the contract. Terrible does not even begin to describe comcast customer service. We switched from Wideopenwest to comcast about 4 yrs ago because comcast had a channel package we wanted, now out of the blue they dropped the main ch we went with them for, which is something they have done before. The ONLY good thing with comcast is the internet speed, other than that everything about them sucks. We are looking to drop comcast now, unless you want continual headaches I would avoid comcast like the plague.

  • https://www.tricountyinspector.com Jeff Baker

    ATT UVERSE stinks. Bad picture quality and they even charge you for HD premier. I’ve had DTV for 15 years and is by far a better picture. Can’t get DTV where I live and I miss it. UVERSE needs to do something about their HD quality. Techs told me all their equipment is refurbished junk. You would think UVERSE could put a little more effort in to their equipment and services. Roku and streaming picture quality BLOWS AWAY UVERSE equipment. It’s sad that consumers get screwed by companies and SEO’s that make millions. It’s 2018 not the 90’s-Get your act together ATT

  • gloria

    Morning, you don’t talk about phone service with both companies. I have both. Comcast for TV, Att&t for internet/phone service. I need to change because the cost for both is too much. I can not decide which is better. My children use the internet and we use the TV. Out internet service is too slow. I don’t like DirectTV. I have been with both companies for over 35 years.

  • Michael Kowaleski

    I live in an area that gets ATT fiber (Zip 77433). They say 1000 mbps on their site. Does that change any of the recommendations above?

  • EllaFino

    What you are quoting are the base prices. You throw in the cost for the DVR, Modems, additional TV boxes, taxes, misc fees etc. and you are paying a heck of a lot more.

  • Clarkson Kent

    Here’s my story… First off, Comcast “straight up” lies to you. I cut the cord a long time ago. Didn’t know Comcast was breaching the contract, till my nephew moved in and comcast said I was using over 1TB of data each month. Turned out they changed my plan without my knowledge. Called to see what I could do and that’s when all the lying started. That’s another story, won’t get into that here. Started looking at options, saw this article and others – that are just flat out wrong.

    First off 50Mps, 150Mps – has nothing to do with speed (despite how the cable companies try and sell it). 50Mps, 150Mps has to do with the size of the internet pipe. So unless you’re running 25 HD TV’s you don’t need 150Mps. I did some real time tests. HD uses 5-6MPS, Netflix 4K HDR uses around 15MPS, Oculus GO VR uses around 12MPS, per stream. I ended up going with Uverse U300 and 50MPS, and ran that system right along side Comcast’s 144 Channel, 150Mps. Comcast promo price $113/mo w/1TB cap – plus $50 a month extra if you want unlimited (no recorder). Uverse 500+ channels,50Mps with Unlimited $85/mo (with recorder). As far as TV, side by side – they look identical. I do like ATT’s box a lot better, pulling up your favorite channels is really easy, and they do a few other things better. ATT’s box seems snappier too. On the internet side – ran real time tests on both systems – ATT is a consistent 50Mps, and let’s just say Comcast does “a lot” of throttling (very inconsistent). Uverse does take up some of that 50Mps for TV, but not much. I ran uverse HD TV upstairs, had Netflix HD running downstairs, along with a You Tube 720P video playing on one computer – all at the same time. Was seeing 35Mps (still open) on my wireless laptop. So if you’re hesitant on Uverse I wouldn’t be, I’m very happy with it. Unlimited internet, as long as I keep TV…sure the price is going to go up after the first year, but will be about the same as Comcast internet only with unlimited. BTW, saw faster upload speeds on ATT – if that’s important to you.

  • michelle

    Ok here is my dilemma I have comcast blast pro xfinity 250 Mbps on shared loop for the most part its pretty fast and lags sometimes I have about 7 devices average on the wifi. At&t internet 75 which is u verse and is offered at my house which is better????