DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV

Two television giants battle for your living room

DIRECTV
Directv stream correct logo (2023)
DIRECTV
3 out of 5 stars
3
Starting from
$69.99-$159.99
Pricing
$69.99-$159.99
Channel Count Range
75–185
Xfinity TV
Xfinity
Xfinity
3.8 out of 5 stars
3.75
Prices
$20-$68.5
Channel Count Range
10-185
Michael Archambault
Mar 11, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

Choosing the best television service for your home can appear daunting with so many choices available, but don’t fret. We’re here to help you find the perfect solution for you and to do that, we’re taking a deep dive into streaming with DIRECTV and Xfinity TV.

Let’s find out which of these two television providers is the best match for your needs.

How do DIRECTV and Xfinity TV compare?
ProviderDIRECTVXfinity TV
Price$69.99-$159.99*$20-$68.5
Channels75–18510-185
Max DVR hoursUnlimited HD hrs.300 HD hrs.
ContractNone1yr
Details
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes. Req's purchase of Device. New customers only.
Pricing for some packages are for the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1-year contract.
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Save money with Xfinity bundles
Deals

Xfinity bundles give you unlimited internet and one Mobile Unlimited line for just $50 a month.

You can also bundle Xfinity TV with its cheapest $20/month internet plan and get 150Mbps download speeds (regularly 75Mbps) for one year. Valid for all US regions until May 1.

How much are DIRECTV and Xfinity TV packages?

Elderly couple watching Xfinity TV with daughter

Xfinity TV appears cheaper at first but includes more hidden fees

Compared to DIRECTV, Xfinity TV starts at a much lower price, and its most expensive package includes nearly one hundred more channels at what appears to be a fraction of the cost.

With many cable packages, the price you first see isn’t the bottom line, so it’s essential that you dig a bit deeper under the surface to find the true price.

However, Xfinity TV isn’t as cheap as it seems upfront. Once we explore the service’s additional fees, you’ll see that Xfinity TV also comes out much higher than first expected.

The short answer is that both services are around the same prices once all fees are included, but Xfinity TV does give you a few more channels for your money compared to DIRECTV's satellite packages. DIRECTV via Internet packages offer almost the same amount of channels as Xfinity TV.

How much is DIRECTV?
Plan
Price
Internet TV channel count
Satellite TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT$69.99/mo. + tax90+75+
CHOICE™$84.99/mo. + tax125+105+
ULTIMATE$114.99/mo. + tax160+140+
PREMIER$159.99/mo. + tax185+150+
Price subj. to change for new and existing customers.

New approved residential customers, price incl. TV pkg & equip. fees for first TV. Add’l fees may apply to non-qualified customers. Early agmt termination fee applies ($20/mo.) & add’l fee(s) may apply if equip. not returned. Credit card req’d. Restr’s apply. $19.95 activation & equipment lease req’d for satellite customers. Equipment lease req’d for DIRECTV via Internet customers in some sales channels.

If you think that $159.99 a month is a huge pile of cash for 150+ channels, you aren’t wrong. DIRECTV's satellite TV service has among the priciest packages currently available. Thankfully, its internet plans offer about 20 more channels per package.

Even on the less expensive end, DIRECTV charges a healthy amount of cash for only 75–90 channels, making it a poor choice for anyone looking to get the best bang for their buck. Especially when compared to Xfinity's $50 plan with 125+ channels.

How much is Xfinity TV?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Choice TV$20/mo.^10+
Popular TV$50/mo.°125+
Ultimate TV$68.5/mo.°185+
^ No term contract. Broadcast TV fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
° No term contract. Broadcast TV fee and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.

Xfinity TV’s plans do appear much more affordable at first than DIRECTV's offerings, but they are surrounded by additional fees that we explore below.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV contracts

DIRECTV offers the choice between a satellite or an internet connection for its packages. Satellite plans require a two-year contract while DIRECTV's internet plans do not. Needless to say, we recommend the internet plans for those looking to avoid contracts.

Xfinity TV’s Popular and Ultimate plans are the prices mentioned above only if you opt for the company’s yearly contract. Attempting to leave the contract early could result in pricey early termination fees of $10 per remaining month on your plan.

Can you avoid early termination fees?
Pin

Maybe. We’ve put together a quick guide on how to avoid all those pesky fees when you’re ready to swap TV providers.

DIRECTV streaming vs. Xfinity TV hidden fees

While Xfinity TV appears to be a bargain initially, the company includes some of the most expensive additional fees that we’ve seen. If you are considering Xfinity TV for your home, be sure to keep an eye out for any other fees that will increase your monthly cost by using the chart provided below.

On the other hand, DIRECTV is quite transparent with little to no hidden fees.

Additionally, you don’t need to purchase a TV box to stream with DIRECTV if you already have a media streaming box. DIRECTV can stream directly via Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, Android, iOS, and select Samsung televisions.

All DIRECTV internet or satellite packages include your first DVR device; however, DIRECTV still charges a $15 monthly advanced receiver fee. (Which is just like a renter's fee.) You get the Genie DVR with satellite plans and the Gemini Air DVR with internet plans.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV Fees
FeeXfinity TVDIRECTV
First TV box$9.50/mo.Included
Additional TV box$9.00/mo.$7.00/mo.
DVR fee$0.00-$20.00/mo.$15.00/mo.
Broadcast feeUp to $26.15/mo.N/A
Regional sports feeUp to $19.15/mo.Up to $15.99/mo.
Early termination fee$10.00 for every month left on your contract $20 per month of each month remaining in contract

*Data effective 1/17/2024. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

If we compare Xfinity TV's and DIRECTV's base packages, the two come out to a near equal price after adding on Xfinity TV’s additional charges. However, Xfinity TV still gives you over twice as many channels, making it a better deal for the money.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV bundles

An over the shoulder shot of a woman watching a movie on her cell phone

Deals for those seeking out both TV and internet

Bundling can help bring down the cost of your bill.

When you choose to bundle multiple services, DIRECTV and Xfinity offer deals that bring down your monthly cost. As you’ll likely want an internet connection for your home, bundling DIRECTV or Xfinity TV is a smart way to keep everything in one place.

DIRECTV and Xfinity both offer a plethora of bundles available, so we’ve highlighted some of the favorites that we think would be beneficial to you.

Comparison of DIRECTV bundles
Plan
Monthly price*
Channels
Download speeds
Details
DIRECTV® ENTERTAINMENT + CenturyLink Internet$114.99/mo.**165+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® ENTERTAINMENT + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$154.99/mo.**165+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® CHOICE™ + CenturyLink Internet$134.99/mo.††200+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® CHOICE™ + CenturyLink Fiber Internet$154.99/mo.‡‡200+Up to 940 Mbps
DIRECTV® CHOICE™ + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$174.99/mo.††200+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® ULTIMATE + CenturyLink Internet$159.99/mo.††270+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® ULTIMATE + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$199.99/mo.††270+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® PREMIER™ + CenturyLink Internet$204.99/mo.††340+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® PREMIER™ + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$244.99/mo.††340+Up to 100 Mbps
** Internet: Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. TV: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
†† Internet: Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. TV: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.
‡‡ Internet: Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply. TV: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

DIRECTV bundles are more expensive when initially compared to Xfinity, but the company offers much faster internet speeds.

CenturyLink's internet speeds are perfect for homes that love streaming online content from services such as Netflix or Max. It’s also an excellent choice for families with video gamers in the house.

Comparison of Xfinity bundles
Plan
Monthly price*
Channels
Download speeds
Details
Connect Internet + Choice TV$76.15/mo.^^10+Up to 75 Mbps
Fast Internet + Popular TV$111/mo.°°125+Up to 400 Mbps
Superfast Internet + Ultimate TV$131/mo.°°185+Up to 800 Mbps
Gigabit Extra Internet + Ultimate TV$141/mo.°°185+Up to 1200 Mbps
^^ Internet: For 12 months with 1-year term contract. Taxes and equpiment not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount. TV: No term contract. Broadcast TV fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.
°° Internet: For 24 months. No term contract. Taxes not included. Includes $10/mo automatic payments and paperless billing discount. Not available in all areas. TV: No term contract. Broadcast TV fee and regional sports fee extra; price subj to change. Taxes and equipment not included.

As with Xfinity’s TV bundles, it is essential to remember that prices may not be as low as you see once all hidden costs are added on top of the bundle prices.

Additionally, while Xfinity might make a good choice for some households, those requiring faster internet plans may want to look elsewhere. While Xfinity’s internet speeds are decent, CenturyLink with DIRECTV offers speedier selections perfect for homes with dozens of gadgets.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV channels

Group of friends cheering on sports team in living room

Both television services offer a healthy selection of channels

If you’re looking to binge-watch television, you won’t feel dissatisfied streaming with either DIRECTV or Xfinity. Both services provide the most popular channels available.

Before purchasing your selected package, make sure that any specific channels you love are included. Not every package with either provider offers the same content.

Here are a few popular channels and their availability on each service.

DIRECTV and Xfinity TV channels
Channel
DIRECTV STREAM
Xfinity TV

FOX

Yes

Yes

ESPN

Yes

Yes

Univision

Yes

Yes

USA

Yes

Yes

MSNBC

Yes

Yes

The CW

Yes

Yes

*Data effective 1/17/2024. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV premium channels

If you’re a movie addict, you’ll feel at home on either service, as both DIRECTV and Xfinity TV offer a host of premium channels.

Both DIRECTV and Xfinity TV offer premium channels at similar prices, with a slight edge being given to DIRECTV. However, we don’t think the prices are different enough to influence your purchasing decision.

We’d also like to note that all DIRECTV packages include three free months of Max, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, MGM+, STARZ, and Cinemax. And the PREMIER package includes all those channels (besides MGM+) in your subscription.

DIRECTV and Xfinity TV premium channels
Channel
DIRECTV prices
Xfinity TV prices

Max

$15.99/mo.

$15.00/mo.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®

$11.99/mo.

$12.00/mo.

CINEMAX

$11.00/mo.

$12.00/mo.

STARZ

$11.00/mo.

$8.99/mo.

MGM+

$6.00/mo.

$5.99/mo.

*Data effective 1/17/2024. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV sports channels

For many customers, a service’s available sports channels can be the main deciding factor for purchasing a plan.

Xfinity TV does offer a more extensive selection of sports channels, but that doesn’t mean DIRECTV is left in a spot of shame as it still provides a healthy offering.

We recommend picking the network with the sports channels that you intend to watch, rather than which network simply offers more.

Xfinity’s Popular TV package

  • ESPN, ESPN2
  • FS1
  • Stadium
  • NBC Sports Network
  • PAC-12 Network
  • Tennis Channel
  • Golf Channel

Xfinity’s Ultimate TV package

  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • FS2
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • NHL Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • Outdoor Channel
  • SEC Network
  • Sportsman Channel
  • TUDN
  • Zona Futbol

DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT package

  • ESPN HD
  • ESPN2 HD
  • FS1
  • NBC Sports Network

DIRECTV CHOICE package

  • ACC Network
  • Big Ten Network HD
  • DIRECTV Sports Mix (exclusively on satellite)
  • ESPNews HD
  • ESPNU HD
  • FanDuel TV
  • MLB Network HD 
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • Tennis Channel HD
  • TVG

DIRECTV ULTIMATE and PREMIER packages

  • CBS Sports Network
  • FS2
  • Golf Channel
  • NHL Network 
  • NFL RedZone (exclusively on satellite)
  • Longhorn Network 
  • MLB Strike Zone (exclusively on satellite)
  • Olympic Channel
  • Outdoor Channel (exclusively on satellite)
  • Sportsman Channel (exclusively on internet)

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV DVR

Man pointing remote toward TV and DVR

A DVR allows you to record your favorite programs so that you can watch them later at a more convenient time. It is perfect for individuals with busy days or those who work at night and can’t catch the shows or events they want to watch.

There is no doubt that out of the two providers, DIRECTV offers the best DVR solution.

With Xfinity TV, you’ll find yourself paying around $15 a month for a limited DVR (hours). However, for the same price, DIRECTV gives you access to a cloud DVR with unlimited recording time or device storage without expiration.

DIRECTV offers the Genie DVR with satellite plans and the Gemini Air with internet plans. The Genie offers 200 HD hours of storage, and your recordings never expire. The Gemini Air offers cloud-based storage, unlimited hours, and your recordings last up to 9 months. DIRECTV includes your first upgraded DVR device, but with its $15 monthly advanced receiver fee, you might as well be renting your DVR.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV DVR
DVR details
DIRECTV
Xfinity TV

DVR storage space

Genie: 200 HD hours


Gemini Air: Unlimited

Xfinity DVR: 300-600 hours

Set-top box price

Included

Up to $5.00/mo

Additional set-top box price

$7.00/mo

$9.95/mo.

DVR fee

Free or $15.00/mo.

$0.00-$20.00/mo.

*Data effective 1/17/2024. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Recap: Two respectable TV options

Person watching television

One has got the channels, and the other has the deals

Not all versus pieces we write have a strict winner. Sometimes two services have their balances of pros and cons where the best option will depend on precisely what you need.

Xfinity TV is likely the best option for those seeking a more traditional television service, even after its hidden fees. When placed head to head, Xfinity TV simply offers more channels than DIRECTV.

However, you’ll want to be careful with Xfinity TV. As you add on more packages and features, the service can quickly become more expensive than its competition.

We also love that DIRECTV can operate on the streaming devices you already have at home, eliminating the need for a dedicated cable box.

  • Pricing and contracts: Streaming with DIRECTV doesn’t require any contracts, while its satellite plans rope you in for two years. Its pricing is more upfront than Xfinity without hidden fees; however, many customers will still benefit from Xfinity’s pricing structure as it will typically include more channels in the end. We also don’t mind Xfinity’s contract too much as it only lasts a single year and does give you a sizable discount of $20-30 a month.
  • Channels: When it comes to the most popular channels, both services are likely to have them. However, Xfinity TV does offer more channels, in the end, so be sure to check both services for any more niche channels you might be interested in.
  • Sports channels: For sports fans, Xfinity TV comes through in the end with the most sports options, but DIRECTV still offers a healthy selection.
  • DVR: DIRECTV provides 200 (satellite) to unlimited (internet) recording hours out of the gate. However, Xfinity TV is more stingy, and you’ll find yourself paying $15 a month for 600 hours of storage time.
Michael Archambault
Written by
Michael Archambault
Michael was born a geek, always interested in technology and how it affects the world around us. He has spent the last eight years writing about consumer and business tech for some of the world’s top brands and publications, including Samsung, Skyword, Digital Trends, Lifewire, and DPReview. Michael graduated from the New York Institute of Technology, earning a BFA in Communications and Media Production. When he’s not writing on Reviews.org, you’ll find Michael spinning a vinyl record, reading a good mystery novel, or hanging out with one of his cats (which has yet to turn him completely into an eccentric cat-man).

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