DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV Comparison Review
A lot of people have a choice between DIRECTV and Xfinity, but what makes one better than the other? Price, what channels you get, and how a company treats its customers are at the top of the list for most of us.
Both DIRECTV and Xfinity rank as top TV providers, so which of the two should you choose? We’ve considered the strengths and weaknesses of both TV service providers—we hope our research makes your choice easier.
|Max DVR hours||200 HD||60 HD|
|Contract||24 months||No contract or 12 months|
|Learn more||View plans||View plans|
Data effective 03/20/2019. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Rates go up after 12 months.
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV price comparison
DIRECTV’s second-year price increases still beat out Xfinity’s stacking fees for larger families and DVR users.
When we compare providers, we consider the variables that affect your wallet and the service you’re buying.
Things that can impact your price and service quality:
- Contract terms
- Installation costs
- Number of HD channels and on-demand titles
- Quality and capabilities of DVRs and other equipment
- Customer satisfaction scores.
With those in mind, we’ll break down how much DIRECTV and Xfinity cost.
|Plan||Price||TV channel count||Details|
|SELECT All-Included||$59.99*||155+||View Plan|
|ENTERTAINMENT All-Included||$64.99*||160+||View Plan|
|CHOICE All-Included||$69.99†||185+||View Plan|
|XTRA All-Included||$79.99†||235+||View Plan|
|ULTIMATE All-Included||$84.99†||250+||View Plan|
|PREMIER All-Included||$134.99†||330+||View Plan|
DIRECTV’s plans all require a 24-month agreement, and after the first 12 months, your price will increase substantially. We like seeing those first-year prices, but don’t love the ol’ switcheroo that more-than doubles most package prices.
Beyond that, we like that DIRECTV provides a lot of popular channels for a good up-front price. Even the cheapest SELECT package still includes Food Network and AMC, but you’ll have to upgrade to CHOICE or higher to get ESPN.
Getting a CHOICE package or above also gives you your first season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET included (after that the current rate will apply—right now it’s $293.94 per season).
DIRECTV’s prices do go up after the first year, but they’re a lot easier to understand than piecing together your Xfinity TV plan—we’ll go over hidden fees that might surprise you later.
|Plan||Price||TV channel count||Details|
|Digital Starter||$49.99‡||140+||View Plan|
|Digital Preferred||$59.99‡||220+||View Plan|
|Digital Premier||$104.99^||260+||View Plan|
Xfinity’s plans cost per channel is about the same as DIRECTV’s, but with no premiums included. We don’t necessarily think high channel counts equal better TV, but we also know Xfinity’s channels have filler content.
Xfinity’s on-demand library is usually packed with good stuff, including past seasons of favorites like This is Us, Spongebob Squarepants, and Fixer Upper. Plus, if you get the X1 DVR, you can pull up Netflix and other streaming picks with the voice remote.
We like that Xfinity by Comcast gives you no-contract options, but you’ll have to pay an extra $10 per month for it. If you’re in a short-term rental, this can pay off, but for anyone who wants to pick a TV service and forget about it, you can save up to $120 a year just by signing on for a year.
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity contracts
DIRECTV’s prices go way up after the first year. Xfinity lets you opt for no contracts.
I don’t know if I can stress this enough.
DIRECTV’s prices go wayyyy up after the first year. And if you need to get out of your contract, you’ll be charged early termination fees of $20 per month remaining on your contract. If you try to bail after the first year, you’ll still pay up to $240.
Xfinity’s no-contract option adds $10 to your monthly bill, but you’re free to cancel anytime. Its one-year contract saves $10 a monthly, but you’re locked in for the duration, or you face early termination fees.
Having options gives you a lot more flexibility in your planning, especially if you’re only signing a year lease on your new apartment. Xfinity’s pricing may (and probably will) go up after the first year, but it’s not clear if your price will skyrocket quite as dramatically as DIRECTV’s does.
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity hidden fees
It’s not exactly a “hidden fee” but we wanted to point out the fine print one more time. DIRECTV prices more-than-double on every plan after the first year.
|Installation fee||Included||$15 self-install kit or $89.99 professional installation|
|HD technology fee||Included||Up to $10/mo.|
|Broadcast TV fee||Included||Up to $10/mo.|
|Regional sports fee||Up to $8.49/mo.||Up to $8.25/mo.|
|Learn More||View Plans||View Plans|
Data effective 12/10/2019. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
You don’t have to worry about installation fees with DIRECTV like you do with Xfinity, which charges $89.99. That’s a big difference, but you can opt for a $15 self-install kit from Xfinity to save some skrilla.
DIRECTV also charges a $19.95 activation fee. Your price includes your TV package, monthly service fees, and equipment fees for one HD DVR. But make sure to sign up for autopay and paperless billing (for the discount), or your price will be $5 more per month.
Xfinity definitely finds ways of wringing a few extra bucks out of you every month. If you want HD DVR service, you’re adding an extra $20 per month to your bill. And that’s not considering adding more TVs to the plan, which cost $5.99–$9.95 per month for each receiver.
DIRECTV includes your first Genie DVR, but each additional TV adds $7 per month.
Broadcast and regional sports fees
XFINITY takes on additional $18ish bucks per month (depending on where you live) for broadcast and regional sports fees.
That’s creepin’ very close to an extra $40 on top of your package price for a single TV with DVR. If you’re considering additional TVs and DVRs, Xfinity’s price can get unruly quick.
DIRECTV may charge (read: probably will) a regional and sports fee of up to $8.49 per month. This is a bit of a bummer, but it’s how local broadcast networks recoup their distribution costs and we don’t see many (if any) TV companies dropping this fee.
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity bundles
Xfinity has one of the better internet services and a good bundle discount, but it still might be more expensive for you than DIRECTV.
DIRECTV gives you a $10 discount for bundling your internet, which saves you $120 over the course of a year. It’s not a huge incentive to add either service if you only want one, but for most people looking to get both TV and internet anyway, it’s a solid discount that gives you an excuse to buy that fancy food processor or some new kicks.
DIRECTV service varies based on your area, so you’ll have to put in your ZIP to find out what’s available.
|Plan||Price||Internet download speed||TV channel count||Details|
|DIRECTV SELECT™ All Included + Internet 10-100||$75||100 Mbps||155+||View Plan|
|DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All Included + Internet 10-100||$80||100 Mbps||160+||View Plan|
|DIRECTV CHOICE™ All Included + Internet 10-100||$85||100 Mbps||185+||View Plan|
|DIRECTV XTRA All Included + Internet 10-100||$95||100 Mbps||235+||View Plans|
|DIRECTV ULTIMATE All Included + Internet 10-100||$100||100 Mbps||250+||View Plans|
|DIRECTV PREMIER™ All Included + Internet 10-100||$150||100 Mbps||330+||View Plans|
*For 12 months with a 2-yr contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.
Xfinity by Comcast shines a little brighter than DIRECTV in terms of bundling. By combining services, you’ll get one bill and even save $25–$35 per month in some spots. Compare that to DIRECTV’s $10 per month saving, you can see that Xfinity’s discount is a lot higher, which almost but not quite makes up for its additional TV fees for DVR and HD fans.
Xfinity has some of the fastest internet speeds out there though (up to 2 GB in some cases). And it comes with a high data cap (1 TB). Besides, the Xfinity X1 DVR—which we recommend getting—requires you to sign up for internet anyway.
One of our favorite things about Xfinity is accessing shows from anywhere. As long as you have internet access, Xfinity makes train trips, waiting rooms, or chillin’ in line to get BTS tickets for
yourself your daughter decidedly less miserable.
|Plan||Price||Internet download speed||TV channel count||Details|
|X1 Starter Double Play||$79.99^||150 Mbps||140+||View Plans|
|X1 Preferred Double Play||$114.99^||150 Mbps||220+||View Plans|
|X1 Premier Double Play||$134.99^||150 Mbps||260+||View Plans|
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity channels
Get more channels and some bonus inclusions with DIRECTV
DIRECTV includes most of the top channels, but we were surprised to see a lack of MSNBC in our area. Most other popular networks like HGTV and TBS come with the SELECT (cheapest) package, so props to DIRECTV for not keeping the good stuff behind higher-priced plans only.
|FOX NEWS||SELECT and above||ECONOMY and above|
|ESPN||CHOICE and above||STARTER and above|
|Univision||ULTIMATE and above||LIMITED BASIC and above|
|USA||SELECT and above||ECONOMY and above|
|MSNBC||Unavailable||ECONOMY and above|
|The CW||SELECT and above||LIMITED BASIC and above|
|Details||View Plans||View Plans|
Data effective 03/20/20119. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity local channels
Local channels may differ with each provider in every ZIP code, so it’s best to check yours if you’re worried about losing any channels. You could also get an antenna to make sure you’re covered on locals for life.
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity premium channels
For the first three months of your DIRECTV contract, you’ll get HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and CINEMAX included. After that, you’ll have to pay the current rate ($53.99 per month) to keep them.
XFINITY gets points here for offering a lower rate on its premium channels, and while it’s only a couple bucks difference with DIRECTV, those savings can add up if you’re a fan of Game of Thrones and Shameless and need both HBO and SHOWTIME.
|Channel||DIRECTV price||Xfinity price|
|Details||View plans||View plans|
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity sports channels
DIRECTV shines in sports delivery with the most 4K sports content. It’s also the exclusive provider of NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which also gives you RED ZONE CHANNEL and FANTASY ZONE CHANNEL on top of every out-of-market game. Football fans may rejoice, but if it’s not your bag, then it’s not a big deal—especially considering the cost of NFL SUNDAY TICKET after your first included season.
Xfinity doesn’t have NFL SUNDAY TICKET, but other than that you can get just about any sports network you want from the cable TV provider.
Popular sports channels include:
- NFL Network
- SEC Network
- Golf Channel
- NBC Sports Network
- Big Ten Network
- MLB Network,
- NBA TV
- CBS Sports
- NHL Network
- Pac 12
DIRECTV vs. Xfinity customer service
DIRECTV handles things a bit better, but we don’t expect much from TV providers in general.
|ACSI rating||66 out of 100||57 out of 100|
When you look at the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, DIRECTV comes out ahead by 7 points over Xfinity by Comcast. To give you perspective, the highest score of 69 was given to AT&T (DIRECTV’s parent company) for it’s U-Verse TV.
Most of the time TV (and internet) will work just fine, but when you do encounter an issue, odds are DIRECTV will be easier to deal with. Besides, most issues revolve around billing misunderstandings, so be mindful of what your contract actually entails in terms of costs over two years.
Recap: DIRECTV vs. Xfinity
If you only need TV service, we’d say DIRECTV has a better offer. But Xfinity is one of the best ways to combine TV with internet.
DIRECTV has more channels, a better DVR, and fewer hidden fees, but it does come with a 2-year long contract where your package price will more than double after the first year.
Xfinity is a good choice if you’re looking to get both TV and internet. It’s TV service and X1 DVR are nothing to scoff at, but you’ve gotta account for additional HD fees, equipment costs, and broadcast fees.
- Pricing: Even with second-year increases, DIRECTV has better (and easier-to-understand) prices. If you want internet and bare-bones TV, the cost difference shrinks, but we like the premium channels and NFL SUNDAY TICKET bonuses that you get when you sign up with DIRECTV.
- Contracts: Two years is a long time for some people, so Xfinity may be a better option for renters or commitment-phobes.
- Channels: DIRECTV not only has more channels, but it’s the only way you can get NFL SUNDAY TICKET. Xfinity has better premium channel pricing month-to-month, but fewer channels overall than DIRECTV.
- Customer service: If you’ve had too many bad experiences and are looking to switch TV providers, you should switch or stick with DIRECTV. Its customer service consistently receives higher ratings.