DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV Comparison Review

We pit the two TV service behemoths against each other to determine which provider delivers a better experience for customers.
BEST FOR MOST
Monthly price
$59.99$134.99
Available channels
330+
BEST FOR BUNDLING
Monthly price
$49.99$104.99
Available channels
260+

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.

DIRECT vs Xfinity TV comparison
ProviderDIRECTVXfinity TV
Price$35–$110/mo.*$49–$115/mo.*
Channels155–330+140–260+
Max DVR hours200 HD60 HD
Contract24 monthsNo contract or 12 months
Learn moreView plansView plans

Data effective 03/20/20119. 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:

  • Pricing
  • 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.

DIRECTV prices and plans
PlanPriceTV channel countDetails
SELECT­ All Included$59.99/mo.*155+View Plan
ENTERTAINMENT All Included$64.99/mo.*160+View Plan
CHOICE All Included$69.99/mo.185+View Plan
XTRA All Included$79.99/mo.235+View Plan
ULTIMATE All Included$84.99/mo.250+View Plan
PREMIER All Included$134.99/mo.330+View Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* /mo. for 12 mos plus taxes
/mo. for 12 mos plus taxes and RSN fee

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.

Money icon
Keep Price Increases in Mind
Our advice if you’re choosing DIRECTV: plan your budget based on those second-year 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.

Xfinity prices and plans
PlanPriceTV channel countDetails
Digital Starter$49.99/mo.140+View Plan
Digital Preferred$59.99/mo.220+View Plan
Digital Premier$104.99/mo.260+View Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.

Xfinity’s plans cost about the same as DIRECTV’s, but with fewer channels and no premiums included. We don’t necessarily think high channel counts equal better TV, but we also know Xfinity’s lower channel counts still 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 gets the win here because it offers two options.

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.

DIRECTV vs Xfinity hidden fees
FeesDIRECTVXfinity
Installation feeIncluded$15 self-install kit or $89.99 professional installation
DVR feeIncluded$9.95/mo.
HD technology feeIncludedUp to $10/mo.
Broadcast TV feeIncludedUp to $10/mo.
Regional sports feeUp to $8.49/mo.Up to $8.25/mo.
Learn MoreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 03/20/20119. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Installation fees

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.

Activation fees

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.

DVR Fees

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.

Find the best TV providers in your area

*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.

Xfinity bundle prices
PlanPriceInternet download speedTV channel countDetails
X1 Starter Double Play$79.99/mo.150 Mbps140+View Plans
X1 Preferred Double Play$114.99/mo.150 Mbps220+View Plans
X1 Premier Double Play$134.99/mo.150 Mbps260+View Plans
For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.

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.

DIRECTV vs Xfinity sample channel comparison
ChannelDIRECTVXfinity
FOX NEWSSELECT and aboveECONOMY and above
ESPNCHOICE and aboveSTARTER and above
UnivisionULTIMATE and aboveLIMITED BASIC and above
USASELECT and aboveECONOMY and above
MSNBCUnavailableECONOMY and above
The CWSELECT and aboveLIMITED BASIC and above
DetailsView PlansView 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.

Check DIRECTV’s network availability
Check Xfinity’s available networks

Money icon
HD TV for free. Well, once you buy an antenna.
We’re fans of antennas. They’re inexpensive, and for that cheap one-time price, you’ll have free access to all the local broadcast channels. Sure, you’d get sick of The Andy Griffith Show reruns if that’s all you could see, but you’d be surprised at how many channels, movies, and shows you can actually get.

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.

DIRECTV and Xfinity premium channels
ChannelDIRECTV priceXfinity price
HBO®$17.99/mo.$15/mo.
SHOWTIME®$13.99/mo.$12/mo.
CINEMAX®$13.99/mo.$12/mo.
STARZ®$13.99/mo.$12/mo.
EPIX®Unavailable$5.99/mo.
DetailsView plansView 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:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNU
  • FS1
  • FS2
  • NFL Network
  • SEC Network
  • Golf Channel
  • NBC Sports Network
  • Big Ten Network
  • MLB Network,
  • NBA TV
  • CBS Sports
  • NHL Network
  • Pac 12
  • TNT

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity customer service

DIRECTV handles things a bit better, but we don’t expect much from TV providers in general.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity customer service ratings
ProviderDIRECTVXfinity
ACSI rating64 out of 10057 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 70 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.

We’ve talked about DIRECTV and Xfinity individually if you need more detail, but we’re curious what your experience has been with these providers. Let us know in the comments!

  • http://dev-reviewsorg.pantheon.io/ Trevor Wheelwright

    Hey,
    Thanks for your questions!

    While some companies do a good job of spelling out fees, most do not. We clarify what we consider “hidden fees” as anything that isn’t mentioned in advertised price, or otherwise would not be obvious to most costumers. Our goal is to make sure everyone is clued into what they’re paying for, and about how much it will cost. We’re under the impression that most people don’t mind paying for service, so long as they know what to expect.

    • Keepsmh🙄

      Thank u for spelling that out for those people who aren’t able to understand your very clear meaning, smh.

  • Rolf Hohloch

    We have basic Direct TV without any premium channels nor any movie channels. This is bundled with Internet (20mps max) and phone. The cost for this bundle is 220 dollars per month. Our son has Comcast with the same bundle. His Internet is a lot faster. He pays 120 a month. DTV is a ripoff

  • Jeff B

    The last time i had directv it was 5 yrs ago and the reception was horrible..the internet stunk and was constantly on the phone with them..With that i went to comcast and paying $200.00 a month for phone/internet/cable and have to always check for promotions every month..I was told directv made some drastic changes and improvements over the years is this true? I’d try them again considering comcasts bill and customer service..

  • Mademoiselle

    DirecTV is crazy expensive. $20 a month for ONE HD DVR (count ’em: each one is $20!!!!) + at least $80 a month if you want decent channels, + taxes (this is after the first year of cheaper rates, but since you’re locked in you’re stuck paying full price your second year). As a sports fan, it kills me to leave direct because they are the only ones to give me out of market sports channels like MSG and YES, but I could not justify the crazy expense anymore of $130 a month just for TV. I had to get comcast: 140 channels with an HD receiver + high speed internet for $100 a month.

    Also, comcast offers 1 year contracts and direct only offers 2 year.

    • GaelsFan

      But Comcast’s rates shoot up terribly after your first 12 months are up… I’m currently shopping them out to get rid of Frontier – my bill is now $196/month and I don’t even have premium channels!

  • Mademoiselle

    Xfinity because you can bundle. Direct bundles with centurylink and AT&T U-verse, but it sounds like those aren’t available to you.

  • Tom

    I am considering DTV but where I am at they use Century Link for internet which I now have and it sucks. Can I use Xfinity internet and get DTV? Talking to a DTV sales person I got a “sure why not” but I have found no definitive answer. I will buy the Xfinity modem from Ebay if this will work.

  • Tom

    I am considering Direct TV but want different internet service. DTV uses Century Link, which we have now, and it is slow and not reliable. My question is, can I get Xfinity internet on its own and make it compatible with Direct TV? I notice on the modems I have looked at on Amazon it says not compatible with Direct TV. I had Direct TV while I was traveling fulltime in my rv and just loved it. Got Century Link when I quit traveling and bought a house and have had nothing but problems and incompetency with them.

    • Duane

      We currently have Comcast internet and DirecTV. Yes, you can have both, but we are actually considering a change to Xfinity (Comcast) because our internet needs have changed. We do a lot more streaming through services such as Netflix so we need a faster connection. To do so would require a much higher cost unless we go back to cable tv for the bundling discounts offered.

  • Barry

    I heard that Sony 4 k tv is having problems with direct tv

  • Jessica Marie Zelonis

    How does Comcast have “hidden fees” when they send you a text or an email that itemizes the change/order you place that you then have to approve, and is also regulated by the FCC?! Then, they will inform you if any pricing that is going to change on the third page of your bill.

  • GaelsFan

    I’m shopping the 2 of them out right now. XFinity rep broke out every charge and every fee, calculated sales tax, etc. to give me exactly what my monthly bill will be. No hidden fees or charges AND the one advantage I see right off is that I can use XFinity’s hot spots so I’m not running over my data on my cell phone (unlimited would cost us more than what we pay now for 20 g). Regarding DTV, I only asked a question via “chat” and the rep was pushing me to complete the order and then we’d talk about internet. That made me uncomfortable and I closed the window. And I’m thinking that either one of them has to be better than Frontier!

  • blindexecutioner

    The voice remote on Xfinity can’t be beat. I can’t believe directv hasn’t released one. Alexa or whatever isn’t nearly as convenient.

  • jeff

    I thought comcast owns DTV too.

  • http://www.sharadkantpatel.com ufoclub1977

    As a videophile with a calibrated TV and home theater system, I was disappointed when I upgraded from an old Xfinity Comcast DVR to their new X1 Box. There is a filter that you cannot turn of in the box that digitally cleans up the image and smooths out any grain or noise… which also gets rid of skin texture, and most surface textures, making it look like there is a photoshop smoothing filter on everything the box shows, from Netflix to broadcast to On Demand. Switching back to the old box showed the detail, switching to the new box showed the smoothing problem.

    I think they’ve dumbed down the settings menu, and there is no way to turn it off. It’s very irritating despite the great menu system and voice activation of X1.

    I wonder if Direct TV has the same problem with HD quality? Can you see the film grain? In 720-1080 HD you should be seeing film grain (often artificially added for digital productions because its aesthetically pleasing), and details in faces, wrinkles blemishes and all. you should be seeing surface details on walls, leaves, etc. The best way to tell is if people’s faces look smooth, like a selfie photoshop filter was applied.