DIRECTV vs. Xfinity TV Comparison Review

We put two TV service behemoths against each other to determine which provider delivers a better experience for you
Best for Sports
Monthly price: $49.99–$124.99
Available channels: 330
Best No-Contract Option
Monthly price: $70.99–$89.49
Available channels: 220
Recent Updates: A day ago
Up until Wednesday 9/30, Xfinity is offering a $100 Visa gift card for new customers if they sign up for select Internet & TV packages, like the $69.99/mo. plan with 140 channels and 200 Mbps download speeds.

Many people in the US have the choice between cable TV provider, Xfinity, or satellite TV provider, DIRECTV.

But which one is best for you and your family? We will say both DIRECTV and Xfinity are on our list of best TV providers.

But to compare to the two, we look at price, contracts, channel lineups, user experience, and customer service to find the winner.

We hope our research will make your choice easier. So without further adieu, let’s get into the details.

How does DIRECTV and Xfinity TV compare?
ProviderDIRECTVXfinity TV
Max DVR hours200 HD150 HD
Contract24 monthsNo contract or 12 months
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 6/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
*Rates go up after 12 months.

How much do DIRECTV and Xfinity TV cost?

At first glance, Xfinity looks more expensive than DIRECTV. And in the long-term, Xfinity actually is the most expensive option despite DIRECTV’s second-year price hikes.

DIRECTV will nearly double your monthly price during the second year of your contract (we don’t love the ol’ switcheroo), but Xfinity has loads of tacked on fees. (Scroll down a little further to find those.)

How much is DIRECTV?
PlanPriceTV channel countDetails
SELECT$49.99*155+View Plan
ENTERTAINMENT$54.99*160+View Plan
CHOICE$59.99†185+View Plan
XTRA$69.99†235+View Plan
ULTIMATE$79.99†250+View Plan
PREMIER$124.99†330+View Plan
Data effective 6/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* /mo. for 12 mos plus taxes. Autopay & Paperless bill reqd. Prices higher in 2nd year.
† /mo. for 12 mos plus taxes. Autopay & Paperless bill reqd. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $9.99/mo. is extra & applies.
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).

How much is Xfinity TV?
PlanPriceTV channel countDetails
Digital Starter$70.99*140+View Plan
Digital Preferred$89.49*220+View Plan
Digital Premier$104.99260+View Plan
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* With No Term Agreement
For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.

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.

Do DIRECTV and Xfinity have a contract?

DIRECTV’s prices go way up after the first year, while 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 one-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.

Does DIRECTV and Xfinity have hidden fees?

DIRECTV may have second-year price hikes, but Xfinity has lots of fees. In some cases, it could be cheaper to go the DIRECTV route.

If you choose Xfinity’s Starter package, you could be spending close to $115–$125 per month with all of the added-on fees. If you get DIRECTV’s Select package, it’s just $60 per month while your second-year monthly bill will be $95. 

So … you actually save money in the long run with DIRECTV.

How much are DIRECTV's and Xfinity's fees?
Installation feeIncluded, $99 for additional receivers$15 self-install kit or $89.99 professional installation
Activation fee$19.95 (one-time)Included
First TV boxIncluded$5.00/mo.
Additional receivers$7.00/mo.$9.95/mo.
DVR feeIncluded$14.95/mo.
HD technology feeIncluded$10.00/mo.
Broadcast TV feeIncluded$14.95/mo.
Regional sports feeUp to $9.99/mo.Up to $8.75/mo.
Learn MoreView PlansView Plans

Data effective 12/10/2019. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

How much are DIRECTV’s and Xfinity’s installation fees?

With DIRECTV, you get your first set-top box installed for free, but additional receivers will be $99 each. Xfinity charges $89.99 for installation right off the bat. But you can opt-out with a $15 self-install kit from Xfinity to save some moola.

How much are DIRECTV’s and Xfinity’s activation fees?

DIRECTV also charges a one-time $19.95 activation fee. Your price includes your TV package, monthly service fees, and equipment fees for one HD DVR.

How much are DIRECTV’s and Xfinity’s 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 $25 per month to your bill. And that’s not considering adding more TVs to the plan, which costs $10 per month for each receiver.

DIRECTV includes your first Genie DVR, but each additional set-top box adds $7 per month. There are no DVR or HD service fees with DIRECTV. Phew.

How much are DIRECTV’s and Xfinity’s broadcast and regional sports fees?

Xfinity takes on additional $25ish 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 (*eye roll*). If you’re considering additional TVs and DVRs, Xfinity’s price can get out of hand.

DIRECTV charges a regional sports fee of up to $10 per month. Yes, the fee 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.

How much are DIRECTV’s and Xfinity’s bundles?

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

How much are DIRECTV's bundles?
PlanMonthly price*Internet download speedDetails
SELECT + AT&T Internet$89.98/mo.100 MbpsView Plan
ENTERTAINMENT + AT&T Internet$94.98/mo.100 MbpsView Plan
CHOICE + AT&T Internet$99.98/mo.100 MbpsView Plan
XTRA + AT&T Internet$109.98/mo.100 MbpsView Plan
ULTIMATE + AT&T Internet$114.98/mo.100 MbpsView Plan
PREMIER + AT&T Internet$164.98/mo.100 MbpsView Plan

Data effective 6/29/2020. Offers and availability may 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 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 cases. Compare that to DIRECTV’s $10 per month saving, you can see that Xfinity’s discount is a lot higher, which can somewhat make up for its additional TV fees for DVR and HD fans.

But you can get download speeds of 200 Mbps with your 140+ channels for $10 more than if you were to get Xfinity’s TV service alone. Not bad at all.

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 Taylor Swift tickets for yourself your daughter decidedly less miserable.

How much are Xfinity TV's bundles?
PlanMonthly price†ChannelsInternet download speedDetails
X1 Saver Pro + Double Play$79.99/mo.140+200 MbpsView Plan
X1 Starter Pro + Double Play + Gigabit$84.99/mo.140+1000 MbpsView Plan
X1 Preferred Pro + Double Play$104.99/mo.220+600 MbpsView Plan
X1 Premier Pro + Double Play$129.99/mo.220+1000 MbpsView Plan

† For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.

Data effective 6/29/2020.

Which channels do DIRECTV and Xfinity have?

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.

Which popular channels do DIRECTV and Xfinity TV have?
CNNAll packagesAll packages
Disney ChannelAll packagesAll packages
ESPNENTERTAINMENT and aboveAll packages
Food NetworkAll packagesAll packages
FOX NewsAll packagesAll packages
Hallmark ChannelAll packagesAll packages
HGTVAll packagesAll packages
MSNBCAll packagesAll packages
TelemundoNot availableAll packages
USAAll packagesAll packages
DetailsView PlansView Plans

Data effective 6/29/2020. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

If you want to know more about the channel lineups, check out our DIRECTV Review and Xfinity TV Review.

But scroll down a little further for the sports channels.

Which local channels do DIRECTV and Xfinity have?

Local channels may differ with each provider in every ZIP code, so it’s best to check. 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 ... 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.

Which premium channels do DIRECTV’s and Xfinity have?

For the first 12 months of your DIRECTV contract, you’ll get HBO Max included!  And for the first three months, SHOWTIME, STARZ, CINEMAX, and EPIX will also be included in your service. After that, you’ll have to pay the current rate 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 Succession and Shameless and need both HBO and SHOWTIME.

How much are DIRECTV's and Xfinity TV's premium channels?
ChannelDIRECTV priceXfinity price
DetailsView PlansView Plans

Which sports channels do DIRECTV vs. Xfinity have?

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 the NFL RedZone channel along with 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.

But mega sports fans will benefit the most with the XTRA package.

Xfinity may not have something similar to NFL SUNDAY TICKET, but you can still get lots of popular sports networks with the Starter package.

Which sports channels do DIRECTV and Xfinity TV have?
Big Ten NetworkCHOICE and aboveNot available
CBS Sports NetworkXTRA and abovePreferred/ Premier
ESPNENTERTAINMENT and aboveAll packages
FS1All packagesNot available
MLB NetworkXTRA and abovePreferred/ Premier
NBA TVXTRA and abovePreferred/ Premier
NBC Sports NetworkXTRA and aboveAll packages
NFL NetworkCHOICE and abovePreferred/ Premier
PAC-12 NetworkNot availableAll packages
Tennis ChannelULTIMATE and PREMIERAll packages
Golf ChannelXTRA and aboveAll packages
DetailsView PlansView Plans

If you want to find the complete sports channel lineup for both of these services, check out our reviews for DIRECTV and Xfinity.

Whose customer service is better? DIRECTV or Xfinity?

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

What are DIRECTV's and Xfinity's customer service ratings?
ACSI rating64 out of 10063 out of 100

If you were to look at the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report last year, you would have seen DIRECTV came out ahead by seven points over Xfinity. This year, Xfinity is only behind by one point.

To put it in perspective, the highest score of 73 is held by Verizon Fios.

Besides, most issues revolve around billing misunderstandings, so be mindful of what your contract actually entails in terms of costs over two years.

Recap: Is DIRECTV or Xfinity better?

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 two-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. Its 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 for those yell-at-the-TV fans. Xfinity has better premium channel pricing month-to-month, but fewer channels overall than DIRECTV.
  • Customer service: DIRECTV and Xfinity are neck and neck in this department, so you should receive the a similar type of service with both.

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!

  • Trevor Wheelwright

    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.

  • 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.