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Comcast vs DIRECTV

Last updated: November 17, 2020

Starts at $24.99/mo
vs
Starts at $59.99/mo

Xfinity is a great budget option that lets you combine your TV and Internet into one bill. Their X1 TV platform is surprisingly well-liked and offers thousands of on-demand titles similar to Netflix, although it comes with relatively low DVR storage for live TV.

DirecTV is a bit more premium in terms of sports content (exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket access, etc.) but comes with a minimum two-year contract and requires space to install the receiver dish.

Overall, Xfinity is more focused on bundled offers that combine Internet and TV in one bill. While this provides the absolute lowest entry price, DirecTV is overall cheaper in terms of the channels and premium content you get for your money. Xfinity's main strengths are cheap basic TV plans (think 10 channels + local news), no-contract options, and simple setup.

DirecTV is usually more affordable for anything more than basic cable and features a wide selection of 300+ channels. It’s also worth noting that DirecTV was bought by AT&T back in 2015, which means you can bundle TV services from DirecTV with AT&T’s Internet and phone services for around $10-15/month off the total cost, plus get unlimited streaming on mobile. I've spelled out the details on those deals in my AT&T Internet + TV review.

Xfinity Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Large amounts of on-demand content
  • Better bundle deals than DirecTV
  • Cord-cutter friendly Internet speeds

Cons

  • Less channel variety than DirecTV
  • Expensive premium plans
  • No 4K support

DirecTV Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Large 300+ channel count
  • Available nationwide
  • Excellent sports options

Cons

  • No contract-free plans
  • Less on-demand variety than Xfinity
  • Satellite dish installation required

Xfinity and DirecTV TV Coverage Comparison

DirecTV has Nationwide Coverage

Like Dish, DirecTV has 100% coverage in the US thanks to their satellite technology. The catch is that you have to sign a long agreement and confirm that you have a southern view wherever you plan to install the reception dish. Either way, DirecTV is frequently the only option for premium TV in rural areas that are underserved by traditional cable or even Digital TV over DSL.

Xfinity vs. DirecTV – Internet Performance

Xfinity offers cable Internet services (Comcast is actually the biggest cable Internet provider in the US). While cable Internet is pretty fast and cost-efficient, many would-be Xfinity customers usually worry about data caps.

While it is true that Xfinity features a monthly data cap, they recently switched to a universal 1TB cap that is far above what 99% of customers will need. (Unless you're sharing with a bunch of neighbors and streaming/downloading files 24/7.)

If the data cap is surpassed, you’ll have to pay for each additional 50GB (gigabytes) of data ($10/each). Xfinity also offers an Unlimited Data Option that costs around $50/month. Just keep in mind you’ll pay that fee regardless of how much data you use.

DirecTV’s network, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. That’s because they don’t provide standard Internet services. Instead, you have to bundle your TV plans with Internet services from their Internet partners:

  • CenturyLink
  • Exede by Viasat
  • Cincinnati Bell
  • HughesNet
  • Windstream
  • Mediacom

It’s also possible to get Internet service through AT&T as well.

So, pinpointing the type of network DirecTV offers is hard. It can range from dial-up and satellite connections to cable access.

As for data caps, I found that, according to AT&T, the monthly data cap can vary from 150GB to 1TB and unlimited home data. Also, if you want to receive unlimited data allowance at no extra cost, you’ll have to maintain a bundle of TV and Internet services on a combined bill.

Speeds Offered

Xfinity’s Internet download speeds range from 10 Mbps (megabits per second) up to 400 Mbps, and its upload speeds go up to 25 Mbps.

Pinpointing the exact type of connection speeds DirecTV offers is difficult since it'll depend on the plans available through one of their many Internet partners in your area.

As a general rule of thumb, I advise choosing a fiber or cable provider (such as Xfinity) if you want good Internet connection speeds. CenturyLink offers DSL services, for example, and their download speeds can go up to 1,000 Mbps.

Obviously, if you’re interested in very high Internet speeds, you’re better off choosing one of DirecTV’s partners.

Xfinity offers both Double Play and Triple Play bundles. Some bundles feature a no-contract option, but they cost more.

Price-wise, they are quite expensive, with most bundles going over $100/month.

DirecTV bundles can vary, of course, but you can choose between Double Play and Triple Play bundles.

It’s hard to pinpoint an estimated price range, but I can use DirecTV + AT&T bundles as an example. In that case, the price would range between $80 and $100 per month during the promotional two-year period, and more afterwards.

If you’re on a budget, DirecTV is definitely the more cost-efficient option (depending on the provider).

Xfinity vs. DirecTV – TV services

Xfinity

  • Watch your favorite shows on the go with the Xfinity stream app
  • Use your TV to manage Xfinity WiFi
  • Integrated with Netflix, so you get to watch all your content in one place
  • You can control your media with your voice courtesy of the X1 Voice Remote
  • A lot of On Demand content
  • HD channel support

DirecTV

  • You can watch On Demand shows that aired in the previous 72 hours
  • DirecTV Cinema provides you with instant access through Pay-Per-View releases to various movies. You can watch them on any device, and can enjoy 1080p HD quality
  • DirecTV Everywhere lets you watch and stream your favorite shows wherever you are if you have access to a WiFi connection
  • Watch up to eight channels on just one channel — ideal for sports lovers
  • HD channel support
  • Access to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • 4K content and support

While Xfinity does offer Netflix integration and that nifty high-tech remote, I prefer DirecTV because of its superior channel variety and the NFL SUNDAY TICKET (which is exclusive to DirecTV).

Xfinity vs. DirecTV – Sports Packages

Xfinity

  • You can choose different networks besides the standard sports packages
  • Xfinity sports packages include the NFL Network, NBA TV, the MLB Network, NASCAR, the Golf Channel, the NHL Network, and more.
  • You can use Xfinity’s DVR to track scores from multiple teams.

DirecTV

  • Exclusive access to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • Access to NHL Center Ice and the NBA League Pass
  • DirecTV features all major sports networks
  • Sports packages include regional sports (30+ networks), specialty sports, international soccer, college sports, the MLB Network Strike Zone, and much more.

Both providers offer attractive sports packages and features. However, once again, it’s hard to argue with DirecTV’s exclusive access to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET which lets you enjoy every out-of-market NFL game.

Xfinity vs. DirecTV – Equipment

Xfinity offers up to four DVR options:

  • TiVo
  • Standard DVR
  • HD DVR
  • X1 DVR

The X1 DVR has 500GB of storage (around 300 SD or 60 HD hours). The DVR lets you record up to four shows at the same time while you’re watching a fifth one.

The HD DVR features the same storage capabilities, but only lets you record one show while watching another, or two shows simultaneously while watching a recording.

DirecTV offers you a choice between TiVo, DirecTV Plus HD DVR, and the Genie DVR.

The Genie features 1TB of storage (around 400 SD or 150 HD hours), and it lets you record up to five shows simultaneously. You can also watch two shows at the same time courtesy of Genie’s Picture-in-Picture features.

If you want to connect additional TVs to the Genie, you’ll need the Genie Mini.

The DirecTV Plus HD DVR has similar storage capabilities to Xfinity’s HD DVR, but it’s estimated that the DVR can store around 200 SD or 75 HD hours.

While Xfinity’s top-of-the-line X1 DVR is definitely impressive, it can’t really hold a candle to DirecTV’s Genie due to its storage and recording capabilities.

Xfinity Key Advantage: Fast Internet Connections and Large On-Demand Selection

If you’re more interested in Double Play deals, Xfinity would seem like a better choice simply because you know exactly what you are getting. Also, their connection speeds are quite attractive and reliable.

Also, Xfinity’s On Demand content offers a lot of options. Allegedly, Xfinity On Demand even features new movies a month before Netflix or Redbox have them. Plus, around 90% of those movies are generally free.

DirecTV Key Advantage: Channel Variety and Sports Options

If you’re really interested in a high channel count, then DirecTV is the better option. Their Premium package features 325+ channels, while Xfinity’s most upper-tier package only boasts around 200+ channels.

And if you’re an avid sports fan, DirecTV has got you covered. Their exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET and numerous comprehensive sports packages might be just what you’re looking for.

Xfinity vs. DirecTV – Equipment and Installation Considerations

DirecTV offers free installation if you sign up for their two-year contract offers. However, since DirecTV offers satellite TV, keep in mind that a Dish will have to be installed which might be a bit of an extra hassle.

On the other hand, Xfinity only offers free installation if you’re getting a bundle. Otherwise, the total cost can be around $89,99. Also, equipment rental fees can go as high as $10/month.

Both providers have their own pros and cons when it comes to installations and equipment, though I did like the fact that DirecTV makes it easier to get a free installation.

Our Pick: DirecTV, for Their Quality TV Services and Attractive Promotional Pricing

All in all, I feel that DirecTV is the superior option when it comes to TV services. Their channel count is high, their sports offering is top-notch, and they provide a better DVR than Xfinity. And to top it all off, the pricing for their TV plans is very decent during the one-year promotional period (though it does significantly increase afterward).

Of course, if you’re more focused on bundling services and getting decent Internet deals, and money’s not a huge problem, Xfinity would be the better option.

I also recommend asking any of your neighbors if they have used or are currently using Xfinity or DirecTV. Try to find out if they are pleased with the service, and what they would recommend as well.

But if you’re looking to make a fast decision and are mostly interested in TV, DirecTV is the way to go.

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