DIRECTV vs. Xfinity

DIRECTV packages are expensive but probably worth it for sports fans. Xfinity TV packages have fewer channels but a better user experience.

Best for sports

Price: $64.99–$139.99/mo.

Live channels: 160–330+

Cloud DVR: 200–450 hrs.

Best for user experience

Price: $49.99–$89.99/mo.*

Live channels: 125–185+

Cloud DVR: 20 hrs. included(upgradable)

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Offer ends 7/22/22. New approved customers only w/24-mo. agmt. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies.
** for the first 12 mos with 1-Year Agreement. Includes $10/mo. automatic payments and paperless billing discount.

Is DIRECTV or Xfinity better?

DIRECTV is the best TV provider for sports, thanks to its abundance of sports channels and its NFL SUNDAY TICKET add-on. But DIRECTV also requires signing a two-year contract—and its prices jump by 30%–38% in the second year.

Xfinity is best if you want to bundle cable TV and internet service. It has super-fast internet connections but fewer channels (185+ compared to DIRECTV’s 330+)—and it’s not as widely available as DIRECTV.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity pros and cons

DIRECTV

Wide availability
NFL SUNDAY TICKET
Genie DVR
High channel counts
30%–38% second-year price increase

View Plans

Xfinity

Wide availability (but not as wide as DIRECTV)
Free Peacock Premium w/ X1
No-term agreement plans available
Smaller channel counts
High DVR fees

View Plans

Is DIRECTV or Xfinity available in your area?

Satellite TV services like DIRECTV are available almost anywhere, but cable TV providers like Xfinity aren’t as accessible. Enter your zip code below to see if you can get Xfinity where you live.

Please enter a valid zip code.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity deals

Sometimes, choosing a TV provider comes down to deals. Before we look at packages and pricing, let’s check out current promotions from DIRECTV and Xfinity.

DIRECTV deals

Current offers for new DIRECTV customers include the following:

  • Free premium channels: Get three free months of HBO Max™, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, Cinemax®, and EPIX® when you order the ENTERTAINMENT, CHOICE™, or ULTIMATE packages.
  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET: New customers get the current NFL season free with the CHOICE™ package and higher.

See our DIRECTV deals page for more money-saving offers.

Xfinity deals

Current deals for new Xfinity customers:

  • Free Peacock Premium: New customers who select the X1 DVR get the Peacock Premium streaming service free (reg. $4.99/mo.).
  • Free installation: For a limited time, select Xfinity deals include a free self-install kit ($39.99 value).

Find more special offers on our Xfinity deals page.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity head-to-head

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity

Service Price Channels Simultaneous recordings DVR Details
DIRECTV $64.99–$139.99/mo.* 160–330+ 5 200–450 hrs. View Plans
Read DIRECTV review
Xfinity $49.99–$89.99/mo.** 125–185+ 6 20 hrs. included** (upgrades available) View Plans
Read Xfinity review

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* for the first 12 mos with 1-Year Agreement. Includes $10/mo. automatic payments and paperless billing discount.
** for the first 12 mos with 1-Year Agreement. Includes $10/mo. automatic payments and paperless billing discount.

If the price ranges in this table make it seems like Xfinity is cheaper, it’s because Xfinity has 145 fewer channels than DIRECTV. Also, Xfinity charges a separate fee for its cloud DVR service, while DIRECTV includes its Genie DVR in your plan.

We’ll get deeper into the details later in this review. For now, let’s look closer at each provider’s plans and pricing.

Pro tip: Basic cable TV plans are a waste of money, so we exclude them from our reviews. There’s no reason to pay monthly for these plans when you can get all the same channels with an over-the-air (OTA) antenna, which costs as little as $25–$60.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity plans and prices

DIRECTV plans and prices

Plan Price Second-year price Channels Simultaneous recordings DVR Details
ENTERTAINMENT $64.99/mo. $107.00/mo. 160+ 5–7 200–450 hrs. View Plans
Our pick
CHOICE™
$69.99/mo. $129.00/mo. 185+ 5–7 200–450 hrs. View Plans
ULTIMATE $89.99/mo. $159.00/mo. 250+ 5–7 200–450 hrs. View Plans
PREMIER $139.99/mo. $214.00/mo. 330+ 5–7 200–450 hrs. View Plans

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Offer ends 7/22/22. New approved customers only w/24-mo. agmt. Autopay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies.

Have we mentioned the DIRECTV second-year price hike and how it’s terrible? We’ve included second-year pricing to illustrate that point further. To see the actual monthly cost of each DIRECTV package, add the first- and second-year prices and divide by 2:

  • ENTERTAINMENT: $86.00/mo.
  • CHOICE™: $99.50/mo.
  • ULTIMATE: $124.50/mo.
  • PREMIER: $177.00/mo.

Since the average standalone cable TV plan costs around $79, the second-year DIRECTV prices are outrageous—even with 330+ channels and no DVR fees.

Okay, it’s Xfinity’s turn—let’s see how Xfinity plans and pricing compare to DIRECTV’s.

Pro tip: Interested in trying streaming TV? Read our guide to the Best Live TV Streaming Services, where we compare fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Philo, Sling TV, and YouTube TV.

Xfinity plans and prices

Plan Price Channels Simultaneous recordings DVR Details
West
Popular TV $49.99/mo.* 125+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans
Our pick
Ultimate TV
$59.99/mo.* 185+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans
Central
Choice TV $20.00/mo.* 10+ 6 N/A View Plans
Popular TV $60.00/mo.* 125+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans
Our pick
Ultimate TV
$80.00/mo.* 185+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans
Northeast
Limited Basic $19.99/mo. 10+ 6 N/A View Plans
Extra $67.27/mo. 125+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans
Our pick
Digital Preferred
$69.99/mo.* 185+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans
Digital Premier $89.99/mo.* 185+ 6 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) View Plans

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
** for the first 12 mos with 1-Year Agreement. Includes $10/mo. automatic payments and paperless billing discount.

In the US, Xfinity has three regions—West, Central, and Northeast—with basically the same TV packages, but different pricing. Xfinity’s West region is the cheapest, while Xfinity’s Central and Northeast regions are 18%–26% more expensive.

Pro tip: Xfinity TV packages are all cheaper than DIRECTV’s, but it’s because Xfinity has 145 fewer channels.

In the West region, Ultimate TV ($59.99 a month, 185+ channels) is your best bet. In the Central region, the exact same package costs $20 more per month (perhaps due to increased costs in that region) but it’s still the best Xfinity TV plan in that area, and a decent deal. And in the Northeast region, Digital Preferred ($69.99 a month, 185+ channels) is the best package.

Xfinity also has no-term agreement plans (some are listed in the table) that have the same channels and features—but they cost about $20 more per month. If your lifestyle demands flexibility, you might want to go with these plans so you can cancel whenever you want.

Xfinity Flex

The combo streaming device/streaming TV service Xfinity Flex is free to Xfinity internet customers—and it’s a solid TV option if your budget is tight or you simply prefer streaming to cable TV.

You’ll get hundreds of free live channels, thousands of Xfinity On Demand titles, free Peacock Premium, and support for several paid and free streaming apps (Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, Tubi, and more). Learn more in our Xfinity Flex review.

The Xfinity Flex with the X15 voice remote.
The Xfinity Flex with the X15 voice remote.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity fees and extra charges

DIRECTV fees and extra charges

Fees Amount
TV access fee (per receiver) $12.00/mo.
Regional sports fee N/A
Returned check/electronic funds transfer (EFT) Up to $30.00 (as permitted by law)
Phone payment fee Up to $5.00 per payment
Order assistance fee Up to $5.00 per payment
Late payment fee Up to $6.25
Payment extension $15.00
Duplicate statement fee Up to $1.75
Ledger request Up to $2.75
Minimum service fee Up to $9.99/mo.
Early termination fee $20.00/mo. per remaining month
Restoral fee Up to $20 per restoral
Dispatch fee $99.00
Leased equipment fees (due at signup) $0.00–$50.00 depending on the device
Bridge fee (for wireless setup with Genie 2 and Genie Mini Wireless) $99.00 due at signup
Activation fee (main service) $19.95/mo.
Activation fee (Genie Mini) $49.00 per device over 4
Activation fee (Genie Mini Wireless) $49.00 per device over 4

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV has a lot of hidden fees, which are as unavoidable as they are infuriating—but every cable and satellite TV provider has them. If you’re sick of these extra charges, look into live TV streaming services, which don’t have them.

Check out our guide to the Hidden Costs of DIRECTV for more information on these fees.

Customer service phone numbers

Do you need to reach DIRECTV or Xfinity about a billing issue, outage, or other matter? All the phone numbers, chat links, and other info you need are in these guides:

Also check out our article on the Best TV Providers in Customer Satisfaction to see what customers think of customer support from 11 top TV providers.

Xfinity fees and extra charges

Fees Amount
Broadcast TV fee Up to $19.45/mo.
Regional sports fee Up to $14.45/mo.
Self-installation kit Up to $39.99
Reactivation fee $6.00
DVR service upgrades 150 hrs. for $10.00/mo. or 300 hrs. For $20.00/mo.
Additional TV service per TV $7.50/mo. per TV
Late payment fee $10.00

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Xfinity has fewer fees, which is another advantage over DIRECTV. To learn more about Xfinity’s sneaky charges, see our guide to the Hidden Costs of Xfinity.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity channels

We’ve mentioned the difference in channel counts between DIRECTV (330+) and Xfinity (185+) more than once so far. It bears repeating because channel counts are one of the bigger differences between the providers. We’ll get more specific in this section.

Popular channels

Xfinity carries all of the top 35 most-watched channels of 2021, according to Variety.1 DIRECTV carries all but two: The CW and MeTV.

Variety’s Top 35 most-watched channels of 20211

  • CBS
  • NBC
  • ABC
  • FOX
  • FOX News Channel
  • ESPN
  • MSNBC
  • Univision
  • HGTV
  • Hallmark Channel
  • CNN
  • TNT
  • ION
  • Telemundo
  • TBS
  • TLC
  • HISTORY*
  • Discovery Channel
  • USA Network
  • Food Network
  • The CW†‡
  • INSP
  • MeTV
  • Bravo
  • Lifetime*
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • A&E*
  • UniMás§
  • TV Land
  • AMC
  • FX
  • WE TV
  • Paramount Network
  • Syfy

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Not included in DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT package
§ Add-on only for DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT package
Add-on only for DIRECTV
Not carried by DIRECTV
Xfinity: Not included in Extra or Popular packages

Channel comparison

Both Xfinity and DIRECTV have the top 35 popular channels in most of their packages. So your decision, as far as channels go, is a little easier to make. It’s gonna come down to which specialty channels you want.

If you’re looking for particular entertainment, family, news, sports, or premium channels, see our DIRECTV Channel Lineup Guide and Xfinity Channel Lineup Guide. There, you can do a CTRL-F search to look for your favorites.

Now let’s see how Xfinity and DIRECTV stack up in the equipment department.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity equipment, specs, and features

DIRECTV equipment and features

Device Price DVR storage Simultaneous recordings/streams Supported TVs
Genie DVR Included 200 hrs. 5 recordings N/A
Genie 2 DVR Included* 450 hrs. 5 recordings N/A
Genie Mini $7.00/mo. each N/A N/A Up to 6
Genie Mini Wireless $7.00/mo. each N/A N/A Up to 8
DIRECTV app Free N/A 5 streams N/A

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* $99 bridge free due at signup.

DIRECTV’s Genie DVR is one of the best around, with 200 hours of HD storage, up to five simultaneous recordings, and multiroom TV with the Genie Mini.

And, as we mentioned, the Genie still has a physical hard drive inside, while Xfinity (like a lot of cable TV providers) removed physical storage from its (also acclaimed) X1 TV box and started selling cloud DVR storage.

Pro tip: DIRECTV’s Genie 2 DVR is wireless, holds 450 hours of HD content, and, like the standard Genie, is included with your subscription. To learn more about the Genie 2, check out our DIRECTV Genie review.

Xfinity equipment and features

Device Price Additional devices DVR storage Simultaneous recordings/streams Supported TVs
X1 TV box $7.50/mo. $7.50/mo. each N/A 6 recordings N/A
Cloud DVR service (included) Free N/A 20 hrs. 6 recordings N/A
Cloud DVR upgrade #1 $10.00/mo. N/A 150 hrs. 6 recordings N/A
Cloud DVR upgrade #2 $20.00/mo. N/A 300 hrs. 6 recordings N/A
Xfinity Flex Free* $5.00/mo. each N/A N/A N/A
Xfinity Stream app Free N/A N/A 5 streams Up to 5

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* To Xfinity internet-only customers.

Since the Genie comes included with your DIRECTV subscription, it offers more bang for your buck than Xfinity’s new cloud DVR service, which carries a hefty price tag.

Well, actually, most Xfinity plans include 20 hours of free storage—but what self-respecting couch creature can work with that paltry allowance? It’s almost as if Xfinity wants to push you toward its pricier DVR storage upgrades. That feels a little manipulative, but let’s do some math.

Let’s say you chose the biggest Xfinity cloud DVR upgrade (300 hours for $20 a month). With that and the $7.50-a-month X1 rental fee, Xfinity TV packages would cost $77.49–$117.49 per month.

That’s cheaper than DIRECTV, even if you added a couple of premium channels—and you’d get 100 more hours of DVR space. You’d still get fewer channels than with DIRECTV, but it’s still a pretty channel- and feature-rich TV package.

But you could always save money by going without the X1 box and cloud DVR service (see our tip below).

The Xfinity X15 voice remote.
The Xfinity X1 voice remote comes with the X1 TV box and Xfinity Flex streaming device.

Ax the X1?

If you already own an Xfinity Partner Device (Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, LG smart TVs, Roku devices, and Samsung smart TVs), you can use the Xfinity Stream app on that device and avoid the X1 rental fee ($7.50 a month). The only drawback is that you won’t have DVR service.

The DIRECTV Genie.
The DIRECTV Genie.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity mobile apps

DIRECTV on the Go
Android, Apple
Xfinity Stream
Android, Apple
Price Included Included
Apple Store rating 4.7 / 5.0 4.7 / 5.0
Google Play Store rating 3.5 / 5.0 3.5 / 5.0
Watch live channels
Watch on-demand content
Watch DVR recordings
Downloading for offline viewing
Watch pay-per-view, rental, and purchased content
Set and manage DVR recordings and timers
Set and manage parental controls
In-home streams 3 5
On-the-go streams 3 3
User profiles
Create watchlists
Use phone as remote

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

One way that cable TV services compete with live TV streaming services is by providing a mobile app that lets you stream your TV package, on-demand titles, DVR recordings, and more while you’re away from home. Most of them even allow you to download programs for offline viewing.

DIRECTV’s DIRECTV on the Go app is a newer version of the DIRECTV App. It’s about evenly matched with Xfinity Stream, which lets you create user profiles and a watchlist.

Pro tip: If you’re a big fan of the DIRECTV brand but want to try a live TV streaming service, check out our DIRECTV STREAM review. But expect high prices, fewer channels, and no NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

Final take

Our major gripe with DIRECTV is its less-than-transparent pricing. But it’s available almost anywhere, and sports fans will probably accept the expense in order to get the best TV service for sports.

We’re more inclined to recommend Xfinity to users who want an exceptional TV experience at a fair price. We also love the flexibility of Xfinity’s no-term agreement plans—but not the cost. And, with Xfinity, you also have to option to bundle with internet and phone service.

DIRECTV vs. Xfinity FAQ

Is DIRECTV better than DISH Network?

In the battle of the satellite TV duopoly, we think DISH Network is better than DIRECTV. See why in our DISH vs. DIRECTV review.

How much DVR storage does Xfinity have?

Most Xfinity cable TV plans have 20 hours of free cloud DVR space, but you’ll probably want more space. Two upgrades are available: 150 hours for $10 a month or 300 hours for $20 a month.

How can I get Comcast to lower my bill?

Contact Xfinity customer service and ask for customer retention. Tell them you’re a current Xfinity customer considering changing providers at the end of your term. They may offer you a discounted rate to hang around.

Same goes for DIRECTV. Read our DIRECTV customer service review for more information.

Can I have Xfinity internet and DIRECTV?

If you live in one of Xfinity’s service areas, nothing stops you from having Xfinity internet and DIRECTV satellite TV service.

What’s the difference between Comcast and Xfinity?

They’re the same. Comcast is Xfinity’s parent company.

Is Xfinity satellite or cable?

Xfinity is a cable TV and internet provider (with internet speeds up to 2,000 Mbps). DIRECTV and DISH are the only satellite TV providers.

Does DIRECTV provide internet service?

DIRECTV does not provide internet service. That means you can choose any provider in your area. To see what’s available, enter your zip code below.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Does DIRECTV still need a dish?

Since DIRECTV is a satellite TV service, it does require a satellite dish.

Which TV streaming service is best?

We gave YouTube TV ($64.99 a month) our Editor’s Choice Award for the best overall live TV streaming service because it has a solid lineup of 100+ channels and unlimited cloud DVR storage.

Netflix ($9.99–$19.99 a month) earned our Editor’s Choice Award for the best overall on-demand streaming service thanks to its excellent lineup of original movies and shows.

Does DIRECTV or Xfinity have more channels?

DIRECTV has more channels (330+) than Xfinity (185+). But both providers carry the top 35 most-watched channels in most packages.

How much is Comcast Xfinity cable TV service?

Xfinity cable TV service costs $49.99–$89.99 a month for up to 185+ channels and 20 hours of cloud DVR (upgrades available). You’ll have to sign a one-year term agreement on most plans, but no-term agreement plans are available for about 30% more per month.

Methodology

CableTV.com’s TV experts, collectively, have logged thousands of hours researching and testing TV providers like DIRECTV and Xfinity. For this review, we compared the providers’ packages, pricing, deals, value, equipment, and apps, processing the data into solid recommendations for our readers. You can learn more about our process on our How We Rank page.

Endnote

  1. Michael Schneider, Variety, “Most-Watched Television Networks—Ranking 2021’s Winners and Losers,” December 2021. Accessed June 7, 2022.

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