At a Glance
Type of Service
$49.99–$119.99 per month
$10.00 per month
Up to $89.99
Type of Service
$35.00–$110.00 per month
$35.00 activation fee
Data effective 10/11/2017. Pricing subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
Should you go with Xfinity or DIRECTV as your TV provider?
Choose Xfinity for great bundles and a lot of on-demand content.
Xfinity’s greatest strength is its bundling power. The company’s solid TV service combines with consistently fast internet to provide a product that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Plus, there’s no contract required, which is always a huge advantage in our eyes. On the other hand, you’ll sacrifice a little in the customer service and availability department with Xfinity, and it also has one of the smaller channel selections you’ll find these days. Overall, though, it’s hard to go wrong with Xfinity.
Choose DIRECTV for wide availability and renowned customer service.
DIRECTV has a lot going for it. Both DIRECTV and its parent company, AT&T, have established reputations for good customer service, which is refreshing in an industry generally known for the exact opposite. DIRECTV is also available basically anywhere in the US, which is a great benefit for frequent movers and fans of the rural life. Sports fans will also find a good home here, with the exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET offering. The only real bummer with DIRECTV is the two-year contract requirement and the early termination fees that entail if you break the contract, but if that doesn’t bother you, DIRECTV is an excellent choice.
Installation & Setup
Xfinity(3.49 / 5)
Xfinity’s score for installation stayed mostly the same compared to last year. The company offers a two-hour service appointment window that’s smaller than what many competitors offer, but that big installation fee is still a bit of a bummer.
DIRECTV(3.67 / 5)
It doesn’t get much better than free when it comes to a TV service installation, and that’s exactly what you get with DIRECTV. We’d imagine this plays a big part in the score the company earns here—DIRECTV sits in the top three for installation and setup satisfaction. Although there is a $35.00 activation fee you’ll have to pay to get things going, that pales in comparison to the steep installation fee you’ll get from Xfinity.
Xfinity Installation Fee: $89.99
DIRECTV Installation Fee: $35.00 activation fee
Xfinity(3.52 / 5)
While neither of these providers offers a particularly huge channel selection, Xfinity really comes in low with only 260+. That said, the company still ranks highly in this category, so it isn’t all about the numbers. Xfinity also offers one of the largest on-demand libraries of any provider, with over 84,000 shows and movies available. You can check out Xfinity’s channel lineup here to make sure all your favorites are included before you sign up.
DIRECTV(3.58 / 5)
DIRECTV comes out ahead on total channel count, with over 325 channels to choose from. DIRECTV also dominates when it comes to sports programming, with more channels than any other provider and the exclusive NFL SUNDAY TICKET, which is not only the best football package around but also the best package for any sport. You’ll also get the Genie—one of the best DVRs in the business—to record all that great programming.
Xfinity Channels: 260+
DIRECTV Channels: 325+
Xfinity(3.85 / 5)
This is one category where Xfinity scores above DIRECTV. Cable services, as a general rule, tend to be more reliable than satellite, but Xfinity has a really robust network. In fact, the company rose from eighth place in our rankings in 2016 to third place this year while many other providers saw reliability ratings drop significantly.
DIRECTV(3.82 / 5)
DIRECTV defies satellite’s reputation for unreliability with an excellent score and a spot in the top five in our survey. The provider advertises 99% signal reliability, and that’s generally what you’ll get, although there is the possibility for weather-related interference, especially during heavy rain or snow.
Xfinity Type of Service: Cable
DIRECTV Type of Service: Satellite
Xfinity(2.56 / 5)
Xfinity packages are reasonably priced, especially considering you don’t have to sign a contract. That means that while you might get a little less for your money than you would from DIRECTV, you can leave at any time without the threat of early termination fees. TV-only packages start at $49.99 and run up to $119.99 per month. Keep in mind that prices and available packages can vary slightly depending on where you live.
DIRECTV(2.63 / 5)
DIRECTV’s pricing is generally less than Xfinity’s—packages start at about $35.00 and run up to about $110.00. DIRECTV offers more channels, but you won’t get the same on-demand content that you would with Xfinity. However, DIRECTV does have the advantage of including your DVR rental fee in the package price, so what’s advertised is much closer to what you’ll actually pay. As for which package to choose, we think the ULTIMATE package is the best value overall, with 245+ channels at $60.00 per month.
Xfinity Price: $49.99–$119.99 per month
DIRECTV Price: $35.00–$110.00 per month
Contract: 2 years
Tech Support & Customer Service
Xfinity(3.23 / 5)
Xfinity is a Comcast company. And if Comcast is known for one thing, it’s less-than-stellar customer service. True to that reputation, they hang around the bottom of the pack in our survey results, just outside the bottom five. Things could be worse, though, and the company has committed itself to improving in this area.
TV and Internet Bundles
Xfinity offers some of the fastest internet service around. Internet-only packages start at $29.99 a month for 10 Mbps and run up to $79.99 a month for 1,000 Mbps. The package selection should keep everyone happy, from occasional Facebook scrollers to Netflix bingers. Unfortunately, there is a 1 TB data cap with Xfinity. That’s a lot of data, so most people should be just fine, but the company does charge an overage fee of $10.00 per 50 GB, so be aware of that.
Of course, bundles are available, and this is where Xfinity can really shine. It’s often possible to add fast internet to your TV plan of choice for just $15.00 or $20.00 extra a month—it’s almost a no-brainer. For example, the Preferred XF Double Play is a great value, with 220+ channels and 100 Mbps internet starting at $89.99 per month.
Since DIRECTV is owned by AT&T, you have the option of bundling with AT&T internet service. AT&T internet service offers fast speeds and solid pricing, but the biggest benefit of AT&T’s internet service is its fiber option that’s available in some areas.
With fiber packages like AT&T 1000, you can get speeds up to 1,000 Mbps—if you live in the right areas. Availability for AT&T Internet 1000 varies widely, so check the availability in your area by entering your zip code below. Standalone internet packages start at $40.00 per month for 50 Mbps. AT&T also has data caps of 1 TB, except for on the Internet 1000 plan, which doesn’t have a data cap.
More About the Providers
Xfinity from Comcast
Xfinity is Comcast’s cable telecommunications brand. It provides service to over 166 million people in forty states, with the biggest coverage areas in Utah, Illinois, and Washington, DC. Comcast is the largest cable internet provider in the United States.
DIRECTV is one of the largest satellite providers in the world, with over twenty million customers in the United States and another seventeen million in Latin America. DIRECTV was purchased by AT&T in 2015, and together the two provide television services to over twenty-five million subscribers.