Xfinity vs. DISH

Xfinity is widely available and affordable—but DISH Network has a price guarantee, the Hopper 3 DVR, and our Editor’s Choice Award for best overall TV provider.

Best for user experience

Price: $49.99–$159.99/mo.*

Live channels: 125–260+

Cloud DVR: 20 hrs. included** (upgradable)

Best overall

Price: $64.99–$104.99/mo.

Live channels: 190–290+

DVR: 500 hrs.

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months with a 1-yr. Agreement.
** With most plans

Is Xfinity or DISH better?

Cable TV provider Xfinity has excellent prices, shorter term agreements (or no term agreements at all), 185+ channels, the X1 TV box, and the Xfinity Stream app—but its cloud DVR is expensive and you’ll pay about 30% more per month for the no-term agreement plans.

DISH Network, a satellite TV provider, has affordable plans, transparent pricing, 290+ channels, the Hopper 3 DVR, top-notch parental controls, the DISH Anywhere app—and our Editor’s Choice Award for best overall TV provider and best TV provider for families. You’ll have to sign a two-year contract to get all that goodness, but it’s worth it.

Xfinity vs. DISH pros and cons

Xfinity

Wide availability
Free Peacock Premium w/ X1
No-term agreement plans available
Smaller channel counts
High DVR fees

DISH

2-year price guarantee
Hopper 3 DVR
No NFL SUNDAY TICKET
Limited internet/phone bundling options
Satellite dish requirement

Is Xfinity or DISH available in your area?

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Xfinity vs. DISH deals

Before we get into packages and pricing, let’s see what Xfinity and DISH deals and promotions are available.

Xfinity deals

New Xfinity customers are eligible for these deals.

  • Free Peacock Premium: New customers who select the X1 DVR get the Peacock Premium streaming service free.
  • Free installation: For a limited time, select Xfinity deals include a free self-install kit ($39.99 value).
  • STARZ discount: While placing an Xfinity order, in the premium channels section, we noticed an offer for two months of STARZ at $1.99 a month. That’s a 78% discount over the regular rate of $8.99 a month. Mark the box during checkout.
  • Xfinity military discount: Active military and veterans are eligible to receive a $25 coupon that can be applied to your Xfinity bill or used toward Xfinity On Demand rentals or purchases (expires April 30, 2022).

Be sure to watch our Xfinity deals page for more special offers.

DISH deals

Here are the current offers for new DISH customers.

  • Free installation: DISH is waiving the installation fee on new orders ($199 value).
  • DISH military discount: If you’re active duty military, a veteran, or a first responder, you get one free movie rental plus the eight-channel Stars & Stripes channel pack (regularly $10 a month) at no additional cost.
  • DISH discounts for healthcare workers and teachers: If you’re a healthcare worker or teacher, you qualify for one free movie rental plus the 12-channel Heartland channel pack (regularly $6 a month) at no extra charge when you sign up.
  • DISH senior discount: Customers 55 or older qualify for Dish55, which includes free installation, a free movie rental, six free months of equipment protection, and upgraded identity theft protection.
  • Movie on Us: You’ll get one free movie rental per month for 24 months just by checking the box when you order DISH.
  • eAutoPay discount: With all packages, DISH gives you a $5/mo. discount for using paperless billing. Discount is applied automatically at checkout.

To get these deals, check the box under Special Offers at checkout.

Don’t forget to see our DISH deals page for more money-saving offers.

Xfinity vs. DISH head to head

Service Price Channels Simultaneous recordings DVR Details
Xfinity $49.99–$159.99/mo.* 125–185+ 6 20 hrs. included** (upgrades available) View Plans

Read Xfinity review
DISH $64.99–$104.99/mo. 190–290+ 2–16 125–500 hrs. (DVR fee required) View Plans

Read DISH review

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

* For the first 12 months with a 1-yr. Agreement.

** With most plans

At a glance, Xfinity seems more expensive than DISH. That’s because the Xfinity price range includes bundles. DISH, however, doesn’t sell internet service at all—but customers living in the Frontier Internet service area can bundle with DISH. We’ll talk more about pricing in the next section.

DISH also has 105+ more live channels than Xfinity, and better DVR stats (we’ll expand on this later in this guide).

But, again, this is all based on the information in the table. So let’s zoom in on each provider and see which is better, Xfinity or DISH.

Xfinity vs. DISH plans and prices

Xfinity plans and prices

Plan Price Channels Simultaneous recordings DVR Details
Western region
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 region
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 region
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 months with a 1-yr. Agreement.

No-term agreement plan.

There are three Xfinity service areas in the US, and each has different cable TV plans and pricing. The value is best in the West region, where it’s good-to-average compared to other TV providers. In the Central and Northeast regions, Xfinity plans have average-to-poor value. This is based on cost per channel for each region’s packages.

Xfinity TV package cost per channel

Xfinity West region: $0.32–$0.40 per channel
Xfinity Central region: $0.43–$0.48 per channel
Xfinity Northeast region: $0.39–$0.54 per channel

Note: We didn’t include Xfinity basic cable TV plans in our cost-per-channel figures. This is mainly because basic cable TV service from any provider is a waste of money. There’s no need to pay a TV provider monthly when you can get your local channels and more with an over-the-air (OTA) antenna that costs as little as $25–$60.

In the West region, we recommend Ultimate TV ($59.99 a month, 185+ channels at $0.32 per channel). In the Central region, Ultimate TV costs $20 more per month for the same channels, but it’s still a decent deal at $0.43 per channel. And in the Northeast region, you’ll want to go with Digital Preferred ($69.99 a month, 185+ channels at $0.39 per channel).

Finally, Xfinity has no-term agreement plans—some are listed in the table above, but you might see different ones when you order online. These plans cost around $20 more per month, but they’re still good for people in temporary living situations who need flexibility.

Xfinity Flex

Xfinity Flex is a combination streaming device and streaming service that is free to Xfinity internet customers. Flex has hundreds of free live channels, thousands of Xfinity on Demand titles and includes the Peacock Premium streaming service. Xfinity Flex also supports a number of paid and free streaming apps including Netflix, Prime Video, HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, Paramount+, and Tubi. And Flex also comes with the fantastic X15 voice remote.

Learn more in our Xfinity Flex review.

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

DISH plans and prices

Plan Price Channels Simultaneous recordings DVR Details
America’s Top 120 $64.99/mo. 190+ 2–16 500 hrs. View Plans
America’s Top 120+ $84.99/mo. 190+ 2–16 500 hrs. View Plans
Our pick
America’s Top 200
$94.99/mo. 240+ 2–16 500 hrs. View Plans
America’s Top 250 $104.99/mo. 290+ 2–16 500 hrs. View Plans

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

DISH satellite TV plans and pricing are the same throughout the US. They have a cost-per-channel of $0.34–$0.45, which is in the good-to-average range—especially since DISH packages have up to 105+ more channels. Even better: the prices are guaranteed not to change for the duration of your two-year contract.

So if you value a good deal on TV service more than flexibility, DISH is the clear winner. And if you’re gonna be stuck with a provider, you could do worse than DISH satellite TV service.

We recommend America’s Top 200 ($94.99 a month, 240+ channels at $0.40 per channel) because it has the best mix of popular channels. But if sports channels are your main concern, you’ll probably be more than satisfied with America’s Top 120+ ($84.99 a month, 190+ channels at $0.45 per channel), which is designed for sports fans. You’ll also save 10 bucks a month.

Xfinity vs. DISH fees and extra charges

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.

Every TV provider has hidden fees. They’re frustrating, and often unavoidable, but it’s just how it works. Above you’ll see some of Xfinity’s more common fees. To learn more about Xfinity’s sneaky charges, see our guide to the Hidden Costs of Xfinity.

DISH fees and extra charges

Fees Amount
Local channels fee* (optional) $12.00/mo.
Regional sports fee N/A
Returned check/electronic funds transfer (EFT) $20.00
Payment extension $15.00
Leased equipment fees (due at signup) $0.00–$50.00 depending on the device
DISH Wally receiver $5.00/mo.
DISH Joey receiver $5.00/mo.
DISH Joey 4K receiver $5.00/mo.
DISH Wireless Joey receiver $5.00/mo.

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

* The DISH term for “broadcast TV fee.”

DISH’s fees are a little more reasonable—and there’s one big difference. DISH is one of the only TV providers that allows you to opt out of local channels. This is fantastic, because you get out of paying DISH’s $12-a-month local channels fee. And then you can still have your local channels (see below).

Pro tip: You can have your local channels and the $12-a-month savings by purchasing an over-the-air (OTA) TV antenna. These easy-to-install, indoor-mounted devices cost as little as $25 and they’ll pick up your local broadcast affiliates and more.

Xfinity vs. DISH channels

In the channel-count department, DISH (290+) has a clear edge over Xfinity (185+). But which provider has the most popular channels?

Popular channels

Both Xfinity and DISH carry the top 35 most-watched channels of 2021 according to Variety.1

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.

Channel comparison

Xfinity and DISH having the top 35 popular channels makes both providers generally equal in terms of the average TV experience. But DISH puts some of these popular channels in its more expensive plans, which gives Xfinity an advantage since its plans are slightly cheaper per month.

For more detailed information on channel lineups—including details on premium channels and on-demand channel packs—check out our Xfinity Channel Lineup Guide and DISH Channel Lineup Guide.

Xfinity vs. DISH equipment, specs, and features

Xfinity equipment and features

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

The way you access your Xfinity content is somewhat different now. You’ll still use the Xfinity X1 TV box, but it’s now only a receiver with built-in streaming apps instead of the receiver/DVR unit—but it still comes with the excellent X15 voice remote. Expect to pay $7.50 a month for the X1, which is about average compared to other cable TV providers’ TV box fees.

But you might not even need the box (see pro tip below).

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

Pro tip: If you have an Xfinity Partner Device—Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, LG smart TVs, Roku devices, Samsung smart TVs—you probably don’t need the Xfinity X1 TV box. Instead, you can use the Xfinity Stream app on that device and save $7.50 a month.

The DISH Hopper 3 and voice remote.
The DISH Hopper 3 receiver/DVR and voice remote.

As for DVR service, Xfinity—like its rival TV providers—now offers cloud DVR service. Most Xfinity TV plans include 20 hours of cloud storage, which is nearly useless if you watch a lot of series. But you can upgrade to 150 hours ($10 a month) or 300 hours ($20 a month), assuming you can afford the extra fee.

DISH equipment and features

Package Price DVR storage Simultaneous recordings
DISH Hopper 3 DVR $10.00/mo. 500 hrs. 16
DISH Hopper Duo DVR $5.00/mo. 125 hrs. 2
DISH Wally receiver $5.00/mo. N/A N/A
DISH Joey receiver $5.00/mo. N/A N/A
DISH 4K Joey receiver $5.00/mo. N/A N/A
DISH Wireless Joey receiver $5.00/mo. N/A N/A
DISH Anywhere app Free N/A Up to 5

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

DISH, on the other hand, hasn’t yet abandoned its popular Hopper DVRs—and the Hopper 3 remains the best DVR in the business. It’s ridiculously powerful, with the highest storage capacity and most simultaneous recordings (next to the Cox Contour Record 24), so it’s the best DVR for binge-watchers. And it offers much more bang for your buck than Xfinity’s cloud DVR upgrades.

Xfinity vs. DISH mobile apps

Xfinity Stream DISH Anywhere
Price Included Included
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 5 5
On-the-go streams 3 5
User profiles 5
Create watchlists
Use phone as remote

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

Mobile streaming apps are one of the main ways that cable TV services compete with the flexibility of live TV streaming services. Xfinity and DISH have two of the best streaming apps, but DISH is slightly better because it has more on-the-go streams and superior parental controls.

The Xfinity Stream home screen
The Xfinity Stream home screen as seen on [DEVICE].
The DISH Anywhere home screen
The DISH Anywhere home screen as seen on a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3.

We’ve conducted dozens of hours of hands-on testing with both Xfinity Stream and DISH Anywhere. For more in-depth information on these mobile TV apps, read our Xfinity Stream App Guide and DISH Anywhere App Guide.

Final take

DISH earned our Editor’s Choice Award two years in a row because it has affordable, transparent pricing—no other provider offers that two-year guarantee—plus tons of channels, excellent parental controls, tons of sports and kids channels, the Hopper 3 DVR, DISH Anywhere App, and wide availability.

Xfinity isn’t a bad option, either, if you’re looking for flexibility of shorter term agreements or even no-term agreement plans. But its cloud DVR pricing is pretty steep and you won’t have as many channels.

Methodology

The TV experts at CableTV.com have a combined thousands of hours experience researching and testing TV providers. We compare the providers—like Xfinity and DISH for this guide—based on price, features, deals, value and more, analyzing and processing the data into solid recommendations for our readers. For more on our process, see our How We Rank page.

Xfinity vs. DISH FAQ

Does Xfinity or DISH Network have more channels?

DISH satellite TV service has up to 290+ channels, while Xfinity cable TV service has up to 185+ channels. But both providers carry the top 35 most-watched channels.

How much is Comcast Xfinity cable TV service?

Xfinity cable TV service costs $49.99–$159.99 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.

Is it Comcast Xfinity, or are they two different companies?

Comcast is the parent company of Xfinity, so they’re the same company.

How much is DISH Network?

DISH Network satellite TV plans cost $64.99–$104.99 a month for up to 290+ channels.

How much DVR storage does Xfinity have?

Xfinity cable TV recently switched from physical DVR to cloud DVR storage. Most Xfinity TV plans include 20 hours of cloud DVR storage, so you’ll probably want to upgrade to higher storage. You can get 150 hours for $10 a month or 300 hours for $20 a month.

Endnote

  1. Michael Schneider, Variety, “Most-Watched Television Networks—Ranking 2021’s Winners and Losers,” December 2021. Accessed April 17, 2022.

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