Comcast’s XFINITY vs. DirecTV (comparison)

Jason Loomis
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Installation

The installation of both of these packages depends on the specific television that you have as the signal may need to be run through cable or satellite attachments in order to run the signal from the receiver to the television. Because of this, it is important to know what equipment you are working with so that you can get the proper receiver for the television without any problems.

The next step is to plug in the receiver and schedule the installation as necessary. This step depends on how fast you can get your home ready for installation. If your walls are pre-wired for satellite receivers, it will take just a few hours. If not, then two men will need a day to install the satellite receiver.

You also have to consider how hard you are willing to work to get it set up. If you are willing to work hard, then you can get it set up yourself and install a satellite yourself, which can make everything a lot cheaper.

When you take everything into account, one of these packages will be cheaper than the other. It is important to consider what you want to get from the package that you are going with, because this will help you decide whether the package you are going with will fit those needs.

HD Channels

On Demand

Vs. Live TV with XFINITY and DirecTV

Comcast, DirecTV and most other pay-TV companies offer both On Demand and live TV. But which is better? Are there any special advantages and disadvantages of each? Which one is the best option for you and your family?

Well, let’s start with what On Demand gives you. Most basic packages have fewer than 100 channels with the majority centering around live sports.

On Demand gives you a plethora of options to watch shows whenever and on your schedule. These are not just full episodes either; your options will include clips, highlights, or a full replay. Many channels will even let you pause live TV and catch up at your own pace. Some will even allow you to rewind moments that you missed.

However, it isn’t all rainbows and kittens. Being able to watch what you want, when you want can also be a curse. If family, friends or work take up too much time, it can be hard to find time to watch shows. Additionally, some networks don’t allow every single episode to be On Demand. It is not just one or two episodes either; they may place restrictions on a half-dozen or more. But the lack of On Demand is a problem with the network rather than your provider.

Equipment

The first thing you’ll notice after deciding on your service provider is the equipment required to set it up. Some providers, like DirecTV do almost everything for you. They’ll deliver a satellite system that includes most of the equipment needed and will install it for you. Then they’ll assist you with programming and hook you up to the rest of your entertainment system.

Comcast is a little different. You can hook them up to your existing satellite or cable system if you’re already using one. This means that you will not need two systems to operate.

Either way, you’ll need to get a computer for home networking with each provider.

With either provider, you’ll get a special cable from the provider. This will hook your computer, televisions, and any other home equipment that you connect to the internet. Then you can get your digital entertainment going.

TV Anywhere

We are all familiar with watching TV from wherever we happen to be at any given time, so long as we have our phone or tablet handy and access to the Internet. So it comes as a welcome announcement when providers tell us that subscribers will be able to watch programming from home, via their PCs or mobile devices, through TV Anywhere apps.

In April 2015, DirecTV and Comcast XFINITY announced that they would be joining forces and providing some form of app-based TV service through Comcast's XFINITY Stream app and DirecTV's Access app.

This was great news for both companies as each had been slow to embrace the TV Everywhere concept. However, the launch of the service was stalled as Comcast and DirecTV disagreed over who would control the rights to the app.

As of the time of this writing, the service is still in doubt with each company suggesting that the larger group is holding it up and may be shutting it down.

While it is too early to tell if the service will ever see the light of day, let’s take a look at how it would work and why Comcast and DirecTV are disagreeing over the merits of the service and the control of it.

Service Contract Periods

Both companies have varied lengths of contracts, with different prices based on how long you sign up for.

DirectTV has a 3-year, 4-year and 5-year commitment. The longer the contract, the cheaper their monthly rate is.

XFINITY has a 2-year, 3-year, 4-year, or 5-year commitment. The shorter the contract, the cheaper the monthly rate is.

Value Packages

The chart comparison of Comcast vs DirecTV shows the benefit of each of their package offerings.

Picture Package

First, you have the choice between the most basic for each. It is pretty obvious to see that DirecTV is about a dollar cheaper than Comcast Cable. But that is because Comcast Cable wants to use you. Where you may save a dollar or two, you end up spending more in other areas. Save the dollar or two and spend it on something else and forget about the big lie.

Pricing

Where DirecTV has always been on the low end price wise, they have made it even more affordable by offering a 20 percent discount to anyone that signs up for auto pay. This means that you can keep your monthly payments as low as possible.

XFINITY is a no-frills package channel food and, compared to other providers, has nothing extra to offer. It is basic cable.

DirecTV is more advanced with two free premium channels for free for the first year and offers up to three free premium channels.

If you prefer sports programming, DirecTV has the advantage with two free premium sports channels. Comcast has no bump to sports programming.

Internet

XFinity gives you the option of purchasing the fastest Internet speed they offer. It is extra but it is faster. Check with your provider to find out which speeds are available in your area.

Top-Tier Package

Comcast’s Internet Plus has 150Mbps speed (as shown by the advertised red dot on the Comcast –Y”), which is the same as DirecTV’s programming package (as shown by the advertised red dot on the DirecTV –Y”).

Conclusion

Technological advances have made DirecTV and Comcast XFINITY comparable in most respects. Both systems have similar pricing, high-speed internet, and access to live streaming. The bottom line with the Comcast XFINITY vs. DirecTV competition is that it basically boils down to local service and equipment availability.

For those who live or work in Comcast’s service areas, the choice is clear in this case. Comcast’s XFINITY has superior equipment, better service plans, and offers better performance. For those who live or work in DirecTV service areas, the choice is easy too.

Clearly, the world of television has changed dramatically for the better. You now have access to more channels, more programs, more content and more choice than ever before. As a result, cable companies have been hard at work to separate themselves from the competition.

The great news is that nearly everyone who subscribes to cable TV has ample choice today. Whether you decide to stick with a cable company, go with satellite TV, or choose a combination of streaming channels, you have more viewing options that ever before.