DIRECTV vs Xfinity: Which TV Provider is Better in 2024?

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Written by Jason Lin

Directv Vs Xfinity

Discover which premium TV provider offers better availability, channel selection, features and bundles – DIRECTV or Xfinity? This comprehensive guide examines all the key factors to help you decide.


When comparing premium TV providers like DIRECTV and Xfinity, there are a number of factors to weigh including availability, channel selection, features, technology, fees and bundles. This guide examines all the key details side-by-side to help you determine which is better suited for your household.

As background, DIRECTV offers satellite TV across all 50 states with some of the largest channel packages available on the market while Xfinity leverages cable TV infrastructure to provide service primarily in the Northeastern states.

Directv Stream Logo
Xfinity Logo

Here is a quick overview of how the two TV providers stack up:

Best AvailabilityAvailable nationwideAvailable in 40 states
Top ChannelsNFL Sunday Ticket, premium movie channelsRegional sports networks
FeaturesAdvanced Genie DVR, 4K HDRFlex streaming device, X1 Voice Remote
Contract Term2 yearsNo contract available

Now let’s explore the details more in depth across the key decision factors.

Availability and Coverage

When it comes to availability, satellite provider DIRECTV has the advantage of being accessible across all 50 states in the U.S. So no matter where you live, you can get DIRECTV service with the right equipment setup.

In contrast, Xfinity cable TV relies on physical cable infrastructure, so its availability is limited to regions serviced by Comcast cable lines. As of 2023, Xfinity TV is available in 40 states including popular cities like Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle, Miami and many Northeast corridor locations.

If you live in a rural area, DIRECTV is likely going to be the only option since cable infrastructure has not reached many remote regions. Even in suburban neighborhoods, legacy copper wiring can limit internet speeds for providers like Xfinity. DIRECTV solves this using orbiting satellites to beam high quality signals across wider geographies.

Winner: DIRECTV for national availability

Channel Lineups and Packages

When comparing base DIRECTV packages vs Xfinity packages, you’ll notice some key differences in channel count and premier networks offered.

DIRECTV provides a choice of four base TV packages (ENTERTAINMENT, CHOICE, ULTIMATE, PREMIER) with between 75 and 150+ channels depending on tier selected. Even at the entry-level ENTERTAINMENT package, you get full access to specialty channels like MLB Network, FX Movie Channel and premiums like HBO Max, SHOWTIME and STARZ for the first 3 months.

Directv Packages, Plans And Pricing

By comparison, Xfinity only offers two main TV packages (Popular and Extra) with 60 to 125+ channels. There is no option for premium channels like HBO or SHOWTIME built into core plans. You would need to subscribe to those streaming platforms separately.

One advantage with Xfinity is flexibility – start with a skinny channel lineup and add on international, sports, movies and more down the road. DIRECTV requires selecting a core base package upfront.

When it comes to regional sports coverage, DIRECTV is the better choice, providing more RSNs to watch your local NBA, NHL and MLB teams. Xfinity does cater well to college sports fans with the Big Ten Network and SEC Network on all tiers.

Directv Stream Sports Content

Here is a sampling of popular channels on DIRECTV vs Xfinity:

Hallmark Channel
NFL Network
MLB Network

Winner: DIRECTV for larger channel packages

Features and Technology

While channel selection is important, you also want a feature-packed experience with modern convenience and control.

Both DIRECTV and Xfinity offer hundreds of On Demand titles to watch movies and shows whenever you want. However, DIRECTV uses advanced Genie DVRs that store up to 200 hours of programming – 2X the storage capacity of Xfinity. Playback and fast-forward controls are quicker with Genie as well.

Directv Stream Cloud Dvr

For streaming capabilities, Xfinity Flex provides seamless access to apps like Netflix, HBO Max and Prime Video. DIRECTV offers similar aggregator access along with support for 4K HDR picture quality – brighter colors and enhanced contrast for stunning visuals. Xfinity does provide some 4K content through Flex but not for live programming.

Xfinity Flex 1
Xfinity Flex

Voice control functionality is robust with both providers. DIRECTV voice remotes respond to commands for searching shows, controlling playback, and changing channels. Xfinity X1 remotes allow hands-free navigation and personalization based on voice ID.

When it comes to technology perks, advantages are well distributed between superb DVR storage from DIRECTV and user-friendly streaming device access from Xfinity.

Winner: Tie – great technology from both

Costs and Fees

Pricing and fees are where satellite and cable providers differ the most. DIRECTV requires a 2-year contract on all TV packages while Xfinity offers more flexible no-contract options. However, the tradeoff is higher regular pricing without a long-term agreement.

Here is how DIRECTV and Xfinity costs break down across standard prices, extra fees, and contract differences:

Cheapest TV Package$69.99/mo for ENTERTAINMENT package$20/mo for Limited Basic
Premium Channel Price (HBO Max, Showtime)Included for 3 months free$15-$18/mo per premium
DVR Service Fee$15/mo for Genie DVR$10/mo for Cloud DVR
Contract Term2 yearsNo contract (prices higher)

The biggest recurring fees to watch out for with DIRECTV are a Regional Sports Fee of up to $15/mo and $7/mo for each extra receiver box.

Xfinity goes beyond standard fees like regional sports and HD technology charges and tacks on broadcast TV fees ($10-$20) along with up to $19.45 in regulatory recovery fees. Equipment can also get expensive with Xfinity if you need extra TV boxes for $5-$15 each monthly.

When examining the fine print, Xfinity’s fees are far more numerous and opaque compared to DIRECTV’s primarily equipment based charges. Just be sure to account for all recurring monthly costs with both providers, not simply the initial package pricing.

Winner: DIRECTV lower recurring fees


Bundling DIRECTV or Xfinity TV service with home internet is where most consumers can achieve significant savings. But what does TV and internet bundling look like for each provider?

Since DIRECTV does not offer home internet service directly, they steer customers towards partnering with AT&T Internet (where available). AT&T bundles feature discounts up to $30/mo off your total bill along with equipment upgrades. One downside is that AT&T internet speeds tend to max out around 100 Mbps in many regions.

In contrast, Xfinity doubles as your TV provider AND internet service provider. Instead of two separate bills, you get a single integrated statement covering both TV programming and internet access. Bundles can qualify for up to $30/mo off while providing ultrafast speed tiers like 200, 400 and even 1 Gig.

Here is a sampling of Xfinity vs DIRECTV TV and internet bundles:

BundlePriceTV ChannelsInternet Speed
DIRECTV Choice + AT&T Internet 50$89.99/mo235+ channels50 Mbps
Xfinity Preferred TV + 200 Mbps Internet$89.99/mo260+ channels200 Mbps

One uniqueness with Xfinity bundles are the additional services you can stack like home phone, mobile phone plans and home security monitoring. DIRECTV allows adding internet but no other integrated services.

Winner: Xfinity more flexible bundles

Customer Satisfaction

Evaluating customer sentiment towards DIRECTV and Xfinity reveals how actual users feel about services received. The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys thousands of consumers across industries each year to generate accurate satisfaction scores.

Over the past three years, DIRECTV and Xfinity have traded places on overall customer satisfaction levels:

Provider2022 Score2021 Score3 Year Average

Source: American Customer Satisfaction Index

This indicates most customers have mediocre impressions towards large television providers. DIRECTV tends to have better ratings around call center experiences and channel selection. Xfinity gets credit for bundling flexibility but often has below average marks on pricing transparency.

Ultimately, consumers feel lukewarm towards both DIRECTV and Xfinity. Competitive pressure from live TV streaming services may encourage improving perception going forward.

Winner: Tie – equally average satisfaction

Which Provider Is Better For…

Beyond looking simply at features and channels, deciding on the best premium TV provider depends largely on viewing preferences. Here is a breakdown of advised choices for popular consumer needs:

For Sports Fans – DIRECTV offers unmatched access to live sports with NFL Sunday Ticket providing every out-of-market Sunday football game. Plus more regional sports networks are covered to follow local team broadcasts.

Directv Nfl Sunday Ticket

For Movie Lovers – DIRECTV packs in premium channels like HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax and EPIX with the ability to subscribe on a standalone basis. Genie DVR storage ensures you never miss a premiere.

For Low Prices – Xfinity gives more bang for the buck if looking to minimize costs. The Limited Basic plan at only $20/month provides popular broadcast networks.bras

For Premium Channels – DIRECTV lets you add premium channels individually starting at $11/month. Most packages include HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ and Cinemax free for the first 3 months.

Analyzing the differences this way makes it simple to narrow on the provider that caters best to how you watch TV.


Does DIRECTV require a contract?

Yes, DIRECTV requires agreeing to a 2-year contract when you activate service. If you cancel early, expect to pay around $10-20 for each month left on the agreement.

What is the cheapest Xfinity TV package?

Xfinity offers a Limited Basic TV plan with over 10+ channels for only $20/month. No local broadcast networks are included at this entry-level tier however. Expect to pay at least $30 more for options like Popular TV or Extra which contain live local channels.

Can I get NFL Sunday Ticket with Xfinity?

No, NFL Sunday Ticket is only available through DIRECTV. It lets you watch any out-of-market Sunday game airing from the early afternoon through late evening.

Does DIRECTV offer contract buyouts?

Sometimes DIRECTV will offer existing customers contract buyout offers which credit you back for early cancellation fees. This allows switching to streaming TV providers without paying an ETF. Check eligibility by contacting customer service.

What DVR comes with DIRECTV?

DIRECTV uses their advanced Genie system as the standard DVR included. It provides full HD quality on up to four screens simultaneously and stores 200 hours of recordings. An HD fee of $15/month applies for DVR service.

How much data does DIRECTV use?

DIRECTV’s satellite service does not count towards home internet data usage caps since it operates on a closed system. Only DIRECTV Stream would contribute to broadband monthly limits like 1TB since video streams over your home’s internet connection instead.

How does DIRECTV compare to Dish Network?

See how DIRECTV and Dish satellite services differ on DVR storage, fees, sports packages and more.

Why does my DIRECTV freeze up?

Issues like DIRECTV freezing can occur due to weather, hardware problems or satellite signal loss. Tips to resolve common problems.

Can I get DIRECTV on Firestick?

While you can’t access the full DIRECTV channel lineup, DIRECTV Stream on Firestick provides a cable-like experience.

Key Takeaways

  • DIRECTV provides better nationwide availability including rural regions
  • Larger channel packages come standard with DIRECTV
  • Genie DVR storage space is far higher than Xfinity
  • Xfinity enables flexible add-on channel bundles
  • Recurring fees pile up quicker with Xfinity
  • DIRECTV requires a 2 year service contract
  • Xfinity bundles integrate more services like home security
  • Customer satisfaction is mediocre for both providers

If you’re considering alternatives, see how streaming services like FuboTV and DIRECTV Stream compare. Or see how Spectrum stacks up against DIRECTV Stream.

The choice between DIRECTV vs Xfinity for premium TV ultimately depends on your household’s needs. Favor DIRECTV for unmatched sports access and channel count. Select Xfinity for lower entry pricing and seamless bundling. Use this detailed side-by-side analysis to decide the right fit.

Jason Lin
Tech enthusiast with 10+ years of experience, providing guides, reviews, and tips on Smart TVs, streaming devices, and TV apps.

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