Comcast Vs. DirecTV Vs. Dish Network: The 3 Giants Fight it Out

With the three-way battle between Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish Network flaring by the day, we decided to find out which of these three have an edge over the others. If you are not able to figure out which service provider to opt for, we will help you decide.
Techspirited Staff
The largest cable operator in the United States is Comcast. If DirecTV and Dish Network want to take on Comcast, they need to do something big. If the recent talks of merger are to go by, they seem to be well on their way to 'do something big'.

When it comes to home entertainment in the United States, Comcast Corporation, DirecTV, and Dish Network need no introduction. Each of these have been in the picture for quite some time now, and have set pioneering standards in the field of television broadcasting as well as other means of mass communication―telephone and the Internet to be precise. The fact that each of these service providers have a subscriber base in excess of 10 million, best depicts their popularity.
Each of these companies have their USP, which is fiercely marketed by them, and their drawbacks, which are hidden from the consumer. This, in turn, gives rise to the dilemma as to which of these service providers one should opt for. It is difficult to say who will emerge the winner in the battle between Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish Network. In order to figure out the same, we decided to take a look at each of them individually, whilst emphasizing on what they have to offer, and then pitch them against each other.
The Contenders: Comcast Vs. DirecTV Vs. Dish Network
While many people out there are happy with the services these companies provide, there are some who are contemplating the idea of switching―either because of some unresolved issues with the existing service provider, or because the offers from the new service provider seem more tempting. Even new customers are in a dilemma over deciding which of these three service providers to go for.
Regardless of whether you are opting for a switch, or you happen to be a new customer, confusion is bound to set in when choosing between these three, which more or less look similar, and that's exactly where individual reviews come to your rescue. Besides this, comparing the services they have to offer can help you get rid of all the confusion and make the 'choosing' part relatively easy.
Comcast
Starting with Comcast Corporation, it has the distinction of being the largest cable operator and home Internet service provider, and the third largest home telephone service provider in the United States. It provides these services under the Xfinity brand to residential and commercial customers in 40 states and the District of Columbia. The XFINITY TV packages from Comcast start with the Digital Economy pack, which gives you access to 45 channels, with a subscription fee of $29.95 per month for 12 months.
DirecTV
DirecTV boasts of its own general entertainment network, the 'Audience Network' (formerly known as 'The 101 Network') which is exclusively available for DirecTV subscribers. Additionally, it also holds the exclusive rights of several sports packages, including the NFL Sunday Ticket and NASCAR Hot Pass. If you happen to be a sports fan, then DirecTV is your best bet; courtesy, its excellent sports programming. As far as packages are concerned, they start from the Select pack, with 125+ channels to offer, priced at $46.99 per month for 12 months.
Dish Network
Yet another prominent name in the American broadcast television sector is the Dish Network. As its name suggests, Dish Network can be accessed by means of a satellite dish and receiver. Subscribers get to choose from DVR and Non-DVR Receivers, with the former ensuring that you get to watch your favorite shows whenever you want. Dish Network satellite TV offers several packages, starting from the Welcome pack (40 channels) and Smart pack (55 channels) for $19.99 per month for the first 12 months.
Which Service Provider is Ideal for You?
Even though these three service providers happen to be the bigwigs of the American home entertainment industry, there do exist some points of distinction which set them apart. However, it would be unfair to rely on these differences alone to decide which one of them is the best. If at all, these differences can help you figure out which of these is 'your' best bet.
Each of these three service providers have their own advantages and disadvantages. If you are opting for Comcast, you will have to pay an installation fee. As opposed to this, if you opt for DirecTV or Dish Network, you won't be charged any installation fee (that's as long as you are willing to sign a two-year contract). The 24-month service contract can turn out to be the Achilles heel for these satellite TV providers. While Comcast doesn't require a long-term contract, it does promise some rewards for those willing to commit.
As far as the price factor is concerned, all the service providers give you the option of choosing and paying for what you want to see. Dish Network comes across as the best option with packages starting from as low as $19.99, but one should also note that this particular package has the least to offer. Every single service provider out there has a sugar-coated, cheap package on offer, but one needs to be wary of the same. (Basically, these low rates are called teaser rates; they are purposely kept below the market value to entice customers.)
Comcast Xfinity Packages
Pack Channels Price
Digital Economy 45+ $29.99
Digital Starter 80+ $49.99
Digital Preferred 160+ $59.99
Digital Premier 200+ $69.99

DirecTV Packages
Pack Channels Price
SELECT 125+ $46.99
ENTERTAINMENT 135+ $54.99
CHOICE 145+ $63.99
XTRA 200+ $70.99
ULTIMATE 220+ $78.99
PREMIER 280+ $126.99

Dish Network Packages
Pack Channels Price
WELCOME PACK 40+ $19.99
SMART PACK 55+ $19.99
AMERICA'S TOP 120 190+ $29.99
AMERICA'S TOP 120 PLUS 190+ $34.99
AMERICA'S TOP 200 240+ $39.99
AMERICA'S TOP 250 290+ $44.99
AMERICA'S "EVERYTHING" PACK 320+ $89.99

Note: Prices are subject to change.
Other than the number of packages and sports packages, DirecTV also has an edge in terms of full-time HD channels it has to offer. According to their website, the number of full-time HD channels on offer as of today is 195, which is more than what Dish Network and Comcast offer. With DirecTV and Dish, you will have to shell out an additional $10/month for HD service. That being said, both have the Free HD for Life Feature to offer. It's worth noting that the exact number of HD channels available will depend on where you happen to reside.
While DirecTV's Genie DVR allows you record up to five shows simultaneously, Dish Network's Hopper DVR allows you to record 8 shows at the same time. Similarly, the Hopper has a capacity of 2 TB, which is double that of the Genie at 1 TB (and thrice of what Comcast has to offer). With that capacity, it is possible to store 2000 hours of recording on the Hopper. Similarly, the Hopper with Sling allows you to turn your PC, tablet, or cell phone into a TV. Comcast is no match for DirecTV and Dish Network in this aspect. With each of these service providers boasting of thousands of titles, the On Demand feature has largely become a no show.
Satellite TV services, such as DirecTV and Dish TV, are vulnerable to signal disturbance during bad weather, and that is one thing that you need to take into consideration when you are choosing a service provider. While Comcast services are not affected by bad weather, it might not even be an option for you if you reside in a region wherein cable network is yet to be fully developed. In such circumstances, you will have to resort to one of the satellite TV options.
Customer reviews are critical about Comcast customer support, which is yet another thing you need to take a note of. In fact, the service provider has received a lot of flak for it. In contrast, Dish and DirecTV fare better in this aspect.
While going through the general review of Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish Network gives you a rough idea as to which one you should opt for, the final decision will entirely depend on your personal preferences. To be on the safer side, you will have to prepare a list of features which you are looking for and then compare these three on the basis of this list to narrow down to your final choice.
Disclaimer: The services provided by these service providers are likely to differ from one area of jurisdiction to other.