DirecTV, a satellite television broadcast network, and Comcast, the largest cable operator in the United States, are no doubt the stalwarts of their respective fields. But what happens when they are pitted against each other. That’s what we intend to find in this DirecTV-Comcast Xfinity comparison.
DirecTV, with a subscriber base exceeding 20 million, and Comcast with a subscriber base of approximately 23 million, form the backbone of broadcast media in the United States. Millions of people rely on these services for their daily dose of entertainment and news. With both the companies resorting to aggressive marketing to increase their business, it comes as no surprise that the end consumer is left confused trying to figure out which is a better choice―DirecTV or Comcast Xfinity. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks, and to decide which of the two is better, one has to review the services offered by both of them.
DirecTV Vs. Comcast Xfinity: A Comparative Analysis
The intensity of the DirecTV-Comcast battle has reached its all-time high over the last decade, with each trying desperately to get an edge over its counterpart. Comcast uses coaxial cable to provide services to its customers, whereas DirecTV is dependent on satellite dish technology for the same. With time, the reliability of coaxial cables has increased manifolds which has added to the efficiency of Comcast Xfinity and other networks which rely on these cables. While satellite dish technology does provide excellent service in terms of quality, the same can take a beating during strong storms or cloudy conditions―a problem which satellite based television network users often complain about.
Video on Demand
Huge investments made by Comcast to improvise the existing infrastructure and add more channels to its packages has helped it get an edge over satellite-based television networks such as DirecTV and Dish TV. Services such as ‘Video on Demand’ have become inexpensive as well as user-friendly, as large amounts of content is stored on centralized servers, and the subscribers can access it with a click of the button at any point of time. Comcast, in fact, boasts of more than 8000 HD choices On Demand on TV as well as the Internet. Even though DirecTV also has Video on Demand service in place, the subscriber needs to have access to high-speed Internet in order to access this service.
DirecTV does score over Comcast when it comes to picture quality – with more than a hundred national channels in high-definition (HD) video quality to its credit. Comparatively, the number of channels in HD video quality in Comcast is very low, and largely depends on whether the infrastructure in the area wherein you reside is fully upgraded or not. To a great extent, the credit for the quality advantage that DirecTV has over Comcast goes to its advanced receiver for HD and DVR. DirecTV also gives its users the option of using one DVR for the entire house i.e. multiple connections within your home.
Pricing and Packages
In terms of pricing, things are pretty competitive with both the service providers offering packages starting at US$29.99 MO. While the basic package from Comcast Xfinity has somewhere around 80 digital channels to offer, the DirecTV basic package gives you access to 150 digital channels. A 2 year contract can be a problem, but the same applies to both service providers and hence doesn’t really mean much when it comes to DirecTV-Comcast comparison. Ideally, you should find out how much you will be charged for availing the services on offer and how many channels you will get access to beforehand.
DirecTV has its own network, referred to as The 101 Network, which is exclusively made available to DirecTV subscribers. The services range from subscription television services to private video services, with the subscribers having access to hundreds of digital channels specializing in entertainment, news, sports, etc. As with The 101 Network available for DirecTV subscribers, even Comcast has a exclusive package in the form of Comcast Network for its subscribers.
As far as customer satisfaction is concerned, most of the consumer forums are abuzz with complains about both the service providers. However, it would be unfair to come to a conclusion on the basis of these complains alone. Comcast has often come under the scanner for substandard customer service, so the 30-day money-back guarantee offer on their website does seem worth giving a try (especially before opting for the 2 year contract). DirecTV, on the other hand, has topped the prestigious J.D. Power annual customer satisfaction survey for residential cable and satellite TV in the past, which in itself is a decent achievement.
The fact that Comcast Xfinity package includes cable TV as well as high-speed Internet and phone service does give it an edge over DirecTV. For some people however, it is the list of channels on offer which acts as a deciding factor when choosing between the two. At the end of the day, there is no clear winner of this face-off, as both have their own advantages and disadvantages. In such circumstances, you need to take into consideration the aforementioned factors, your area of residence and – most important of all, your definition of entertainment when deciding which of these service providers to opt for.