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Looking to switch from cable to satellite TV or vice versa? Let our XFINITY® vs DISH ® review (similar to our DIRECTV vs DISH review) help you make that decision.
You can also check out our dish versus directv article.
Comcast® is a Multi-system operator (MSO), offering XFINITY® branded TV, Internet and phone service in 40 states as well as the District of Columbia. The company is the largest cable TV provider in the US, with approximately 22.7 million subscribers reported in January, 2015. XFINITY offers several different TV packages under the XFINITY TV-brand including Limited Basic, Digital Economy, Digital Starter, Digital Preferred, and Digital Premiere. The XFINITY TV service includes options to watch television away from your main TV.
DISH has been providing satellite TV service since 1996 after the company put its first satellite, EchoStar 1, into orbit and now includes a large DISH channel guide. As of February, 2015, DISH had about 14-million subscribers across the US. The company also offers satellite Internet service via their dishNET product launched in October, 2012. The dishNET service starts at $39.99 per month, with data plans ranging from 5GB to 15GB per month. You can also get DISH TV bundled with phone service through partnering companies.
Both companies also offer streaming products. XFINITY offers XFINITY Streampix® ($4.99 per month) providing unlimited access to the content you’re subscribed to or whatever they are offering for free. DISH Movie Pack® offers access to movies and TV shows a la carte on PCs, Macs, Android and iOS devices, the Roku 3, and supporting HDTVs and Blu-ray players. While it’s clear both companies offer more than just TV packages, with DISH offering DISH Anywhere, for the sake of this article we’ll only compare each provider’s television service.
Comcast XFINITY lets you choose between self-install and professional install. Those fees may vary between service provider, but a typical professional install fee paid by new customers is at least $50, and may vary according to how much equipment is installed.
DISH provides free installation (with a 2-year contract).
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To see what channels Comcast’s XFINITY offers, we used the zip code 98629 in La Center, WA. XFINITY listed 100 HD channels numbering in the 700 to 800 guide range. The list also included local HD channels, so the number of national channels in the area is closer to around 90. The lineup is made up of popular networks such as Discovery HD, Disney HD, and CNN HD, but also includes niche channels such as G4techTV HD, ROOT SPORTS NW HD, PAC-12 Oregon HD, and 3D Events HD — networks not found with every provider.
DISH currently lists 116 HD channels on their website, as well as local HD channels (which vary according to market but at the bare minimum include ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS and PBS). The company says they have the most HD channels in the industry, and we found 116 listed under All Packages on their website.
XFINITY offers the cloud-enabled X1 Entertainment Operating System® platform in select areas (available in 27 markets as of this review, and scheduled to reach all markets by the end of the year), letting you watch live and recorded programming on multiple devices throughout your home. With X1 you can utilize the X1 Remote App to turn your mobile device into a remote control, and also use voice commands to interact with your TV. User recommendations, your last 9 shows watched, and on-screen apps are also part of the X1 platform. The service also lets you search and schedule DVR recordings while you’re away from your home via the XFINITY TV App.
DISH offers the Hopper® Whole-Home HD DVR, an innovative product (winning Best of Show at CES 2013) that lets you watch live TV and recorded programs via the DISH Anywhere™ mobile app. The Hopper system integrates the controversial ad-skipping software, allowing you to skip commercials during certain prime-time programs. The Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR service allows you to connect up to 4 HDTVs in your home using added Joey set-top box receivers.
XFINITY offers a standard HD DVR with 500GB hard drive to store up to 300 hours of SD or 60 hours of HD programming. But, you can also get their top-of-the-line X1 HD DVR and X1 Platform (not available in all markets) can record up to four shows simultaneously, while watching a fifth program at the same time. (XFINITY’s next-gen X2 platform promises to move recorded programming to the cloud.)
The Hopper from DISH allows you to connect up to 4 HDTVs using Joey set-top box receivers. The 2TB Hopper provides storage for up to 500 hours of HD or 2,000 hours of SD. Three tuners allow recording any two channels and the third tuner can be used to record 4 additional primetime shows.
XFINITY from Comcast offers better monthly rates for customers who sign 2-year contracts, but a long term agreement is not required. For example, Digital Premiere with a 2-year contract is $84.99 for the first 12 months, but with no term agreement you only get that price for 6 months.
DISH does provide services at regular pricing without a contract but installation fees are not waived without the contract.
XFINITY offers a local-only TV service with at least 10 channels for $30.15 per month, but aren’t those channels already free over-the-air? Instead, let’s look at the next level TV service called Digital Economy that offers over 45 channels . That service costs $34.95 per month for new customers. (Equipment and premium channels are extra.)
The Welcome Pack from DISH is their least expensive package priced at $19.99 per month with 40+ channels. They also have a Smart Pack with 55+ channels currently offered for $19.99 per month for 12 months (normally $34.99 per month). Neither package is eligible for the Hopper upgrade, or gives you HD channels. (Equipment and premium channels are extra.)
Comcast XFINITY Digital Premier provides customers with over 200 digital channels including premium channels from HBO®, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME®. The package also includes the Sports Entertainment Package with NFL RedZone. Digital Premier costs $84.99. per month for the first 12 months in a 2-year agreement. After first year it goes up to normal rates (ranging from $128.99 to $148.99 depending on area).
The top-tier DISH package, America’s Everything Pak,™ gives 330 channels with a free Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR Upgrade (new customers only), and premium channels HBO®, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME® and. The ‘Everything Pak’ costs $86.99 for the first 12 months, and $131.99 per month after (before taxes).
Comcast XFINITY TV service has a lot to offer, especially for those markets that have been converted to all digital and are eligible for the X1 Platform. XFINITY also offers some good deals on triple-play service, that can turn out to be more economical than when DISH partners with phone and Internet providers to bundle services. (You might say, the more parties involved the more you’ll pay.) And, the upcoming X2 Platform, which puts your TV experience in the cloud, looks more than promising. But until then, the Hopper from DISH, 2TB Whole-Home DVR, and larger selection of HD channels puts them at an advantage.
They all seem to have their pros and cons. I was always happy with Dish. Comcast went out just as frequently, but the cost was more for less channels/options. I never had any customer service issue with either company. ATT, however, has just pissed off my mother, as 3 of her payments have gone missing and they shut off all 3 services!! They found one and tried to apply a month after she had mailed it, but she had already put a stop payment at their suggestion and paid the 1 payment by phone. Now their still missing the other 2 payments. We will be switching to Comcast or Dish. Just haven’t decided which, yet.
Just moved to Albuquerque, NM from Montana and signed up for the 2 year “bundled” deal with Xfinity that includes TV, phone and internet. Found out that with “premium” channels like HBO, Showtime, etc. Xfinity only provides one or two HD channels. Example: I get 10 HBO channels in the package but only 2 are HD. Only one HD for Starz and Showtime. These are “premium” channels people pay “extra” for and this is a ripoff for customers. Spectrum in Missoula, MT provides about half of the 11 HBO channels in HD and same with Starz and other “premium” channels. WTF Xfinity? This is the 21st Century. We paid almost $2,000 for an “Ultra – HD 4K TV and get only ONE or TWO HD channels in HBO, Showtime, etc? Xfinity offers NO HD on the Movie Channel. NOT GOOD. If you like HD stay away from Xfinity. No excuse for this but GREED!
Dish Satellite is terrible use Comcast instead you will be amazed how different they are great customer service
Dish internet is terrible. Watched 2 one hour episodes on Netflix and received a warning high speed data usage low. We had to lower our Netflix viewing to the lowest quality, watched 6 hours in a month and ran out of high speed data use. I thought limited internet went out in the 90’s. Terrible going to cancel contract, worth the cancellation fees. Too much frustration. No binge watching with dish.
I’ve had Dish and recently switched to Comcast which I’ve had for 1 year. Here is my comparison.
Technology: Comcast’s X1 does have a voice feature that is pretty cool. But its also extremely useless. Why would I press a button to say “record” when I could just press the record button. It’s also sensitive to ambient sounds and you need to speak clearly so functionality isn’t prefect. Dish on the other hand has a “remote find” feature. It’s super practical and simple. You lose your remote, you press the “remote find” button on the box and the remote starts beeping and flashing. It’s gotten me out of many jams!! It’s probably the best human invention in the last 5 years. Also, the Dish DVR holds like 6 times more hours and the X1 isn’t even expandable. Plus Dish has onboard Netflix so you don’t need separate hardware to run it. For Technology the winner is Dish BIG TIME!!!!
Price: Getting Dish doesn’t mean you’re not also paying Comcast for Internet. Plus Comcast offers the best internet out there. Bundling is very convenient and Dish may give you a cheaper rate for the first year, during the second year you’re paying a premium. Winner is Comcast!
Reliability: Dish does go out during bad storms but Comcast also has outages although for no reason at all. It will be sunny and beautiful outside and suddenly our internet and tv goes out which is frustrating. With Dish atleast you know that when the storm passes your good. With Comcast, over the past year its happened like maybe 3 times that I’m aware of. Winner probably depends on whether you live in a part of the country that has lots of storms.
Overall Winner: I really really wish I could say Comcast. Bundling is just so convenient. Plus with Comcast I don’t have to deal with calling every other year to pretend to cancel my service so that I could get a cheap rate for 12 out of 24 months. However, having the extra DVR space and “remote find” feature just makes my life so much easier. For now I must say Dish but I’m hoping that one day Comcast will trade its “cool” features for ones that are way more practical.
I tried DISH TV for 2 years. During that time, my free movies disappeared, my number of channels were reduced, and my monthly bill increased. I never got the free hopper as advertized because there was a high extra unadvertised monthly fee associated with it. A remote control given to me by the DISH installer for my bedroom TV worked sporadically. Maximum HD resolution was only 1080i, and DISH charged me $20 to return their equipment.
I switched back to cable TV because they offered me free HBO for two years, and a lower monthly bill than DISH. Maximum HD resolution is 1080p, and cable doesn’t charge me to return their equipment.
I’ve been a WA State Comcast customer for many years. My experience has been, for the most part, very positive. Their home service technicians are so helpful and polite. Ninety percent of the time I’ve had a positive experience with telephone support staff.
Negative comments: Their “Chat” service is useless. I believe it is outsourced. They have also outsourced some technical calls, and once again, those calls have been incredibly frustrating because they don’t know what they are doing and their main purpose seems to be to sell you their technical support package. When I called the main Comcast number to complain, the rep told me they had tried outsourcing but were beginning to bring it back to the States because of the complaints.
Comcast has a “Customer Loyalty” department that most people don’t even know about until they call to cancel. Their kind and helpful reps work with me, finding me specials and discounts that allow me to stay a Comcast customer, get the channels I enjoy watching, and stay within the budgetary limits of my fixed income.
But, as helpful as this department is, most customers don’t know they can do this on a regular basis. For example, my mother, a senior on a fixed income, was paying almost $240.00 a month for phone, internet, and cable, more than her electric, gas, and water/sewer bills combined! I called Comcast for her and was able to get her bill reduced almost $90.00 for the period of one year.
But why should we have to call? Why doesn’t Comcast just reduce their rates and stop adding more and more complex and unneeded features? Or just offer basic packages without those additional features? One doesn’t buy cake when all one needs is bread, right? We should have more choices.
CAVEAT: These specials DO end, so one needs to keep track on one’s calendar and be sure to call in again BEFORE the special ends or the next bill will be an unpleasant surprise.
I agree with you. I am tired of Comcast raising rates and then taking channels off. I do not know anyone who wants to pay more for less. Seriously thinking of switching to Dish.
give me a call i sell dish 2063709110
The good rates of DISH (like Comcast) are only good for a year. After that, both jack up the rates.
Until they change these rate policies, I supposed the best way to go is to switch back and forth every year to continually receive the lower “New customer” rate!
You don’t have to switch. Just pretend to switch. Tell them your leaving because of the rate hikes. They’ll switch you to the customer loyalty department and they’ll give you a new customer discount.
yes very true
Dish does the samr thing. I’m actually quite tired of the whole issue of paying an arm and a leg to watch TV. I don’t even know why
Just another addiction.
Sorry, DISH does this too! I have DISH right now and I used to have Comcast.
I am a current long time Comcast customer. However, I am about to become a former Comcast customer. They are too big and have evil devil-like attributes. I don’t play with the devil.
i was just treated like garbage by cust serv at comcast. goodbye. i dont give a ratys ass if i pay more witjh dish, comcast is done
I just got snubbed by ‘chat service’ on comcast. wanted to ad some spanish channels. Am seriously considering changing providers…
I WOULD LIKE A DISCUSSION ON VALUE PER SERVICE AND QUALITY OF INTERNET SERVICE. AM NOW A COMCAST CUSTOMER
USING A LOT OF INTERNET AND WOULD LIKE TO GET A CLOSE COMPARISON ON IP QUALITY
Just wait until something goes wrong with your Internet.
Comcast requires an $80 payment over the phone to talk to a professional
Tech. Comcast customer service is a joke.
Weird, I’ve never paid a dime for help with my internet in 6 years. Not sure where you live……