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DISH vs Comcast Xfinity

Last updated on March 4th, 2020 by George Levint

Two of the larger TV providers in the world, there’s plenty to like with each…depending on your needs. In this article we’ll be reviewing the pros and cons of DISH and Comcast Xfinity and see which has what it takes to sit front and center in your living room. We’ll be covering various categories but mainly focus on equipment and programming, as that’s the main factor with most families’ decisions. Finally, keep in mind limited-time deals can sway the needle in one direction or the other, so always factor those in (we’ll be adding them to the table below as well). Ok, let’s get to it…

Comcast Xfinity
Americas Top 120 – 190 chnls, $59.99/mo
Americas Top 120+ – 190+ chnls, $74.99/mo
Americas Top 200 – 240+ chnls, $84.99/mo
Extra (1 yr contract) – 140 chnls, $49.99/mo
Extra (mth-to-mth) – 140 chnls, $70.99/mo
Preferred+ (1 yr) – 240+ chnls, $59.99/mo
Plan Summary
Overall, Dish tends to give you a bit more value for the price, especially with their most popular plans AT120 and AT120+. The higher plans still offer a good amount of value but not quite as much as the AT120 duo.
Comcast’s Extra plan gives you around 140 channels for $50/mo (in most regions). That’s for a 1-year contract (monthly contracts run a bit higher). It most closely compares to AT 120 which gives you 50 more channels for just $10 more. Note: Comcast divides up customers into 3 regions: West, Central and East. Pricing can change depending on your region so be sure to price check via your zip code.
Current Specials
Aside from the occasional freebie or pay-per-view perks, DISH has offers for military, first responders and folks over 55
Xfinity isn’t currently running any specials but check back often as they’re updated often.
16 tuners, 2 TB hard drive

DISH wins this one (and really against anyone). With the Hopper 3 sporting over 16 simultaneous recordings, 500 hrs of HD recordings and an above average program guide, it’s tough for anyone to stack up.
6 tuners, 500 GB hard drive

The biggest upside with Comcast is their cloud DVR option (which DISH doesn’t have) as well as their traditional DVR storage. Its regular receiver holds up to 500 GB while the cloud DVR records up to 60 hrs. A nice feature for folks on the go… download any show to your device to watch while you’re offline.
On Demand
90,000 overall titles, 60,000 mobile

DISH carries an average number of On Demand titles and as with most providers, you won’t be able to download any of those to your device. You also always need to have your DVR connected to the internet to access the On Demand library.
300,000 overall titles, 180,000 mobile

Xfinity boasts a significantly larger On Demand library and all can be downloaded for viewing offline. And as a nice perk, your DVR doesn’t need to be connected to the internet to look up or rent On Demand titles.
DISH neatly wraps all fees into their plan’s base price. So, the only thing extra you’ll pay for are additional Joey receivers (your 2nd, etc. Joeys are $7/month each).
With Xfinity, there are a handful of fees tacked on to your base plan, namely:
DVR rental: $19.95/mo
Extra receivers: $9.95/mo
HD fee: $10/mo
Broadcast fee: $10/mo

After a while, those fees can really add up, especially for households with a bunch of TVs.
Contract Term
DISH requires a 2-year contract with any plan but includes a price lock guarantee for the life of the contract (your bill will never increase).
Most of Xfinity’s plans don’t require a contract and are simply month-to-month. That’s the good. The trade-off is the slightly higher fees you’ll pay for the various features (see section above).
Cancellation penalty
If you cancel before the 24 months are up, you’ll have to pay a cancellation penalty of $20/mo (so, eg, if you have 5 months left in the contract, you’ll owe $100).
With Xfinity, if you’re in a monthly contract, cancellation fees don’t apply. If you prefer a yearly contract for TV or bundle with internet (which requires a 1 or 2 year contract), cancellation fees are $10/mo.
Autopay discount
There’s no discount for enrolling in Autopay with DISH, other than the convenience of hands-free billing and a guaranteed way to avoid late fees.
With Comcast Xfinity, enrolling in Autopay and Ecobill (paperless billing) qualifies you for a monthly discount of $10/mo. That puts a nice dent into the various monthly fees.
DISH provides plenty of value, an excellent DVR but their 2-year contract may be too restrictive for some.
Xfinity’s plans are a bit more expensive but give you plenty of flexibility with their month-to-month contracts.

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