DISH Network and Xfinity are two titans when it comes to providing pay television service in America today. With nearly 40 million subscribers between the two companies, there is a good chance that if you don’t already have Xfinity or DISH Network, you may at some point in the future. In this article, we will review a few of the pros and cons of each provider – and try to give you an idea on which company might fit the bill as your cable or satellite provider.
Xfinity vs DISH Network
The Xfinity TV name came into existence a little more than a year ago, as Comcast began to rebrand its service under the new name. Several rumors floated through the internet about the name change – the most interesting being that Comcast simply wanted a new name out there to get people to forget about their poor service record. Officially, Comcast stated that the Xfinity name was a reflection of choice. A play on the word “infinity,” Xfinity offers and infinite number of entertainment choices – at least that is the company line. In reality, the Xfinity upgrade has brought faster internet speeds and more channels to many cable TV markets, including South Florida and Seattle among others. So is Xfinity better than DISH Network?
While this network upgrade by Comcast has brought more choice to many customers, it comes at a high price. Deals on Xfinity service are great if you are a new customer, as you can oftentimes get a triple play package for around $99 a month. But once the regular pricing kicks in don’t be surprised if you are paying anywhere from $150 to $175 a month for the same triple play bundle of voice, high speed internet, and Xfinity TV service. By comparison, DISH Network remains one of the cheapest providers in America today, though you can only order video service with satellite TV.
So it is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison when you compare DISH Network to Xfinity. Smart shoppers need to evaluate the video portion alone if at all possible to figure out what you are paying for just that service with Xfinity. Or, you can take your DISH Network package and then add in what you pay for internet and voice service to your phone company and compare it to what Xfinity has to offer. Putting pricing aside for a moment, lets review what each provider has to offer when it comes to the actual channel selection as well as features like DVR and video on demand service.
DISH Network is a clear leader when it comes to high definition channels as well as the equipment they offer to deliver the content to your home. Right now, DISH Network offers 110 HD channels, if you subscribe to all of the premium movie channels. While they do get ahead of themselves from time to time when it comes to marketing (last year’s 200 HD channel claim) DISH Network tops DIRECTV currently, and competes well against Xfinity when it comes to high definition channel availability. If you are wondering about HD channels on Xfinity, here is what you can expect.
Many areas served by Comcast have been upgraded recently. As they upgraded to full digital service, more HD channels became available, and at the same time the Xfinity brand name was rolled out in these markets. This resulted in announcements like this one where 55 HD channels were all added at once, along with new Xfinity Spanish channels as well. While this is certainly good news for customers living in the Xfinity footprint area, it also shows how far behind Comcast was in some areas when it comes to high definition channel content. Overall, most areas now have right around 100 HD channels, along with 50 Spanish channels if that is of interest.
Cable and satellitehave been competing over the last few years when it comes to technology, and two areas to look at when comparing DISH vs Xfinity are the digital video recorders and video on demand services offered by each company. In each area, there is a clear winner with DISH Network offering superior DVRs and Xfinity dominating with their On-Demand content.
The DISH Network DVR has won awards from cnet and other rating services in the past few years. In 2008, the ViP722 HD DVR won the Editors Choice award from cnet where they recognized the device as one of the most fully featured and versatile HD DVRs on the market. The ViP722 is a larger version of the well-received ViP622, and can hold up to 55 hours of high definition content. DISH Network also now offers the ViP922 which is Sling-loaded, allowing you to watch your TV from any internet device worldwide provided you have a robust high speed connection. Even better, DISH Network prices DVR service at just $7 a month, with their DVR having dual tuner capability (one HDTV and one standard definition TV).
While DISH Network does just about everything right with their DVR, Xfinity is finally getting into the game when it comes to storage capacity. Past Comcast DVR models held just 20 hours of HD content, but newer Xfinity models can now record up to 60 hours of high definition programming. Some markets offering the Xfinity DVR also now provide AnyRoom service, allowing customers to watch recorded content in different rooms in the house as long as you have a digital cable box in each location. Unfortunately, you will pay a significant price for the Xfinity DVR, currently $15.95 a month for the high definition model or more than double what you will pay with a DISH Network model.
On the other hand, Xfinity dominates DISH Network when it comes to their On Demand library. If you have a premium package with the cable provider, you can access as many as 20,000 titles each month with new options rolled out weekly. This makes it easy to find something for the kids or catch up on a new series that you have just started watching. Xfinity can provide On demand content over the internet as well, simply login and watch right on your computer.
DISH Network has a very limited library of pay per view movies On demand. Because satellite TV services like DIRECTV and DISH do not have a physical network, their video on demand services pale in comparison to what cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast have to offer.
Finally, sports fans will want to look at both Xfinty and DISH Network closely before going with one or the other. Both companies have battled the National Football League in the past over carriage of the NFL Network, but you can now find that 24-hour a day football channel with either provider. Neither company though has the NFL Sunday Ticket package, which is exclusive to DIRECTV for at least the next three seasons. The big difference between the two comes into play of you are a baseball fan.
DISH Network is embroiled in an ongoing battle with Major League Baseball over carriage of both the MLB Channel and the MLB Extra Innings package. Basically, MLB wants more money than DISH is willing to pay, so unfortunately customers suffer in the carriage dispute. Xfinity does provide access to both products, though the Extra Innings package will run you around $200 per season on your bill.
So there are a few things for you to consider if you are comparison shopping DISH Network versus Xfinity. New customers generally get the best deals, so it may be worth it to you to switch providers to take advantage of what they have to offer.