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Xfinity vs AT&T U-verse – An Overview

Comcast and AT&T are two Fortune 100 companies doing battle in several major market across America.  Comcast offers their Xfinity TV product via cable, and AT&T offers U-verse through a newer fiber technology.  If you have both of these options in your area, here are a few things to consider before signing up.

Xfinity vs U-verse

Both of these companies offer you a full slate of communication services – video, voice, and high speed internet.  AT&T also can bundle in wireless service, resulting in a quadruple play pacakge.  Xfinity has partnered with Verizon Wireless, so you can also sign up for a similar bundle.  With customers spending $200 or more for these quad play packages, several incentives are offered if you are signing up for the first time with either company in the form of Visa prepaid cards that can be used almost anywhere.

So what factors should you consider when shopping for U-verse or Xfinity TV service?  Price, contractual terms, and incentives are three of the primary factors that should go into your decision.  Price of course is at the top of everyone’s list, as nobody want to pay more then they have to for a commodity like cable or satellite television service.  Contracts have become common in recent years, as companies like AT&T can offer you a better overall deal if they know you will be paying them for a year or two.  On the other hand, consumers should be smart about committing so as to not incur an early termination fee.   Finally, incentives can look good when offered, but these are usually tied in to some sort of contract.

Reviewing Pricing with Xfinity and U-verse

Any number of double and triple play packages can be purchased from either provider – so in this article we will pick a mid-tier triple play bundle from each provider and review the costs.   With AT&T U-verse, the U-200/Elite Internet (6 Mbps)/Unlimited calling triple play package will run $156 a month if you want to avoid signing a contract.  This deal does offer $200 in Visa rewards if ordered online and service is kept for 30 days.

A similar Xfinity Triple play package would be the HD Preferred Plus XF deal.  Offered at $139.99  for twelve months,  you get a similar number of channels when compared to the U200 package with U-verse.  The Xfinity Blast! internet speed is much faster though, as 20 Mbps is included, as well as an unlimited calling plan for your home.   This package goes to $159.99 in year two and then to $179.99-$184.99 thereafter, depending on your service area.  No cash back is offered with this deal, though you can get six months of free DVR service, worth around $100.

So if we compare these two deals from U-verse and Xfinity, the customer comes out about even.  AT&T offers a huge incentive up front with the cash back card, while pricing and internet speeds go to Xfinity during year number one.  But if you are comfortable signing a contract, you can get better deals with both AT&T and Comcast/Xfinity.

Contracts with Comcast and AT&T

If you want to save more money on your U-verse package, you will have to commit for one year.  This is a nice alternative to the traditional two-year agreements that were originally rolled out by satellite television companies, and that have recently been adopted by many cable companies.  AT&T offers discounts of $21 on U-verse TV for two years, and $10 off of the internet product for the same term.  As mentioned, you only have to agree to keep service for twelve months, but if you stay with the company you will continue to enjoy savings for the second year.

With Xfinity, you will have to agree to keep service for two years to get any additional discount and incentives which we will discuss next.

Incentives Offered by AT&T and Comcast

Both providers are battling hard for customers, which is why you are probably bombarded with advertisements in your mail, on TV, and online.  Because a new customer can equal thousands of dollars in revenue if they remain loyal, AT&T and Comcast are willing to offer monetary incentives to attract new customers.  As mentioned earlier, AT&T offers a $200 rewards card to a new subscriber, with the only requirement being that they keep service for 30 days.  While no additional discounts are offered on the monthly rate, this still is a great deal for someone setting up a triple play package.

With Xfinity, similar Visa reward card deals are available, offering anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on the package selected.  Obviously the more expensive, fully-loaded packages are going to net you a higher rewards card.

With both companies, be sure to read and understand the fine print – including any forms that may have to be filled out for redemption.  Usually there is a waiting period of a month or two before your card comes in the mail.  Also be sure to place your order online if possible, as greater rewards are often tied into placing an online order.

Additional Considerations

While price, contract, and cash back incentives may be at the top of your list when evaluating these providers – there are a few other things to think about.  Here are a few additional things to review.


High Definition – There has been a bit of an “evening” among the major cable and satellite players over the last two or three years.  While DIRECTVinitally had a huge lead in the number of HD channels, U-verse has surpassed the nations largest satellite television company when it comes to HD channel content with 145 networks.  Xfinity still lags behind a bit, offering 95 national HD channels.  If you want the most HD, then consider U-verse over Xfinity TV.  Both companies have $10 HD fees on most packages, with high definition included on top tier bundles.Video On Demand – In this area, the edge goes to Xfinity.  With thousands of titles available both on TV and online, Xfinity has been the leader in offering video on demand for some time.  Full seasons of several programs are now available with their new Xfinity Streampix service, which is available at no charge with top tier packages, or for $4.99 on non-qualifying packages.   AT&T does offer a limited library of On Demand titles, but most are built around their pay per view offerings which charge extra each month.DVR service – Both Xfinity and U-verse have whole home DVR models now, allowing the subscriber to access recorded content on other TVs in the house.   The main thing to consider here is cost.  AT&T includes their DVR in their packages, though you will pay an extra $7 for each additional receiver.  Xfinity has one of the highest DVR feesin the market right now, charging a whopping $17 for their HD DVR model.  Big advantage to U-verse in this area on the cost savings alone.Sports and Movie packages – Both companies offer a full slate of movie and sports programming.  Price won’t vary much – if at all, as the prices are set mainly by the providers like HBO and Showtime.  Out of market sports packages like NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings, and the new NFL RedZone Channel are options as well.A final obstacle may be the availability of each product.  Comcast is fairly entrenched in the major markets that is serves, while AT&T is a newcomer to the cable game.  U-verse deployment is scheduled to continue over the next three years, reaching more than 34 million homes and businesses by 2015.  Unfortunately for some living in areas served by AT&T, you may have to wait a bit longer for U-verse to come into your neighborhood.

24 Comments

  1. Thanks for the bottom line on services. Looks like HD DVR fees and more HD choices make Uverse look better. How is the picture quality? Can I still stream videos wirelessly to laptops and watch TV – ie. any bandwidth issues?

    Thanks.

  2. I was with ATT for 2 years and went back to Xfinity to save $$$. Bad idea. Just a couple of things to add….

    #1 – Xfinity dvr can only record 2 shows at one time. If you’re the only one in the house, not a big deal. Otherwise, it really stinks to have to choose between recording the programs you’ve requested or delete 1 of the 2 to be able to watch another channel during recording. Didn’t have this issue with ATT. Totally stinks!

    #2 – I have the mid class internet speed with Xfinity now. I’ve been surprised in the last 2 months of having Xfinity. We were Xfinity customers a few years back and remembered their internet speed to be amazing! Now, I wish we had ATT, like, now. Very disappointed. The speed is lacking. We have the same level now as we did then. I’m not sure what changed but my girls can’t even play on Nick Jr. without buffering through each little show they want to watch.

    #3 – Xfinity – the charges for the HD DVR are ridiculous. Not with ATT. Flat rate of $7 per month each. Still cheaper with 2 than with one through Xfinity.

    #4 – Customer Service, Customer Service, Customer Service. In 2 months, I’ve had 3 interactions with Xfinity’s CS dept. This is where I know that I made a mistake moving from ATT. ATT customer service (not tech service) does hold bank hours versus Xfinity 24/7, however, with the lack of service received from Xfinity with their extended CS hours, I would have preferred to have the bank hours with GREAT customer service through ATT. Xfinity’s CS reps don’t seem to be able to do much. This has been the most disappointing of experiences that have contributed to our move back to ATT.

    That’s it, in a nutshell as an ATT convert (directv to comcast to att back to comcast), we are now going back to ATT on Jan. 26th, 2013 – If a pinch of $$ (and I mean, pinch – like $8 bucks/month) matters more than anything to you, stay with Xfinity. If the other things above would make a difference, go with ATT. Save yourself the frustration.

    • I am getting UVerse on Friday, but am a little worried about it. Do they offer free on demand movies for HBO, Stars and Encore like Comcast does?

  3. LOL! At&t employees are so funny. I switched back to comcast and have to say, at&t internet sucked. I have 30mbps with comcast and it checks out. at&t charged me for 18mbps and it speed tested at about 7. Also, when I went back to comcast it saved me about $60/mo, and they gave me a 2 year deal. Uverse had just sent me notice they were raising prices in january… I’m not even counting that in the $60 savings. You want to know the truth people, the only way to save money is to shop around every couple years. You want to look into uverse? know it’s limitations first. You can only record 2 things in hd, hell, you can only watch 2 things in hd, the other tv’s will only give you the option to watch what someone else is watching at that point. Uverse is all node based, meaning it may work great for someone 2 blocks away, but your service may suck. (Ask the tech that comes to install it) Now for the internet. Imagine your kid goes and downloads some online game and for the 3 hours it downloads you cant get tv because that slow download ate all the bandwidth. Well, I didn’t have to imagine it. I’ve yet to find a company that’s perfect, but uverse seemed to be about the farthest away. I’ts hard to justify a line tv provider being out more than a satellite was.

    • That is a lie Shawn. Verizon fios and uverse Internet are the fastest in the country. AT&T fiber optic over Comcast broadband any day. I have my own dedicated connection, but with xfinity broadband, i hav to share loops with my neighborhood. It fluctuates like crazy. Remember the broadband that comtrash providing belongs to AT&T. Why would they give away their fastest Internet to their competition. Therefore I’m glad I transferred to uverse. It’s being two and a half great years with the service. I’m glad I listened to my neighbors. Comcast only focusing on price than great services.

      • I have at&t right now & the ONLY way you will get a deal as an existing customer is if you spend over an hour on the phone with them and/or threaten to leave. They have NO customer loyalty & the prices for existing customers are stale. Shawn is absolutely correct in regards to shopping around. Only NEW customers get the best deal. Uverse is fast, but at $56 for 18 Mbps + $40 for home phone service (including non-published) that is just not worth the deal. I am half way in to switching to Comcast to go with the a total of $51 a month for phone + 25 Mbps internet. AT&T does NOT care about loyal customers. I have been a customer since they were Southwestern Bell! They used to care & give good deals, but not anymore.

    • I have uverse and the internet is very fast – much faster than Comcast. However, our TV service is less than desirable. In addition to occasional freezing (which seems to always happen at inopportune moment like at the end of a game where the score is tied), AT&T charges $6.00 per HD movie if you want to see a popular movie. On the other hand, Comcast is not very helpful when a problem with their service arises making you climb around on the floor unhooking and re-hooking cables.
      Both services are ridiculously expensive and both always seem to raise their already high rates even higher after the first year of service. They must be in cahoots on pricing because they offer about the same service for the approximate amount the first year. After that expect to pay very high rates.

  4. I am thinking of switching from UVerse to Xfinity. I am paying $200+ per month and I have no movie channels at all, 2 phone lines and 2 HD DVR’s. I can go to Xfinity and pick up all of the movie channels I lost and have faster internet.

  5. My wife and I am very pleased…… we swiched from XFINITY to UVERSE. XFINITY COMCAST has awful customer service and UVERSE has excellent customer service, I personally do not fall for the claims that UVERSE internet speeds are inferior, I notice no appreciable difference in speeds since switching. I will never be a XFINITY COMCAST customer again. Recently, a thunderstorm took down the wire from the pole to the house for UVERSE and they came out the very next day to fix it, at no charge, since it is a new installation. In addition, our UVERSE remote control was giving us some trouble, and again, a new one has been sent to us via USPS priority mail, again at no charge. Try calling COMCAST and all you get are voice computer prompts and eventually no one who can really help, or worse yet, the call you make gets dis-connected and you have to start all over. Or, they switch you to talk to someone else, and they keep on asking for your account information, and they rarely know what they are talking about, or they provide conflicting info on what they are talking about. COMCAST is really this bad

    • Thanks for the info about Comcast, but you will find that your new customer Uverse price is just that…for new customers! I want to stay with them, but they are TERRIBLE when it comes to deals for existing customers. I guess most companies are, but I have been with the company in general since at least mid 90s as customer off & on…mostly on.

  6. Having spent more time than I would like on the phone with a Comcast “Customer Service” rep today, I can tell you I have decided to cancel Comcast forever. Having no cable would be an improvement.

    The person I spoke to today knew nothing about customer service, had no suggestions for a final resolution (“We’ll have someone bring out a replacement box” would have been the perfect answer) and made it sound as if it was MY fault she couldn’t solve the problem.

    My husband and I ended up deciding just to cancel cable altogether, go with an HD antennae and stream everything else from the internet.

    If you can must have cable and can find an alternative to Comcast, DO IT. I’m sure what you don’t get in hassle and frustration will be well worth the money you spend.

  7. Had Uverse and comcast ,, and i will tell you Uverse is good but the internet is not so good kept going out and then my cable start going out ,,love the pic quality but we have alot of tree and couldnt keep a good signal but when it ran it was great my sister has never had a problem with them and i love it when im at her house .. tried to get direct tv same thing no good signel now im back with comcast i think they are getting a little better they have the new x1 box thats so good , even though i dont have one i seen it i have two Hd dvr boxs and there internet service is wonderful … i guess the both suck in there on way

  8. Had Uverse and switched to Xfinity. Was quoted a price of $180 for triple bundle. Never saw that, the price has been averaging around $200 plus, without movie rental.
    Called Uverse and got their U450, 18mbps internet and voice 200 for $173 a month. Our experience with Comcast was totally frustrating from day 1. We were charged for tech coming out within first 30 days to clear up problems, which never got fixed. Called Customer Service to get credit for those charges. Got no help whatsoever, CS philosophy, too bad.
    Recordings never completely played, always stopping 5 minutes before the end. Talk about frustrating, never getting to see the end. Rentals always have green lines running through the picture, only rentals. Freezing constantly. Now you know why after 3 months I’m going back to Uverse

  9. While both services have poor customer service, it’s painful to admit that Xfinity is better than AT&T. I have the worst experiences with Uverse. For example, it takes forever to get anyone on the phone. Their phone automated system is so bad I end up screaming at their poor reps! As a second example, I can’t DVR a show I’m watching, Tyrant, it’s on OnDemand but when I got to watch it, all the episodes aren’t there. It shows only season 2 and only episodes 8, 9 and 12! WTH? I’m supposed to miss prior episodes, and then skip from 9 to 12 and then not know what’s happened in 12 and when I finally get to see 10 and 11 at a friends house who has Xfiinity, I’ve ruined those episodes by watching 12 already?

  10. Good info. I have been with At&t since 08. Customer service has been great for the minimal amount of issues, new dvr, remote, etc. Cost has continued to climb and thinking about switching. Hoping they can come down some more from the quote the Customer Retention agent gave me when i tell them their competitor can do better.

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