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DISH vs. Xfinity 2020 comparison

DISH Network and Xfinity are among the most available TV providers in the U.S. Chances are one or both services are available for your home. How do you choose between the two?

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Compare DISH Network vs. Xfinity TV service

Here’s our take on how DISH and Xfinity stack up against each other. Take a look at the main features of each service.

DISH offers satellite TV service and boasts an impressive DVR that can record up to 12 shows at once and store up to 500 hours of HD content.

  • Best for wide channel variety, especially international and sports channels
  • Best for two-year price lock
  • Best for tech-forward TV equipment

Xfinity is a cable TV service that offers bundle discounts and flexible contract options. Xfinity also offers a low-cost, basic TV package with little more than your local channels. DISH does not have a similar basic TV package.

  • Best for value-priced packages
  • Best for no-contract options 
  • Best for bundling home services

DISH vs. Xfinity TV pricing: Which is cheaper?

With the exception of Xfinity’s Basic TV package, which gives you 10+ channels, DISH and Xfinity packages are similarly priced and stacked with channels.

Both providers also give you lots of add-on options for more premium channels, sports and international networks. If you’re hoping to add HBO® or Cinemax® to your package, Xfinity will be your best choice as the two networks are currently unavailable with DISH.

Xfinity plan nameDISH plan nameStarting price*No. of channelsPopular channels
Basic$20.00/mo.10+Locals, CSPAN, INSP
Digital Economy$39.99/mo.100+The Weather Channel, TV Land, truTV
Digital Starter$49.99/mo.140+A&E, Comedy Central, Hallmark
Digital Preferred$59.99/mo.220+Boomerang, CMT, ESPNews, IFC
America’s Top 120$59.99/mo.190+USA, CMT, E!, ESPN
Extra$60.00/mo.125+Bravo, ESPN2, OWN
America’s Top 120 Plus$69.99/mo.190+AMC, FX, History, Fox Sports 1
America’s Top 200$79.99/mo.240+Animal Plant, Big Ten Network, Investigation Discovery
Preferred$80.00/mo.200+American Heroes, BET Her, Disney Junior, Nat Geo Wild
America’s Top 250$89.99/mo.290+beIn Sports, Smithsonian Channel, Sportsman Channel, STARZ
Digital Premier (bundle only)$134.99/mo.260+Cinemax, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ

Why does Xfinity have more TV package options than DISH?

DISH offers the same TV packages throughout their service areas. On the other hand, your location may determine which Xfinity packages are available.

Some addresses will be eligible for the Xfinity Basic, Extra and Preferred packages, while the Xfinity Digital packages are available in other locations. Also, some TV packages, such as the Basic and Digital Premier, may only be available when you bundle with Xfinity internet.

Check out our DISH channel guide and Xfinity channel guide for a full rundown of what channels come with each provider’s packages.

DISH vs. Xfinity fees: How do they compare?

You can expect added equipment and service fees from DISH and Xfinity, but DISH is a bit more straightforward with their pricing.

  • Both providers include one TV receiver at no extra cost.
  • Additional devices can range from $7 to $10/mo. for each provider.
  • DVR equipment and service from Xfinity can have an added fee for equipment (starting at $19.95/mo.*) and DVR service (another $9.95/mo*). 
  • DVR equipment and service from DISH can have added fees ranging from $10 to $15/mo.* depending on your equipment.
  • Xfinity may also charge a $10/mo.* fee for HD service. DISH includes HD service with all TV packages.

DISH vs. Xfinity quick comparison

No time right now for in-depth research? Here are the key differences between DISH and Xfinity TV service at a glance.

  • Available throughout all 50 states
  • Four basic TV packages
  • Price range starting at $59.99-$89.99/mo.*
  • Channel range 190-290+
  • Record up to 12 shows at once
  • Two-year contract required
  • Available in 39 states
  • Three to six basic TV packages depending on location
  • Price range starting at $20-$80/mo.*
  • Channel range 10-290+
  • Record up to six shows at once
  • One-year and no-contract options available

DISH vs. Xfinity availability

Satellite TV service is available virtually everywhere, an advantage DISH has over Xfinity. Xfinity is not lacking in availability, however, and is one of the largest cable providers, covering more than 35% of the U.S. population across 39 states, according to the FCC.

Primary service areas for Xfinity include the South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Midwest and Western U.S. It’s in these regions you’re most likely to find DISH and Xfinity services overlap.

DISH coverage map

Xfinity coverage map

Xfinity availability map


Xfinity is not as widely available in the central U.S. states including Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Oklahoma, which will be better served by DISH or another TV provider, such as DIRECTV, Spectrum or Mediacom. Click below to check availability in your area.

DISH vs. Xfinity equipment and accessories

Choosing one provider over the other will get you different TV equipment, features and accessories. Here are a few things that are exclusive to each provider to help decide which one you prefer. 

DISH special features and offers

  • Hopper 3 DVR – The best DVR device on the market, and only available with DISH. Record up to 12 shows at once, store up to two TB of content — equal to 500 hours of HD recording.
  • Access streaming services – Netflix and Pandora are accessible right from the Hopper 3 TV box.
  • Use the DISH Anywhere app –Stream from any mobile device with Wi-Fi access.
  • Premium channels included – Select DISH packages include Showtime, Starz and the DISH Movie Pack for three months at no extra charge.
  • 36,000+ On Demand titles – DISH packages come with thousands of free and rental On Demand titles.

Xfinity special features and offers

  • X1 DVR – The X1 DVR lets you record up to six shows at once and store up to 500 GB of content, which is equal to roughly 60 hours of HD recording.
  • Xfinity Stream – The X1 DVR also has built-in access to streaming services and voice remote compatibility, similar to the Hopper 3 from DISH.
  • Stream on-the-go – Access your shows and recordings on your mobile devices with the Xfinity Stream app.
  • HBO® and Cinemax® – These networks aren’t exclusive to Xfinity, but they aren’t currently available with DISH. If you want to add these premium networks to your package, you’ll be better off choosing Xfinity over DISH.
  • No-contract options – Xfinity does not require a contract with all TV offers. DISH requires a two-year agreement with all packages.

DISH vs. Xfinity TV and internet bundles

Interested in a bundle package that includes DISH or Xfinity TV? Xfinity offers TV, internet and home phone services, making bundling multiple services with the same provider simple and convenient.

DISH does not offer internet or home phone service, so you’ll have to add service from another provider if you choose to bundle. Available providers will vary by location, so DISH TV and internet bundles will vary in price, internet speeds and more, depending on your address.

DISH vs. Xfinity customer satisfaction

Each year, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) takes feedback from real customers regarding service quality, cost of service and more from top TV providers and gives them a score out of 100. Here’s how DISH and Xfinity TV service scored over the past three years.

Provider2020 score2019 score2018 scoreAvg. past three years
DISH65/10067/10067/10066.3
Xfinity63/10057/10057/10059
Lisa Iscrupe Lisa Iscrupe
Lisa Iscrupe

Staff Writer

@allconnect

@allconnect

Lisa uses years of experience in sales and customer service for internet-TV providers to inform her writing on broadband. Her work has been referenced by CNN and other national sources. … Read more


DISH vs. Xfinity FAQs

Is DISH better than cable?

DISH offers better availability and a higher-performing DVR device than cable companies such as Xfinity, Spectrum or Cox. However, new DISH service comes with a two-year contract and may not offer the TV and internet bundle savings you’d get from cable providers.

Can you get DISH and Xfinity?

You can get DISH television service and Xfinity internet service. Xfinity internet is compatible with Hopper 3 devices and will support On Demand streaming as well as services such as Netflix and Pandora that are accessible from the Hopper 3 DVR.

Is Xfinity cheaper than DISH?

Xfinity does offer a low-cost TV package in select areas that gives you 10+ channels including locals. DISH does not offer a similar package. Other Xfinity packages are comparable in pricing and channel counts to DISH packages.

Does DISH or Xfinity have more channels?

DISH packages range from 190 to 290+ channels, whereas Xfinity packages range from 10 to 260+ channels where available. Available channels from each provider are similar, but Xfinity may offer more premium channel options.

Does DISH have HBO?

No. Due to a licensing dispute in late 2018, HBO is not available on DISH or its affiliate steaming service, Sling TV. However, you can access HBO content through the HBO NOW app. 

Does DISH have cable and internet?

DISH does not provide internet, but rather partners with various internet service providers, such as CenturyLink, Frontier and HughesNet to make bundling convenient for their customers. You can choose to pair DISH with any internet service in your area, but you will be billed separately for the TV and internet services. 



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