There are many television providers on today’s market and making an educated selection is possible when you compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges. Researching different service types and companies doesn't need to be difficult. This is a comparison of the top two, most competitive pay television viewing options, Xfinity and AT&T.
A 2015 merger combined AT&T and DIRECTV®, and AT&T now holds the position of the world’s largest pay television provider. A large part of AT&T’s television services is now provided through DIRECTV® which utilizes satellite technology to deliver each of the season’s new shows, comprehensive coverage of sports and access to premium channels.
Xfinity is a cable television service through Comcast who also provides Internet and phone services in the USA. Xfinity is the second largest provider of pay television services, after AT&T. Xfinity offers a substantial variety of packaging options which deliver local and national channels, comprehensive sports and news coverage and premium programming from HBO®, SHOWTIME® and other premium channels.
AT&T and Xfinity both offer streaming and On Demand services. Streaming gives customers the opportunity to watch their favorite shows and movies virtually anywhere and on any device. On Demand programming provides the viewing opportunity of thousands of movies, documentaries and television shows. Both companies provide a huge selection of high-quality programming and services that bring television viewing out of the perimeters of the living room.
AT&T and Xfinity pricing are usually based on location. Both providers offer package deals and bundled services which offer reduced pricing when two or more services are bundled.
Television packages with AT&T through DIRECTV® begin at approximately $50.00 a month for the first 12 months when a two-year contract is signed. These inexpensive plans options supply viewers with more than 145 channels. Stand-alone television packages offering up to or more than 315 viewing channels are available with a similar 12-month structure and a two-year contract. DIRECTV, unlike cable television, doesn't widely advertise inexpensive, basic-channel only packages and the availability of specific local channels must be verified.
The AT&T and DIRECTV® merger has given the company somewhat of a bundling advantage which allows subscribers to combine TV with their wireless phone. For many, this wireless phone and pay-TV option make up for the inability to also bundle the internet together with AT&T/DIRECTV®.
In comparison, Xfinity offers several packages supplying more than 140 channels that start at $49.99 per month for one-year with a one-year agreement. That same television viewing package can be combined with an incredibly fast, 50 Mbps internet service for close to $89.99 each month for one year with a two-year term agreement. Smaller, stand-alone pay-TV Xfinity packages start at $29.95 per month for one year without a minimum term requirement.
Xfinity customers can upgrade their service by adding a premium channel to their package for approximately $10 a month. Xfinity offers a limited basic package option that includes the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX) and local channels for under $30 a month. Potential customers should contact Xfinity directly to obtain specific pricing of local packages in their area.
AT&T and Xfinity are both fairly reliable and equally provide consistent service with a strong television signal. The failure of equipment is a possible cause for a loss of cable or satellite TV service but with the continuous advancement of technology, equipment failure is less common. It’s best to recognize that neither service is impervious to occasional service outages.
DIRECTV® is produced via satellite and its ability to provide a strong television signal is dependent on receiving a clear view of the southern sky. Improvements in satellite technology have decreased the frequency of interruptions. Extreme weather can interrupt the satellite’s television signal. Pre-recorded programming may still be viewed via the DIRECTV Genie®.
Xfinity television is provided via cable technology and isn’t typically interrupted by weather conditions. Cable television service may, however, be susceptible to service interruptions that are the result of contract negotiations. In the case of a contract channel network service interruption, cable television viewers may be able to access their preferred television shows on alternate networks. Exclusive network content would not, however, be accessible on another network or channel.
Customer Service and Online Reviews
Online reviews do not completely provide an accurate picture, but some value can be gleaned from what other customers share about a provider’s service. The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is a valuable consumer resource, and they rate pay-TV satisfaction based on picture quality, the number of outages, website usability, call-center assistance and the easy readability of bills.
The ACSI has rated DIRECTV® number one on multiple occasions, and even when DIRECTV® wasn't rated number one they remained high on the list. This clearly shows that the company’s efforts to emphasize and achieve a positive customer experience are excellent.
Customer reviews consistently share satisfaction with the installation and set up of DIRECTV® equipment, the helpfulness of customer service reps, and the technical assistance. All online, DIRECTV® reviews are not stellar, yet the majority of customers appear to be pleased with the product, quality and service.
Xfinity, however, has struggled with providing consistently high customer service ratings. According to ACSI measurements, Xfinity has only scored 54 out of 100 points for customer satisfaction. This rating is six points lower than the previous year, but it certainly isn’t the worst score on the pay-TV chart.
After receiving low ACSI scores and numerous unhappy customer reviews, Xfinity moved customer satisfaction to the top of their priorities. The company has improved customer satisfaction by providing a Tech Tracker app that gives customers access to exact knowledge on where their technician is and when they will arrive on site.
Channels and Special Packages
In today's world of binge-watching and fan-following, television channel selection and packaging choices are very important. Most viewers want a pay-TV provider that can offer lots of channels for a fair price.
DIRECTV provides the largest selection of channels for those who want lots of programming options. Their smallest package is well-advertised and has over 145 channels, but true TV addicts may choose from much larger packages with double the channels to sooth their TV cravings. Xfinity isn’t pushed out of the packaging competition. They have many affordable packages to choose from, as well.
Sports TV Programming
DIRECTV® is recognized for their sports programming, and football fans especially enjoy the NFL SUNDAY TICKET. The 2016 football season is included with the CHOICE™ Package and above. This package includes every out-of-market game broadcast live each Sunday. Customers can also customize their DIRECTV sports subscription by adding other major sports channels, foreign language and international sports packages.
Xfinity provides a lot of channel lineups, beginning with a basic plan that offers only the major networks, local PBS and governmental programs. Higher priced plans include sports networks, national and international channels, premium channels, and many others. Xfinity’s largest lineup provides more than 180 viewing channels.
Sports fans may enjoy channels dedicated to the MLS, NHL, NFL, MLB, and NASCAR. Xfinity’s full slate of On Demand programs and events are exclusively offered to subscribers and devotees of boxing, the UFC and the WWE can watch the latest competitive fights and major championships with Xfinity Pay-Per-View.
Overall Comparison Between AT&T and Xfinity
Value is dependent on the customer’s desires pertaining to quality and reliability, along with channel selection and price. DIRECTV offers the most expansive television viewing packages; however, a 24-month contract is required for most of their plans which commonly makes it difficult to switch packages or to change providers.
Xfinity has contract-free options for those who desire to be contract free. Some package options are available on a monthly basis. Xfinity is a good option for customers who don’t desire an extra hundred channels to add to their viewing options, or for customers who are looking for a basic TV subscription that will fit into a tight budget. Xfinity also stands above AT&T in regard to free programming, On Demand TV selections and viewing flexibility.
The quality of the picture and HD channels are comparable between Xfinity and AT&T, but their customer service record is different. DIRECTV® has a far better customer satisfaction track record while Xfinity is working to steadily improve their record. AT&T offers more stand-alone television packages while Xfinity offers additional bundle packages for customers who desire to save money by bundling multiple services such as cable TV, the internet, home security and home phone service. AT&T holds the niche on bundling cell phone service and pay-TV service through DIRECTV®.
Finding the best television provider doesn't have to be challenging. Consumers can consider and identify the features they most desire and select from the benefits that they believe are most important to them. Once they have a handle on what they are looking to achieve in their television viewing experience, they can begin shopping for the best service provider based on the channels, service, pricing and bundling that they desire.
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