Dish vs DirecTv vs Comcast

So I recently sent my Perfect TV Service list to Dish, DirecTv and Comcast for them to comment on. I told Comcast, they have to try and keep me, and Dish and DirecTv they have to try and win my business.

Here is how each of them responded to my list. I grade each out of 3.

3 points = got it covered.
2 points = kinda, or its coming.
1 point = they have it, but didn’t tell me about it.
0 points = no way jose

1. Multi room DVR.
Dish Network has their VIP 622, VIP722 series of DVR’s. It is not a true multiroom dvr, as it is not networked, but it does allow me to watch my recordings in 2 rooms. DirecTv is working on it, but cannot give me details. Comcast did not even comment on it.

Dish: 3, DirecTv 2: Comcast: 0

2. HD content.
All 3 providers provide some level of HD. DirecTv has the largest lineup followed by Dish, and then Comcast. However, Dish do not provide Fresno CA DMA local channels in HD, they do provide an alternate HD feed.

Dish: 2, DirecTv 3: Comcast: 3

3. Same channel number for HD and SD
Channel Mapping as it is called. Dish and DirecTv both provide this, as well as the ability to view only subscribed channels etc. Comcast forces you to remember 2 distinct numbers.

Dish: 3, DirecTv 3: Comcast: 0

4. True HD – and no twisting the figures
So this cannot really be measured unless I have all 3 services, so I did some research on the internet. No provider provides full HD, it is all transcoder somewhat. Both Dish and DirecTv seem to offer the best picture out of the 3, with comcast coming in slightly behind. Despite my best prodding no information about the down resing was forthcoming from the providers.

Dish: 2, DirecTv 2: Comcast: 1

5. My must have channels
As I mentioned Dish does not have my locals in HD. Dish does not offer MLB extra innings, but does carry Setanta. Comcast does not carry Setanta. The only carrier to provide MLB in HD is direcTv so once again DirecTv is the winner here.

Dish: 2, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 2

6. Low hardware lease costs – minimal startup costs
Comcast has the lowest startup costs – free. Dish does have a startup cost – the installation fee, which can be waived if you sign a 2 year contract. DirecTv has the largest start up cost (by far), with installation, equipment and other fees. For each provider I had the following startup costs for similar packages: Comcast: $0, Dish: $50, DirecTv $250.

Dish: 2, DirecTv: 0, Comcast: 3

7. OnDemand HD Content
Comcast’s OnDemand content is very strong. They have instant on HD content. DirecTv also has a lineup that is rather large, although you have to wait before the content has downloaded enough to your hard drive before starting to watch it. Dish has a very limited lineup, but does offer 1080p pay movies. But what about the free content?

Dish: 1, DirecTv: 2, Comcast: 3

8. Reliable Equipment and Service, and good support when needed
So I felt I had to split this up into 2. Firstly lets talk about hardware: The Dish network equipment is recognized throughout the industry as being exceptional. DirecTv suffered a horrible start to the life of its HD DVR equipment with a lot of bugs, although these seemed to have calmed down somewhat recently. In my opinion the Comcast equipment is exceptionally frustrating to use. It also has suffered a lot of bugs that are starting to get fixed after 2 years of frustration.
Dish: 3, DirecTv: 2, Comcast: 0

Now, I really did not know what to expect from the emails and calls I made to these providers. Firstly, DirecTv is excellent. Really, they were prompt in their responses (usually a couple of hours), always courteous and always well written gramatically correct english. Dish left a lot to be desired. Their emails took on average 24 hours to be responded to. The answer to direct questions was usually a canned sales pitch, which is very frustrating. When I asked them not to send me another pitch, they half answered my question, and then waited 24 hours for the second half of the question. Comcast’s customer service is poor. Despite numerous call outs I still have my cable internet drop out fairly frequently. I was waiting for a service credit 2 billing cycles, only to call and be told it was not happening as it was in a hold queue. Somebody had forgotten to enter a reason for the credit. Now the office of the president is dealing with me things have become a lot more courteous, and my contact is obviously more capable. But not everyone will get to deal with a senior customer service rep.

Customer Service:
Dish: 1, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 1

Dish: 2, DirecTv: 2.5, Comcast: 0.5

9. Remote Scheduling of my DVR
Comcast have been promising this for about a year on No show just now. DirecTv offer this for all their DVR’s as do Dish, although I have reports of the Dish Online Scheduling only working for some DVR’s (Specifically the VIP722).

Dish: 2, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 2

10. Multimedia Center

DirecTv allow you to connect your DVR to a Intel Viiv PC to view photos, music and more. A cool feature! If it could also stream movies, that would be great. Dish does not have network media sharing, but will allow you to plug in your digital camera to store the pictures on the hard drive. Comcast has no such feature.

Dish: 2, DirecTv: 3, Comcast: 0

And the winner is…

DirecTv is the winner with 23.5 points. Dish follows closely with 21 points, and Comcast sweeps up the rear with 14.5 points.

Let me know what you think about what I wrote. I now have decided to bump comcast for definite. The multiroom dvr thing is still making me lean towards Dish right now, as is the startup cost associated with directv, but on pure features DirecTv certainly has Dish beat. Besides, I want my locals in HD.


  1. Diatoid Said,

    August 30, 2008 @ 9:31 am

    That’s some good info. I’ve also been thinking of switching away from comcast for a while and it looks like you’ve just done all the research for me… thanks.

    The only thing keeping me with comcast at the moment is their internet service. However, now that they have capped the download that reason has just done away. Even if I never hit the limit, I feel I should abandon comcast just on principle.

    What are you conisidering going with for internet? (or if it’s not currently comcast, who do you go through?).


  2. Stuart Said,

    August 31, 2008 @ 8:13 pm

    Diatoid, please see this page about choosing a new internet provider.

  3. Rob Fahrni Said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 6:54 am

    We’ve been Dish subscribers for around eight years and love it. Before that we had Direct and they were fine but Dish seemed to have more for less and, at the time, offered local channels at no additional cost.

  4. Stuart Said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 7:12 am

    Dish network is definitely cheaper. If it was not for the no local HD channels, I would be ordering them today. But I have to say trying to get the information above from them was like pulling teeth. Not a good sign for a new customer…

  5. Shawn Said,

    September 25, 2008 @ 8:29 am

    Looks like Verizion FIOS has a cool new true Multi-Room Multimedia DVR. Unfortunately they aren’t in my area and I’m not sure about their HD content at this time. It would be nice if DirecTV came out with a DVR like this. All problems solved.


  6. Greg Said,

    January 17, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

    i’d go for directv. i got directv HD hooked up a few months ago and it’s great. the equipment cost is worth it. the only thing that bugs me is how big their slimline dish is, it’s ugly.

  7. Chad Said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 9:54 am

    Thanks for the rating, but you are missing 1 BIG factor that most consumers are looking to rate on. MONTHLY COSTS for Similar Packages ?

    Where the hell is that ???

  8. Joseph Said,

    October 2, 2009 @ 11:54 am

    One of my biggest issues is Internet. I haven’t found the right reviews on internet from the three. I have Comcast now and literally have to have hour long arguements about my bill before they get it right every month. Their customer service is by far worse than any other company I’ve ever called. I want to switch to Dish, but want internet reviews. I will not give DirecTV the money they want for equipment. Plus I read an article and the CEO of Comcast is the third most overpaid CEO in the world and I would love to take money out his pockets, at least until he gets the company to provide better service.

  9. Andrey Said,

    December 12, 2009 @ 11:48 am

    As for Internet I would go with Clear wireless if it is in your area…. super fast mobile internet with excllent customer service, as for comcast….. al they are is a midle man, with super high prices… they claim to be better than satelite, but they use satelite as well, they have hub stations that recieve thier signals via sattelite and then they wire them through cable to your house. as for 4g wireless they sell you CLEARS technology and use clears towers and charge you 3 times as much. Verison fios is overrated and expensive and thier customer service is horrible as well

  10. Bill Said,

    January 23, 2010 @ 4:04 pm

    I just switched from Dish to Comcast after being a customer of Dish for 5 years. I did this because Comcast offered me HD/DVR service and Broadband internet all for $69.99/month for 12 months. That would save me $40/month (for 1 year). To good of a deal to pass up…BUT, I am calling Comcast on Monday and telling them to remove the equipment…I am going back to Dish Network.

    Their Motorola HD/DVR cannot hold a candle to Dish’s VIP722. The Comcast DVR only records 20 hrs of HD, cannot be viewed from a second room, and has an interactive set up that is frustrating and not as user-friendly as Dish’s. Twice already the program menu on the Comcast DVR has lost its programing, meaning that the listed stations on the program guide say, “To be announced.” It takes about an hour or two for the program guide to reset itself. Because of this you cannot see what’s on TV but by going channel by channel. This never happened with Dish’s DVR. For people with Dish, trust me you’ll hate the switch, and for Comcast users…forgive yourselves because you know not what you are missing. Comcast is a nightmare!

  11. Ryo Said,

    January 26, 2010 @ 6:09 am

    Great info and allows people to get some insight on the three competitors. Perhaps, next we can do a review with full packaged deals? (e.g., Internet, Phone, and Cable)

  12. Linda Said,

    February 5, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

    I just spoke with “Ashley” at Comcast today regarding Setanta, she informed me that Setanta will be no more according to a memo she just received this morning and that Fox Soccer Plus will be a new station offered by Comcast. I have been calling Comcast weekly as I was told Setanta would be offered soon only to be told by her that Setanta will no longer exist, I find this hard to believe. I am going to drop Scumcast for the Dish or ATT Uverse (if available in my area), I am tired of waiting for Setanta to be offered on cable. I have missed many Manchester United games as FSC is just horrible!! Is this just another lie from Comcast, that FSC Plus is the new Setanta?

  13. Gina Said,

    April 14, 2010 @ 8:46 am

    I currently have Dish. I have a few major concerns. When you have a problem with their system, some of the customer service reps are idiots. On occasion you will get someone who knows the system and can help you with your problems. We have the HD DVR and everytime it rains, we cannot watch tv at all, outside of what we have pre-recorded. The constant interruption of shows is frustrating. The system reboots daily and is never an issue in the main room. But the Secondary room goes to a snowy screen and blares as it jolts you out of bed at 3 am. Our receiver (pre-HD) never did that. That happens quite frequently. Otherwise, it has a large record time available for HD and non-HD shows. I will be looking into DirecTV to see if its worth the switch. Thanks.

  14. Evan Wiggs Said,

    June 16, 2010 @ 5:01 pm

    I have comcast for TV, Internet and phone. The dish guy came by offering the threesome package for less the first year by a lot and even with the final bump up still less about 20 bucks or so per month. Internet is DSL and phone is Clear as I understand. I really haven’t had too much trouble with Comcast except high cost. I am not a big TV watcher and don’t really net ripping fast Internet. the Dish deal look very attractive right now. I will be in Nairobi for a couple of weeks and told the Dish guy I would talk with him when I get back. Has anyone else used the three services with Dish and compared it with Comcast?

    Thanks for what you have done so far too!!

  15. Terry Said,

    October 26, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

    Please note Dish does not provide Internet. They hired this out to Verizon and where I live I must be at the end of the pipe because my Internet is very slow.

    I had Verizon Internet and wanted to multipackage with Dish and they would not do it. Once they hook you no delas later on.

    I returned my Dish network to the UPS store and found 10 other boxes there. I guess dropping fox 32 and the Chicago Bears upset a few folks.

  16. James Said,

    August 3, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

    One thing to add

    International Channels Dish 3, Comcast 1, Direct 1

  17. kim Said,

    May 1, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    I currently have comcast and have been so damned irritated with the customer service and service in general. I pretty much have issues at least four times a month with some sort of service interruption. Almost 90% of the time the he channels pixelate and we cant watch them or like right now some channels are airing in Spanish while others have no sound. I hope this company goes under someday. I would love to take my money elsewhere. I refuse to be overcharged for crappy cable. Sounds like fios is the way to go for the whole package.

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