Verizon Fios TV offers an excellent value TV service. The customizable Your Fios plan is particularly attractive, but all tiers offer a lot of TV for the money. Add in outstanding internet, and it’s hard to go wrong with Verizon.
Xfinity TV offers a lot of features and strong channel prices, as well as powerful internet to bundle up with. High fees hamper the experience, but Xfinity remains one of the cheapest cable TV options on the market—and it’s also one of the most widely available.
Great prices meet high channel counts and easy ways to pay for just what you want to watch with Verizon Fios TV. If you live in a coverage area, you’ll benefit from some of the best pay TV on the market.
Verizon has you covered when it comes to channels, with all the standard options in both English and Spanish. The exact selection and channel number varies based on where you live, but there’s a good chance you can get broadcast favorites in HD quality. You also get a variety of local public access stations and less-common but still-popular options like Comet, Bounce TV, Antenna TV, and StartTV. (1)
Verizon TV’s premium package has a lot to offer for anyone who loves sports. In addition to your local channels, you can watch pro golf, baseball, football, and basketball, plus a variety of college games. The only downside is no Showtime (unless you buy an add-on).
Family and education: 4/5
When it comes to content for kids and families with Verizon Fios TV, there’s a lot to love. With The Most Fios TV package, you get Nick Toons, Disney XD, Disney Junior, and Boomerang plus Discovery, Nat Geo Wild, Science, Game Show Network, and much more. However, you’ll miss out on Family Entertainment TV (FETV), Me TV, UP, and Cartoon Network.
News and politics: 5/5
Whether you want political talk, international news and analysis, business news, or even sports and local news, Verizon Fios is a great option. It offers every single one of the top 100 channels in the US that offers news, including CNN, Fox News, Newsmax, CNBC, C-SPAN, and even the Weather Channel and Accuweather.
Entertainment and lifestyle: 4.5/5
You can watch all kinds of movies, reality TV favorites, and true crime documentaries with Verizon Fios TV’s premier package. To get HBO and Showtime, though, you’ll have to pay add-on prices. Unfortunately, you can’t get Grit, Ion Mystery, USA Network, Cartoon Network, or Laff with Verizon.
Xfinity is one of the country’s biggest cable TV providers, and it offers a wide range of basic and premium channels. If you pay for the highest tier of service, you’ll have access to an excellent selection of shows and games. Even at lower tiers, you’ll still get a respectable selection of channels, but you’ll miss out on a few faves. We based our scores primarily on English and Spanish options, but Xfinity has some great international options you might want to check out as well.
Local channels are some of the oldest and most popular networks out there, featuring local and national news, national sports, and syndicated favorites. With Xfinity TV, you get access to almost all the top local channels. You’ll miss out on Comet, but most users won’t be too sad about missing its infomercials and reruns. You also get CBS All Access, the streaming service from CBS, but whether you can watch your local CBS affiliate depends on where you live.
Xfinity is one of the best TV providers out there for sports. It offers channels for everything from pro basketball and football to golf. You can get ESPN, TNT, Fox Sports 1 (FS1), and more. Whether you can access regional sports networks depends on where you live, so check the channel guide in your area if there are specific games or teams you can’t miss. There’s no way to see all out-of-market games like you can with NFL Sunday Ticket from YouTube TV, but there’s still enough games for almost any appetite.
Family and education: 4/5
Xfinity offers a lot for families to love, including a huge selection of educational channels and shows for kids, with everything from travel and history shows to Disney and Disney Jr., Nickelodeon, and Animal Planet. You’ll miss out on Heroes and Icons and may not have access to CBS, which brings the score down a bit, but it’s still a solid choice.
News and politics: 4.5/5
If you live for breaking updates and political commentary, Xfinity has you covered. You get access to all the biggest national networks on both sides of the aisle, including Fox News, Newsmax, and MSNBC. You even get BBC America, VICE, and almost all your local channels. You’ll miss out on the Weather Channel and the Castilian Spanish station Estrella, but Xfinity is still one of the best options out there for news junkies.
Lifestyle and entertainment: 3.5/5
If there’s one area where Xfinity’s lacking, it would have to be movies and entertainment. Don’t get us wrong—you’ll still get Hallmark, Lifetime, Comedy Central, HGTV, and more, but you’ll have to pay add-on prices for HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and MGM+ (formerly Epix).
Verizon isn't the cheapest option for traditional TV—you can get TV service for less elsewhere. It’s also not the best in terms of channels per dollar—although it holds its own. However, the ability to personalize the Your Fios plan means you can get more of the channels you actually want without having to pony up for a more expensive plan. It's a fantastic feature, and relatively uncommon in the cable TV space.
Of course, if you do want all the channels, you can get that, too: the top-tier Most Fios plan comes with well over 400, which is one of the highest channel counts in the business.
If you look at package rates alone, Xfinity is one of the cheapest TV providers out there—prices are low, and while the channel count isn’t the highest, it’s got all the most popular channels (1) covered. However, a slew of additional fees causes the monthly price to be quite a bit higher than advertised (it wouldn’t be a stretch to see $60 or more in fees on your TV bill, in addition to the package price). Ultimately, while the service itself is a solid value, it’s going to end up costing you.
The day-to-day experience with Verizon Fios TV is better than with most cable TV competitors, but the company puts less focus on its DVR setup than its competitors in the satellite TV arena.
Ability to watch: Great
Verizon TV comes with your fist set-top box included, and it’s not bad. The signal is delivered over very fast internet, so picture quality is good and reliable. Almost all channels are available in HD. The service also offers a free mobile app for paying customers, so you only really need the one box. If you want more, however, you can lease them for $12 each per month.
Ability to record: Good
Verizon Fios TV comes with all the features you’d expect from a fiber company. On higher packages, it offers multi-room DVR with 100 hours of storage at the base price, and you can record 6 shows at once. For an additional $10 per month, you can double the storage and record up to 12 shows at once. You can record via the remote, the smartphone app, or using a streaming device you already own (like an Apple TV or Fios TV). If you opt for the lowest tier, you’ll have to pay $12 per month for DVR capability and will be limited to just 50 hours of recording space. However, you could also just skip DVR altogether and won’t incur charges.
Ability to find: Excellent
Verizon offers voice remote functionality, easy ways to get to your favorites, and simple parental controls. It also has a mobile app that enables on-the-go streaming of your favorite channels—and it is surprisingly well-rated. (2, 3)
Xfinity brings a lot to the table for its viewers, from a very nice DVR system to decent picture quality and a nice on-demand experience. We like its remote options, but are a little less excited about its fees and DVR costs.
Ability to watch: Great
You can watch Xfinity on a standard TV in your living room, and it’s a nice experience. The picture quality isn’t quite as good as satellite and the fees are a bummer, but the viewing experience is perfectly acceptable for most families.
Xfinity also offers the highly rated Xfinity Stream app, which gives you access to your entire channel lineup—plus on-demand content and your DVR recordings—on any device. Xfinity Stream works on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, and it’s a great way to stay up-to-date with your favorite shows while you’re traveling (or just waiting in line).
Ability to record: Good
Xfinity offers the X1 DVR system, which is one of the best all-around DVRs on the market. It’s easy to use and offers a substantial amount of storage—up to 300 hours of HD video. You’ll have to pay $9 a month for the first box and each subsequent box, and you’ll have to pay extra if you want to record any more than 20 hours of shows.
Ability to find: Great
The standard X1 system from Xfinity comes with a sleek charcoal-colored voice remote with small buttons, and it works really well to help you find the shows and channels you crave. The company also offers a large remote with optional wrist-strap for customers who need the extra accessibility.
The Verizon Fios TV professional installation fee is $99, and there’s no self-install option. However, online ordering and promotions often waive this fee, so you can save some money on your first TV bill. Apart from that, the other major setup costs are the router and the DVR. You'll need the $18-per-month router if you don't already have Verizon Fios internet, and the company recommends against using your own equipment.
Once installation is handled, most customers are happy with the service. Some wish they could pay less, but complaints about the mobile app and channel lineup are relatively rare.
Xfinity offers both professional and self-installation options. Having a pro come by costs less than $90, which is cheaper than many other providers. The self-install kit is free of charge, though you may pay for shipping and handling. We generally recommend self-installation whenever possible, both because it’s cheaper and because you can do it on your own time.
When it comes to billing, Xfinity has improved in recent years, and we hope the trend continues. It’s great that you can see the regional and broadcast fees right in your online cart, for example, but we wish Xfinity would just roll the fees into its regular pricing. Unfortunately, we’ve also experienced billing errors and had to call the company multiple times to get them resolved. The overall TV service is pretty great, but we recommend keeping an eye on monthly charges, especially if you pay automatically.