DirecTV vs. Verizon Fios: Which TV Service Is Better?

DirecTV vs. Verizon Fios

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Are you thinking about switching TV providers, but you can’t decide whether to choose DirecTV or Verizon Fios?

Unless you’re willing to spend hours researching and talking on the phone with DirecTV and Fios reps, it’s difficult to understand how their TV services compare.

Good news—you don’t have to waste your time because I’ve done that research for you.

In this comparison of DirecTV vs. Verizon Fios, you’ll learn exactly how they stack up in terms of availability, pricing, channel lineups, special features, customer satisfaction, and so much more.

By the end, you’ll have all the information necessary to decide whether DirecTV or Verizon Fios is the best TV service for your home.

Note: DirecTV and Fios are constantly changing services and prices, so we update this article frequently. The latest update was in December 2019. To check out the current promotions and special pricing, go to Verizon.com and DirecTV.com, or talk to a DirecTV agent at 844-870-2676.

Let’s get started!

(Use the links below to navigate)

DirecTV vs. Fios: Quick Summary

In this comparison of DirecTV vs. Verizon Fios, I cover their differences and similarities in-depth.

If you’re seriously considering signing up with either provider, I highly recommend that you take a few minutes and read the entire article.

However, if you only have a minute, here’s the key information you need to know.

Availability: DirecTV is delivered via satellite; therefore, it’s available to almost all U.S. households. Fios is only available in 8 states (NJ, NY, MD, DE, MA, PA, RI, VA) and Washington D.C.

Pricing: The cost of Fios and DirecTV falls into three buckets: TV services, equipment fees, and other fees. Fios is less expensive per channel than DirecTV, but they charge more per month for TV boxes and DVR. The difference between DirecTV and Fios in terms of other fees is minimal.

Channel Lineups: Fios offers several TV packages, but Custom TV is its most popular package. With the Custom TV package, you only pay for the type of channels you watch the most. DirecTV is ideal for avid football fans since it’s the only provider that offers a live broadcast of every NFL game via its NFL Sunday Ticket program (select packages only).

On-Demand: Fios offers significantly more on-demand titles than DirecTV (~225K vs. ~50K).

DVR: Fios offers two DVR options. Fios Single-Room DVR records up to two shows at once and can store up to 50 hours of HD programming. Fios Multi-Room DVR, which costs extra, records up to six shows at once and can store 100 hours of HD programming. DirecTV only has one DVR option, Genie HD DVR, which can record up to five shows simultaneously, and it can store up to 200 hours of HD programming. 

Special Features: Fios and DirecTV both come with on-the-go streaming via their apps, the ability to control your TV with Alexa, and 4K capability. Fios also comes with a voice-activated remote, wifi-connected TV boxes, and direct access to Netflix through the channel guide.

Connectivity: Fios is known for its reliable TV service delivered via fiber-optic cables. Significant snow accumulation or heavy rain on the DirecTV satellite can temporarily disrupt service.

Customer Service: Fios and DirecTV both provide forums, live webchat, help articles, and, of course, live customer service reps to answer your questions and troubleshoot issues quickly.

Customer Satisfaction: Fios consistently ranks higher than DirecTV in independent customer satisfaction studies. In the latest ACSI study, Fios ranked #2, and DirecTV ranked #4. In the most recent J.D. Power study, Fios ranked #2, and DirecTV ranked #3.

Internet: With both providers, you can save money by bundling TV and internet together. Fios is well-known for having the fastest internet speed on the market since it’s delivered via modern fiber-optic infrastructure. AT&T internet (AT&T owns DirecTV) is fast, but it is delivered via the traditional cable infrastructure so it’s upload and download speeds are no match for Fios.  

Installation Process: With both providers, installation takes between 2 and 6 hours. With DirecTV, the technician needs access to your roof or balcony to install the satellite dish.

Final Verdict:  If you’re looking for a new TV provider, I highly recommend Fios over DirecTV because of its reliable service, Custom TV package, and special features like the voice-activated remote. Additionally, customer satisfaction studies, which consider the entire customer experience, consistently rank Fios ahead of DirecTV. Lastly, Fios offers exclusive deals if you purchase their service online; you can check out the current deals on Verizon.com.

Side-by-Side Comparison Chart

 DirecTVVerizon Fios TV
Availability50 statesNJ, NY, MD, DE, MA, PA, RI, VA, and Washington D.C.
Price of TV Only$59.99 - $134.99/month$54.99 - $89.99/month
Price of EquipmentPrimary receiver is free, $7/month for each additional $12/month for each receiver
Price of DVRIncluded in TV package$12 - $20/month
Channels155 to 330+155 to 425+
On Demand~50,000 titles~225,000 titles
DVR200 hours of storage100 hours of storage
Voice Activiated RemoteNoYes
Control TV with Amazon AlexaYesYes
Mobile Streaming (live and on-demand)YesYes
Manage DVR With Mobile AppYesYes
ConnectivitySatellite, signal loss during severe weather Fiber-optic cables, minimal distruption
ACSI Customer Satisfaction Ranking (TV)#4 (2019)#2 (2019)
J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Ranking (TV)#3 in the East Region (2019)#2 in the East Region (2019)
Internet Bundles AvailableYes - internet speeds up to 100MbpsYes - internet speeds up to 940Mbps
Installation Process4 to 6 hours2 to 4 hours
Latest DealsCheck out the latest DirecTV deals on DirecTV.comCheck out the latest Fios TV deals on Verizon.com

Availability

Before we dive into the details, let’s talk about where DirecTV and Fios are available.

Since DirecTV is delivered via satellite, it’s available in all 50 states.

However, to get service, the satellite needs to have a clear view of the southern sky. So, if you have trees or overhang obstructing that view, DirecTV service will not be available.

Another consideration is your type of home. If you own a single-family home, you’ll have no problem getting DirecTV.

But, if you rent an apartment or live in a condo, your landlord or condo association may prohibit the installation of a satellite on the property.

Before you set up an installation appointment, check with your landlord and review your lease or condo association contract to confirm that mounting a TV satellite is okay.

If your landlord or condo association is adamantly against mounting a satellite to the roof or siding of the property, you can request a stand or tripod. Again, as long as it has a clear view of the southern sky, you’ll be able to get service.

If you’re concerned about availability, give DirecTV a call at 844-870-2676, and they’ll be able to explain all your options.

One of the most significant downsides of Verizon Fios TV is that it’s available in only 8 states, plus Washington D.C.

As of 2019, Verizon Fios is available in the following states and regions:

New Jersey: Bayonne, Hoboken, Irvington, Jersey City, Toms River, Camden, Cherry Hill, Marlton, Medford, Trenton.

New York: Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Dutchess, Orange, Putman, Rockland, Ulster, Westchester, Upstate New York, Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse.

Maryland: Owings Mills, Cockeysville, Parkville, Middle River, Towson, Essex, Rosedale, Pikesville, Timonium, Salisbury.

Delaware: Claymont, Dover, Lewes, Millsboro, Newark, New Castle, Smyrna, Wilmington.

Massachusetts: City of Boston, Metro West, North West, North Shore, South Shore.

Pennsylvania: Allentown, Coraopolis, Harrisburg, Lansdale, Mechanicsburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Upper Darby.

Rhode Island: Blackstone Valley, East Greenwich, Lincoln, Pawtucket, Providence, South County, Warwick, Westerly, West Bay.

Virginia: Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Richmond, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk.

Washington D.C.

Fios’ availability is so limited because it’s delivered via a new fiber-optic infrastructure rather than satellite (like DirecTV) or traditional cable (like Comcast Xfinity).

This new infrastructure requires fiber optic cables to be connected directly to your home. These cables are specially designed for two-way transmission of digital data at lightning-fast speeds.

Expanding this infrastructure takes an enormous financial investment (and involves negotiating with local governments), so don’t expect Fios to be available nationwide any time soon.

Pricing

Let’s get right down to business.

Which TV service costs more, Fios or DirecTV?

The short answer is it depends.

The total cost of Fios and DirecTV depends on the channel packages and the number of TVs in your house.

Let me break it down for you.

There are all sorts of fees to consider, but first, let’s start with the most significant cost, the TV service.

Note: Prices and fees are subject to change at any time. To stay on top of all the changes, we update this article frequently. The last update was in December 2019.

Cost of TV Service

DirecTV offers several TV packages ranging from $59.99/month to $134.99/month. The average monthly cost per channel is 38 cents.

Verizon Fios TV packages range from $54.99 to $89.99 per month. The average monthly cost per channel for Fios TV is only 26 cents, which is 12 cents less expensive than DirecTV.

Below is the monthly cost of each package. You can compare the channel lineups on DirecTV.com and Verizon.com.

TV PackagesNumber of ChannelsCost Per Month
DirecTV Select155+$59.99
DirecTV Entertainment160+$64.99
DirecTV Choice185+$69.99
DirecTV Xtra235+$79.99
DirecTV Ultimate250+$84.99
DirecTV Premier330+$134.99
Fios Custom TV (7 custom plans)155+$54.99
Fios Preferred TV HD255+$64.99
Fios Extreme TV HD330+$74.99
Fios Ultimate TV HD425+$89.99

Cost of Equipment and DVR

With DirecTV, the cost of the main TV receiver (a.k.a. set-top box) is included in the service, but you’ll pay a fee of $7/month for each additional receiver. So, the more TVs you have in your house, the more equipment fees you’ll have to pay.

On the other hand, Fios makes you pay a fee for all receivers, including the main one. Fios’ monthly fee per receiver is $12, which is five bucks more expensive than DirecTV.

If you get three Fios receivers, they give you a slight discount and only charge $30/month total.

Additionally, DirecTV comes with an HD DVR, which you can use to record up to 5 shows at once.

Fios has two DVR options, and both cost an additional monthly fee. Their single-room DVR costs $12 per month and can record up to two shows at a time, and their multi-room DVR costs $20 per month and can record up to six shows at once.

Other Fees and Considerations

Even though the monthly service fee makes up the majority of the cost, several additional fees can add up.

The last thing you want is to get unpleasantly surprised with a bunch of unexpected additional fees that you can’t afford.

While the terms, conditions, and additional fees vary by package and region, here are some highlights that you should know.

Activation and Installation

DirecTV charges an activation fee of $19.95, but the installation fee is included in the TV service. Fios does not charge an activation fee, but they charge an installation fee of $99 (in most cases, they will waive this fee to get your business).

Contracts and Cancelation

Most DirecTV packages require a 24-month contract. If you decide to cancel the service before the 24 months, DirecTV charges a $20 termination fee for each of the remaining months in a contract. Since it is the property of DirecTV, you need to return all equipment; otherwise, you’ll DirecTV will hit you with even more fees. 

Fios gives you the option to sign a 2-year contract and lock in your pricing, or you can choose to not commit to a contract. Most of their TV-only offers do NOT require a contract.

According to Fios, “The early termination fee is prorated, which means that as more time passes, you will pay less to terminate the fee. Early termination fees can cost a maximum of $350 and decrease by $15 per month.” Plus, you must return all Fios equipment within 30 days of sending them the termination request.

Other Fees

With both DirecTV and Fios, you’ll have to pay taxes and additional fees, such as a Region Sports Fee and a TV Broadcast Fee.

Fortunately, these extra fees only add up to a small percentage of your bill, and there’s not much difference in the fees that Fios and DirecTV charge.

You can learn more about Fios’ fees here and DirecTV’s fees here. Also, check out the fees outlined in the sample Fios bill below.

Verizon Fios Fees on Bill
Verizon Fios Fees on Bill

Autopay

For your convenience, both providers offer an autopay service where you can set and forget your monthly payments. In some cases, Fios and DirecTV will offer discounts for signing up for autopay (since it saves them money).

Cost Summary

To summarize, the cost of Fios and DirecTV falls into three buckets: TV services, equipment fees, and other fees.

In terms of TV services, which is the highest cost, both providers offer a variety of packages ranging from around $55/month to $135/month.

Fios TV services are a slightly better value at an average cost of 26 cents per channel compared to DirecTV at 38 cents per channel. But, you need to review the channel lineups carefully to make sure you’re paying for the ones that you’ll actually watch.

In terms of equipment fees, Fios is a bit more expensive. So, if you have several TVs in your home, the cost of Fios can add up.

It’s important to understand the other fees that you’ll be charged, but you won’t be making your decision based on them. In most cases, these additional fees are nominal and add up to a similar amount across Fios and DirecTV.

To give you an example of how Fios and DirecTV compare in terms of total pricing, let’s take a look at the following example.

  • You only need 150 channels
  • You have two TVs in your home
  • You want the ability to record up to three shows at once

In this scenario, these are your approximate monthly costs with Fios:

  • $54.99/month for the Custom TV package (155+ channels)
  • $24/month for two TV receivers
  • $20/month for the multi-room DVR, which can record up to six shows at a time
  • Total cost: around $99/month, not including taxes, fees, and installation.
  • Note: you may be able to get a discount on the equipment fees, see the current offers on Verizon.com.

With DirecTV, these would be your monthly costs:

  • $59.99/month for the DirecTV Select package (155+ channels)
  • Only $7/month for the second TV receiver (the primary receiver is included in the TV package)
  • DVR is included
  • Total cost: around $66.99/month, not including taxes, fees, and installation.

Let’s look at another example.

  • You need 330 channels
  • You have one TV in your home
  • You want the ability to record up to two shows at once

In this scenario, these are your approximate monthly costs with Fios:

  • $74.99/month for the Fios Extreme TV package (330+ channels)
  • $12/month for one TV receiver
  • $12/month for the single-room DVR, which can record up to two shows at a time
  • Total cost: around $99/month, not including taxes, fees, and installation.

In this scenario, these are your approximate monthly costs with DirecTV:

  • $134.99/month for the DirecTV Premier package (330+ channels)
  • No fee for the primary TV receiver
  • DVR is included
  • Total cost: around $134.99/month, not including taxes, fees, and installation.

The point of these examples is that comparing the cost of Fios vs. DirecTV ultimately depends on your unique situation. So, we can’t definitively say one service is going to be less expensive than the other.

I’m focusing this review on TV services only, but it’s important to consider that Fios and DirecTV both offer TV and internet as a bundled package.

Unless you have another internet provider that you really love, for the best prices, I highly recommend bundling your TV and Internet services together regardless of whether you go with Fios or DirecTV.

It’s a common misconception that DirecTV is a stand-alone TV product. Since AT&T purchased DirecTV in 2015, they’ve been offering TV and Internet bundles that include satellite DirecTV paired with AT&T internet.

To compare the pricing of their TV and Internet bundles, check out the current deals on Verizon.com and DirecTV.com.

TV Services: Channels, On-Demand, DVR, Special Features

When deciding which TV provider to sign up with, price is undoubtedly a significant factor.

But, the channels, features, and service that you get for your money are just as important.

So, how do Fios and DirecTV TV services stack up? How are their TV packages different? What is so special about each?

In this section, I answer all of these questions and more.

Let’s dive in.

Fios TV Packages

Both Fios and DirecTV offer several TV packages that come with a wide variety of channels.

Fios TV packages range from 155 channels to over 425, while DirecTV packages range from 155 channels to over 330.

One of the primary advantages of Fios is their Custom TV package.

Fios Custom TV is their least expensive package with the lowest number of channels.

But, with the Custom TV package, you can choose from a variety of curated “channel packs,” so you only pay for the channels that you watch the most.

There are several Custom TV channel packs to choose from, including:

  • Action & Entertainment: This pack is ideal for action seekers and includes popular channels such as FX, TNT, and AMC.
  • Sports & News: This pack includes sports and news channels such as ESPN, Fox Sports, and MSNBC.
  • Kids & Pop: If you have young children, this pack includes channels such as Disney, Nickelodeon, and USA.
  • News & Variety: This pack includes channels such as Fox News, CNN, and Discovery.
  • Infotainment & Drama: For drama loves, this pack includes channels such as USA, National Geographic, and IFC.
  • Lifestyle & Reality: If you can’t get enough reality TV, this pack includes channels such as Bravo, VH1, and Lifetime.
  • Home & Family: HGTV, Food Network, and A&E are a few of the top channels in the Home & Family pack.

The Fios Custom TV package is an excellent option if everyone in your household shares the same viewing preferences. However, let’s say that you love sports, and your spouse loves Reality TV, you might not be able to find a channel pack that makes everyone happy.

If you can’t find a Fios Custom TV package that works for everyone in your household, Fios offers three other packages called Preferred HD, Extreme HD, and Ultimate HD. These packages include more channels, but they also cost more per month.

Fios recently launched a new service that they call Fios TV Test Drive. If you’re not sure which TV package is best for you, this service allows you to “test drive” over 400 channels for 60 days. After the 60 days, Fios analyzes your viewing patterns and recommends the best package for you.

Fios TV Test Drive - How It Works
Fios TV Test Drive – How It Works

I love this because so often customers think they need specific channels, but they don’t actually watch them enough to justify the expense.

You can learn more about Fios TV Test Drive and check out the full Verizon Fios channel list for each of their packages on Verizon.com.

DirecTV Packages

DirecTV offers a vast array of channels, with an emphasis on sports.

DirecTV’s low-cost TV package is called Select. With the Select package, you get the essential channels, but nothing extra.

The next step up is the Entertainment package, which gets you a handful of extra channels but costs a little more.

If you’re a sports fan, and especially if your an NFL fan, you need to consider the DirecTV Choice package. The Choice package is DirecTV’s lowest-cost package that includes NFL Sunday Ticket, which is a live broadcast of every NFL game on Sunday.

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket
DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket

Both Fios and DirecTV offer NFL RedZone (at extra cost), but RedZone bounces from game to game so you can’t watch every play from your favorite team’s game.

NFL Sunday Ticket is exclusive to DirecTV—no other provider, including Fios, can broadcast every NFL game live, in its entirety.

So, let’s say you are a Seattle Seahawks fan, but you live in Boston, Massachusetts. Unless the Seahawks are playing the Patriots, or they’re playing in a nationally-broadcasted game, you’ll need NFL Sunday ticket to watch the entire game live.

DirecTV’s other packages, which they call Xtra, Ultimate, and Premier, also come with NFL Sunday Ticket. With each of these packages, you get more channels, but, as the channels increase, so does the cost.

The DirecTV Premier package comes with premium channels such as HBO, Starz, Showtime, and Cinemax. Fios’ most expensive package (Ultimate HD) comes with Showtime and Starz, but you’ll have to pay extra to get HBO and Cinemax.

You can check out the full channel line-ups for each DirecTV package on DirecTV.com.

On-Demand

Both DirecTV and Fios deliver thousands of titles through their On-Demand service, many of which can be streamed on Apple and Android devices.

With Fios, you get access to over 225,000 on-demand titles that you can browse through and find what you’re looking for quickly with a simple menu and search functionality. Fios also provides recommendations based on your viewing preferences.

DirecTV’s on-demand library is not as extensive as Fios’ with only 50,000 movies and shows. But, if we’re being honest, 50,000 is more than enough for most people.

DVR

Fios gives you two DVR options, single-room, and multi-room.

Fios single-room DVR costs $12 per month and can record up to two shows at a time. With this option, you can store up to 50 hours of HD programming.

Fios multi-room DVR costs $20 per month and can record up to six shows at a time. With this option, you can store up to 100 hours of HD programming.

DirecTV’s DVR is called Genie HD DVR, and its included with all of their packages at no extra cost. With the Genie HD DVR, you can record up to 5 shows at once, and it stores up to 200 hours of HD programming.

Special Features

Fios and DirecTV are always adding new features to their TV offerings to improve customer experience.

Here’s how Fios and DirecTV compare in terms of extra features:

Mobile Streaming: When you sign up for Fios or DirecTV, you get access to their mobile apps where you can stream live and on-demand shows and movies. You can also manage your DVR recordings on-the-go. With the DirecTV app, you can stream on five screens simultaneously, but with the Fios app, you can only stream on four screens.

Voice-Activated Remote: Instead of flipping through the channel guide or menu to find a particular show, you can press a button and speak into Fios’ voice-activated remote and tell it what you want. For example, you could say “Bravo” into the remote, and it will automatically switch to the right channel.

If you misplace your Fios remote, you can press a button on the TV box, which will trigger a beeping sound from your remote.

Another cool feature—the Fios remote has a sensor that detects motion and lights up the voice-activation button so you can control your TV in the dark. Unfortunately, DirecTV does not currently offer a voice-activated remote.

Control TV with Alexa: Similar to the Fios voice-activated remote, you can sync your Fios TV with Alexa. Once synced, you can control your TV by saying, “Alex, change to Food Network,” or “Alexa, rewind.” DirecTV offers this same service, and it’s simple to set-up.

4K Capability: 4K, which is also referred to as Ultra HD, is the new standard for picture quality. Although much of the content on TV is still produced in regular HD (1080p), in the future, most, if not all, programming will be delivered in 4K. The good news—Fios and DirecTV are both built to deliver 4K.

Wi-Fi Connected TV Boxes: With Fios, you only need to plug your main TV box into a cable outlet. The boxes for your second and third TVs connect to the primary box via wifi, which means you can put them virtually anywhere in your house. With DirecTV, you need to plug all TV boxes into a cable outlet to get service.

Direct Access to Netflix and YouTube: With Fios, you can access NetFlix and YouTube directly from the channel guide or, even easier, through your voice-activated remote. With DirecTV, NetFlix and Youtube are not integrated into the channel guide, so you’ll have to use your TV remote or Wi-Fi connected device to access them.

Connectivity

One of the most significant advantages Fios TV has over DirecTV is connectivity.

Since Fios is delivered via fiber-optic cables, inclement weather rarely interrupts service (unless trees fall and take down a cable).  

On the other hand, satellite television is very susceptible to weather conditions; heavy rain, storms, or cloudy weather can interfere with your DirecTV connection.

A temporary signal loss might not be a big deal if your watching a recorded show, but when you’re watching your favorite team live, it can be a devastating experience.

Does this mean that every time it rains or snows, you’ll lose your DirecTV connection? No, absolutely not. It takes significant snow accumulation and heavy rains to knock out the signal.

However, it’s important to understand that you’re more likely to lose signal with DirecTV than you are with Fios. In most cases, the signal returns promptly after the weather clears.

You can learn more about DirecTV connectivity on their community forum.

Customer Service

Historically, TV service providers aren’t known for exceptional customer service.

Long hold times, confusing telephone prompts, and less-than-helpful support reps were some of the most common customer complaints across the industry.

Fortunately, over the past several years, both DirecTV and Fios recognized their shortfalls in terms of customer service and corrected them in a significant way.

One of the major changes—both DirecTV and Fios now give customers several options for getting in touch with customer service while also giving customers plenty of resources to find answers on their own.

At the top of the Verizon Fios customer support page, you’ll see a headline that asks, “How can we help you today?” along with a search bar where you can type in any question.

When you click in the search bar, a window drops down that reveals “Quick Links” to the most common questions. If you don’t find what you’re looking for there, you can continue typing your question.

Fios’ website is loaded with quick and easy guides to help you solve hundreds of issues on your own without wasting time on the phone.

However, if you need some assistance, Fios gives you plenty of options.

If you navigate to the Fios Contact Us page, they ask you a couple of questions to best direct your inquiry. After you answer, they offer you several options to get in touch, including phone, live webchat, and a link to forums where you’ll find thousands of posts and discussions. Have no fear; they are easily searchable so you can find an answer to your issue quickly. 

Like Fios, DirecTV also offers several different ways to get in touch with customer service or self-serve.

If you go to DirecTV’s customer support page, you’ll see links to “Help Articles,” forums, and tools to troubleshoot issues on your own.

Like Fios, DirecTV provides you with several ways to get in touch, including social media, live webchat, and a customer service number.

With both providers, you can submit questions via a contact form, email, live webchat (my favorite), and of course, you always have the option to speak with a customer service rep over the phone.

Bottom line—It’s difficult to say which provider has better customer service since every interaction is unique.

However, Fios and DirecTV are investing in building tools and resources to help customers quickly solve problems on their own.

These resources create a win-win situation. Customers get answers quickly without ever having to wait on hold, and Fios and DirecTV save money by handling fewer calls.

With either provider, if you ever really need to talk to someone, you can get connected with a rep via webchat in just a few minutes. In my experience with both Fios and DirecTV, webchat is the best way to get complicated questions answered quickly.

Customer Satisfaction

Although customer service is a somewhat subjective category, customer satisfaction is a metric that’s measured each year by trusted independent research companies.

So, which TV provider has higher customer satisfaction ratings, Fios or DirecTV?

ACSI Customer Satisfaction Ratings

One of those trusted independent research companies, The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), collects data each year from thousands of customers across the United States. They use that data to assign a customer satisfaction index score (0 to 100, with 100 the best) to each TV provider.

The ACSI customer satisfaction score is based on 14 categories:

  • HD picture quality
  • Picture quality
  • Helpfulness of store/service center staff
  • Speed of store/service center transaction
  • Quality of the mobile app
  • Reliability of the mobile app
  • Ease of using remote, on-screen menus, and program guide
  • Ease of understanding bill
  • TV signal reliability
  • Website satisfaction
  • Premium channels available
  • Range of channels available
  • Ability to minimize service interruptions and outages
  • Call center satisfaction

In the latest report, Fios ranked #2 (only behind U-verse TV) with a customer satisfaction score of 68 out of 100. Meanwhile, DirecTV earned the #4 with an ACSI score of 66.

Below are Fios and DirecTV’s ACSI scores since 2010, so you can see how customer satisfaction has trended over the years. You can read the full ACSI report here.

Fios vs. DirecTV ACSI Customer Satisfaction Index Score
Fios vs. DirecTV ACSI Customer Satisfaction Index Score

J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Another respected independent research company, J.D. Power, also publishes an annual TV service provider customer satisfaction study.

J.D. Power’s rankings are based on eight factors:

  • Overall satisfaction
  • Performance and reliability
  • Cost of service
  • Programming
  • Communication and promotions
  • Billing and payment
  • Features and Functionality
  • Customer service

In the East region, which is the only region where Fios and DirecTV are both available, Fios ranked #2 in overall satisfaction and of DirecTV ranked #3. Below is a screenshot of the full results.

Fios vs. DirecTV JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rankings
Fios vs. DirecTV JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rankings

Bottom line—Fios continuously outranks DirecTV in terms of customer satisfaction according to studies conducted by ACSI and J.D. Power.

TV and Internet Bundles

Fios is known as a reliable TV service provider, but they are even better known for their lightning-fast internet service.

Considering the savings you can get for Fios bundles on Verizon.com, it doesn’t make sense to sign-up for Fios TV without bundling it with Fios Internet.

Besides saving money, bundling Fios TV with Fios Internet is a smart choice because Fios delivers the fastest internet speeds on the market.

As I covered in detail in a recent comparison of Fios vs. Xfinity, Fios can deliver a much faster internet than most providers.

Why?

Fios is built on a newer infrastructure called fiber-optic service, which is designed for long-distance two-way data transfer. Most internet providers deliver service via the traditional coaxial cable infrastructure, which limits its capacity

With DirecTV, you can bundle their TV service with AT&T Internet (AT&T owns DirecTV).

Although bundling DirecTV and AT&T internet will save you money, AT&T internet speeds can’t compete with Fios.

You can get AT&T and DirecTV bundles that offer up to 100Mbps (Megabits per second), but, with Fios bundles, internet speeds go all the way up to 940Mbps.

The actual internet speeds depend on network demand, hardware, and your provider’s infrastructure, so read the fine print on att.com and Verizon.com.

To compete with Fios, AT&T launched AT&T Fiber, which is a new internet service that’s delivered via its 100% fiber-optic network. With AT&T Fiber, you can get speeds up to 1000Mbps. The only catch is that AT&T Fiber is only available in select regions and isn’t included in any DirecTV bundles.

Bottom line—Fios internet is capable of delivering significantly faster internet than AT&T, and Fios’ actual internet speeds are typically faster because it’s delivered on a newer infrastructure designed for two-way data transmission. The only downside of Fios Internet is that, similar to TV service; it’s only available in a handful of states.

Installation Process

The installation process for both Fios and DirecTV is relatively easy and painless.

DirecTV’s installation process takes between 4 to 6 hours, but only covers 4 rooms, which means any further installation needs will come at an extra cost.

DirecTV explains how to prepare for installation on its website. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Landlord/HOA Approval: Get approval from your landlord or homeowners association.
  • Rooms and Access: Decide which rooms you want access to DirecTV and clear space for the installer to work. Make sure your roof is easily accessible
  • Internet Connection: DirecTV recommends having an active internet connection available so the installer can connect the receiver.
  • Adult Needs to Be Present: An authorized adult over 18 years old needs to be present during installation to sign the documents.

Although the Fios technician won’t need to install a satellite on your roof, the installation process is similar.

In general, Fios installation takes between 2 and 4 hours. Similar to DirecTV, an authorized adult needs to be present during installation.

Like DirecTV, Fios provides installation preparation instructions on its website.

The only significant difference between DirecTV and Fios’ installation process is that DirecTV requires putting a satellite on your roof or balcony, and Fios doesn’t.

Instead, the Fios technician will install an Optical Network Terminal (ONT), which is sometimes referred to as the Fios hub.

Fios Optical Network Terminal
Fios Optical Network Terminal (ONT)

The ONT, which is unique to Fios, converts the inbound optical signal into individual signals for TV, Internet, and Phone (if needed).

Although the technician will do all the work, installing the ONT is the longest step of the process. However, if a previous resident already had Fios in your home, you might already have an ONT installed. If that’s the case, the installation process will take significantly less time.

The Final Verdict: Which TV Provider Is Better?

Choosing between Fios and DirecTV isn’t a simple decision.

As you just learned, there are several factors to consider, including monthly cost, channel lists, DVR capabilities, On-Demand titles, and customer service.

While both providers are leaders in the industry, I recommend choosing Fios if it’s available in your region.

Here’s why:

  • Fios delivers reliable service with no interruptions or signal loss due to severe weather.
  • Fios core TV service is less expensive than DirecTV, and you can pick from several Custom TV packages, so you only pay for the channels you love.
  • Fios TV comes with a much more extensive on-demand library than DirecTV.
  • With Fios, you can control your TV with its voice-activated remote, a feature that DirecTV does not offer.
  • Fios secondary TV boxes connect via Wi-Fi, which allows you to put TVs in rooms that don’t have access to a cable outlet.
  • Year after year, Fios outranks DirecTV in both ACSI and J.D. customer satisfaction studies.
  • If you decide to bundle, Fios delivers faster internet speeds.

If you’re ready to sign up or want to get more information, check out the current Fios TV deals on Verizon.com.

If Fios isn’t available where you live, don’t be disappointed; DirecTV is an excellent option too.

The main advantages of DirecTV are:

  • It’s widely available (all 50 states).
  • DirecTV is the only provider that offers live broadcasts of every NFL game via NFL Sunday Ticket.
  • The cost of equipment and DVR is significantly less than Fios.
  • They offer similar extra features as Fios, including 4K capability, mobile streaming, and the ability to control your TV with Alexa.

Although there’s a lot to love about DirecTV, it comes with several disadvantages, including:

  • The signal can be disrupted by heavy snow or rain.
  • DirecTV doesn’t offer any custom TV packages.
  • Compared to Fios, DirecTV’s on-demand library is limited.
  • DirecTV consistently ranks lower than Fios in terms of customer satisfaction.
  • The internet speeds that are included in bundles are slower.

If you want to learn more or sign up for DirecTV, you can connect with an agent at 844-870-2676 or explore their current deals on DirecTV.com.

Do you agree with my assessment? Any DirecTV fans out there that disagree? I’d love to hear your feedback. Please comment below and let me know what you think.

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