Comcast Xfinity vs. Verizon Fios: Which TV and Internet Provider Is Better?

Xfinity vs Fios

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If you’re thinking about switching TV and internet service providers and you’re trying to figure out whether Fios or Xfinity is the better option, you’ve come to the right place. 

In this in-depth comparison of Xfinity vs. Fios, you’ll learn exactly how they stack up in terms of:

  • Availability
  • Customer service
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Price and Plans
  • Installation process
  • TV services (channels, DVR, on-demand)
  • Internet services (speed and delivery).

By the end, you’ll have all the facts and knowledge necessary to determine which provider is right for your home. 

Tip to Get the Best Deals: Fios offers exclusive deals if you purchase their service online (see current deals on Verizon.com). You can buy Xfinity online, but they are typically willing to negotiate better deals over the phone (Xfinity: 844-769-0855)

Note: This article was last updated in November 2019.

Click the links below to jump straight to a section:

Xfinity vs. Fios: Quick Summary

If you’re in a rush and don’t have a few minutes to read through the entire comparison (although we think it’ll be worth your time), here are the key facts you need to know about Xfinity and Fios.

Most Significant Difference: The most significant difference between Xfinity and Fios is that Fios is delivered via a modern fiber-optic infrastructure designed for long-distance two-way data transfer while Xfinity is built on traditional coaxial cable infrastructure initially designed to provide analog TV years ago. What does this mean? Fios delivers significantly faster internet speeds (upload AND download) than Xfinity across all their base packages.

Availability: One of the downsides of Fios’ new infrastructure is that they’re still building it out. Currently, Fios is only available in 8 states (NJ, NY, MD, DE, MA, PA, RI, VA) and Washington D.C. Xfinity, since it’s built on existing cable infrastructure, is widely available (over 35 states). Skip to Availability section.

Customer Service: In general, telecom companies have a reputation for poor customer service; however, this is not the case with Fios and Xfinity. Both providers recently revamped their online resources, which allow customers to find an answer quickly on their own or get in touch with a rep via webchat or phone. Skip to Customer Service section.

Customer Satisfaction Rankings:

Customer Satisfaction RankingsComcast Xfinity Verizon Fios
ACSI (TV)#9 (2018), #8 (2019)#2 (2018), #2 (2019)
ACSI (Internet)#5 (2018), #5 (2019)#1 (2018), #1 (2019)
J.D. Power (TV)#5 in the East Region (2018)#2 in the East Region (2018)
J.D. Power (Internet)#2 in the East Region (2018)#1 in the East Region (2018)

Skip to Customer Satisfaction section.

Price and Contract: The cost of Fios and Xfinity varies based on which TV and Internet packages (or bundles) you choose. For a similar number of channels and internet speed, the difference in cost is marginal and depends on which provider is offering the best deal at the time of purchase. Fios typically locks you into a 2-year contract while Xfinity offers month-to-month packages with the option to sign a contract for a discounted price. Skip to Price section.

Installation Process: Since Xfinity is delivered via the existing cable infrastructure, a technician can complete installation in under an hour. If you or the previous owners of your house have ever had Fios service, the process is very similar to Xfinity. However, when it’s being set up for the first time, it can take a Fios technician up to 6 hours to complete installation because they’ll need to install an Optical Network Terminal (ONT), also known as a Fios hub. Skip to the Installation section.

TV Packages: Both companies offer a wide selection of TV packages at different price levels. Xfinity offers five packages that range from 10 to 260 channels, and Fios offers seven packages that range from 15 to 425 channels. Since most people only watch a handful of channels, Fios offers Custom TV, which allows you to pick a package that includes channels aligned with your interests (sports, action and entertainment, drama, and reality). These customization options are great as long as everyone in your household has the same taste. Skip to the TV Services section.

DVR: Fios offers two DVR options; 6 shows at a time with 100 hours of storage or 12 shows at a time with 200 hours of storage. Xfinity’s DVR option can record six shows at a time and holds up to 150 hours of storage.

On-Demand: Both companies offer more on-demand titles (thousands) available than you could ever need, but if you’re keeping score, Xfinity has more titles.

Special Features: Fios and Xfinity both offer unique features such as personalized viewing recommendations, the ability to stream recorded shows on mobile, and voice-activated remotes. You can control Fios with Amazon Alexa too.

Internet Speed: Since Fios is built on a newer fiber-optic network, it can deliver significantly faster internet speeds than Xfinity. However, for most households, the internet speeds that Xfinity provides are sufficient. If you work from home or do a ton of streaming/gaming, you can get high-speed internet from Fios at a better price than Xfinity’s fastest options. Skip to the Internet section.

Our Pick: Although both have strengths and weaknesses, if it’s available in your region, I highly recommend choosing Fios. Why? First, because Fios can deliver faster upload and download speeds across their base packages. To match Fios internet speeds with Xfinity, you need to pay significantly more for their fastest speeds. Second, Fios consistently outranks Xfinity in independent customer satisfaction studies. But the part I like the most about Fios, they are almost always offering exclusive deals if you buy online. You can check out their current deals on Verizon.com.

Comparison Chart

 Comcast XfinityVerizon Fios
Availability35 states8 states
ACSI Customer Satisfaction Ranking (TV)#9 (2018), #8 (2019)#2 (2018), #2 (2019)
ACSI Customer Satisfaction Ranking (Internet)#5 (2018), #5 (2019)#1 (2018), #1 (2019)
J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Ranking (TV)#5 in the East Region (2018)#2 in the East Region (2018)
J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Ranking (Internet)#2 in the East Region (2018)#1 in the East Region (2018)
Price of TV Only$30 - $84.99/month. $25 - $89.99/month.
Price of Internet Only$34.99 - $299.95/month. $39.99 - $79.99/month.
Price of TV and Internet Bundles$49.99 - $129.99/month. $79.99 - $124.99/month. Current Deals
Installation Process 1 hour on average. Up to 6 hours.
Channels10 - 250+243 - 554
DVR150 hours of storage.100 or 200 hours of storage.
On Demand100,000 titles.67,000 titles.
Voice Activiated RemoteYesYes
Control TV with Amazon AlexaNoYes
Internet Connection TypeCableFiber
Internet Speed15/2 Mbps - 2000/2000 Mbps100/100 Mbps - 940/880 Mbps
Latest DealsLearn about the latest deals, call Xfinity at 844-769-0855Check out the latest deals on Verizon.com

Availability: Xfinity Is Widely Available, Fios Is Limited But Expanding

Before comparing the costs and packages that Xfinity and Fios offer, make sure that both are available in your region.

As of 2019, Verizon Fios is only available in the following eight states plus Washington D.C.:

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 is expanding its network and into new neighborhoods every month. Check their availability map or type your zip code into their availability checker to see if they are available at your address.

Xfinity is the largest residential cable and internet provider in the United States and is available in over 35 states. More than likely, Xfinity is available where you live. Enter your address on Xfinity.com at this link or give them a call at 844-769-0855 to confirm.

Customer Service: Which Provider Offers Better Customer Service?

A significant factor in choosing between Fios and Xfinity is customer service.

No one wants a TV and internet provider that is difficult to deal with when issues arise. Whether a company has good or bad customer service varies based on each individual’s personal experience and is highly subjective.

If you ask one person they might say Fios customer service is excellent, I was able to get ahold of them quickly, and they solved my problem. Then you ask the next person, and they say, Fios customer service is terrible, I waited 30 minutes to talk to a rep.

Reviews online skew negative because people that have negative experiences tend to be the loudest, and venting on the internet makes them feel better.

If a customer service rep answers you call right away and quickly solves your problem, are you going to post about it online? Probably not.

If you get put on hold for 45 minutes and the customer service rep is rude to you, might you complain on social media or in a forum? Maybe.

The good news is that both Fios and Xfinity are fully aware that customer service is essential, and they are both making significant investments to improve it.

Most of their efforts are focused on enabling customers to either solve their problem with easy to navigate online resources or make it easy to connect with a representative through phone, text, email, and webchat.

Let’s take a look at the current state of Fios and Xfinity’s customer service offerings.

Fios Customer Service: Easy Online Self-Service

Fios’ customer service portal online, has a plethora of information to help you serve yourself while also offering several ways to get in touch with a representative.

When you first land on the page, it asks you, “How can we help you today?”. Below that message is a search bar where you can type in a question.

When you click on the search bar, it reveals “Quick links” to the most common questions people ask. Those links send you to pages with detailed information about each topic.

Fios customer service portal

Below the search bar, there is an “I need help with…” section with clickable buttons for each category, including Billing, Internet, TV, Phone. Within each category are links to the most common questions and information.

Fios customer service portal

If they don’t address your question in any of these sections, there is a Fios community forum with over 20K members where you can find answers to more specific issues. You can also post your question and hope someone in the community can answer it. There are over 5K solutions posted in this forum.

If you are not able to find a solution yourself, you have options to contact a Fios representative via phone or webchat.

When you go to the Contact Us page, it asks you to categorize your inquiry so they can connect you to the right person.

Verizon Fios Contact Us Page
Verizon Fios Contact Us Page

Once you click on the category, it asks you to get more specific about your issue. After you specify what you need help with, it provides links to information and forums on the topic.

They would prefer that you self-serve, however, below the links are options to either connect via webchat or call an 800 number.

Verizon Fios Contact Us Page

Xfinity Customer Service: Convenient Options to Connect With Live Representatives

Xfinity redesigned their customer support page, Xfinity.com/support making it easy to self-serve and find answers to common questions.

They organized the site by product (TV, Internet, Voice, Home, Mobile) and, within each product category, they have subcategories with links to step-by-step articles that explain how to troubleshoot your issue without picking up the phone.

Xfinity Support Page
Xfinity Support Page

Although Xfinity would prefer that service yourself with their online resources, you have several other options if you can’t find a solution to your problem.

On their contact us page, you can schedule a call, initiate an online chat with an agent, find an Xfinity store location, or visit their status center where you can get updates on any significant outages. You can also call their customer service 800 number.

Xfinity Contact Us Page
Xfinity Contact Us Page

Fios and Xfinity have tons of data about common customer pain points and understand the common reasons why customers pick up the phone and call customer service.

Using that data, they’ve created articles, guides, troubleshooting wizards, forums, and many other online resources.

By creating these resources, Fios and Xfinity reduce their expenses by fielding fewer calls and enabling consumers to quickly and easily get answers to their questions. In the end, it’s a win-win for the providers and customers.

Both providers have done a great job evolving their online experience and provide multiple channels for consumers to get in touch with live reps.

There is not much distinction between the two in this category, although, Xfinity allows you to schedule a call and find a store location, Fios does not provide these options.

I tested both company’s webchat functions, and both were easy to use; I connected with a rep in under 2 minutes.

Customer Satisfaction: What Are Actual Customers Saying?

While customer service can be subjective and will vary based on each experience, customer satisfaction is measurable and is tracked over time by independent research companies like ACSI and J.D. Power.

ACSI Customer Satisfaction Ratings

The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) is an independent company that provides customer service ratings across 46 industries, including TV and Internet service providers.

ACSI has been in business for decades and is considered an authority on customer satisfaction benchmarking.

ACSI bases their Internet satisfaction ratings on 14 factors:

  • Quality of the mobile app
  • Reliability of the mobile app
  • Helpfulness of store/service center staff
  • Speed of store/service center transaction
  • Website satisfaction
  • Ease of understanding bill
  • Quality of other services (email, data storage, internet security)
  • Internet service reliability
  • Overall data transfer speed
  • Performance during peak hours
  • Video streaming quality
  • Ability to minimize service interruptions and outages
  • Variety of internet plans available
  • Call center satisfaction

Here are the ACSI customer satisfaction rankings for Xfinity and Fios the past several years (out of 100).

ACSI Internet Service Rankings:

  • 2018: Fios 70 (1st place), Xfinity 60 (5th place)
  • 2019: Fios 70 (1st place), Xfinity 61 (5th place)
Verizon Fios vs. Comcast Xfinity ACSI Internet Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Verizon Fios vs. Comcast Xfinity ACSI Internet Customer Satisfaction Ratings

ACSI bases their Subscription TV satisfaction ratings on 14 factors:

  • 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

ACSI Subscription Television Service Rankings:

  • 2018: Fios 68 (2nd place), Xfinity 57 (9th place)
  • 2019: Fios 68 (2nd place), Xfinity 57 (8th place)
Verizon Fios vs. Comcast Xfinity ACSI TV Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Verizon Fios vs. Comcast Xfinity ACSI TV Customer Satisfaction Ratings

Check out the entire ACSI report (Internet benchmarks report, TV benchmarks) to compare Fios and Xfinity’s customer satisfaction ratings since 2010 and see how they stack up against other providers like Dish Network and DirecTV.

J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Ratings

J.D. Power, another leader in market research and consumer insights, conducts an annual U.S. Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study and a yearly U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Satisfaction Study.

Here are the most recent rankings for 2018 by region. 

J.D. Power U.S. Residential Internet Service Provider Rankings for 2018 (see the full results here)

Rating Factors: Overall satisfaction, performance, reliability, cost of service, billing, communication, customer service.

  • East Region: Verizon Fios #1, Comcast Xfinity #2
  • North Central: Verizon Fios (not available in this region), Comcast Xfinity #2 
  • South: Verizon Fios (not available in this region), Comcast Xfinity #2 
  • West: Verizon Fios (not available in this region), Comcast Xfinity #5

J.D. Power U.S. Residential Television Service Provider Rankings for 2018 (see the full results here)

Rating Factors: Overall satisfaction, performance, reliability, cost of service, programming, communication, billing, customer service.

  • East Region: Verizon Fios #2, Comcast Xfinity #5
  • North Central: Verizon Fios (not available in this region), Comcast Xfinity #3 
  • South: Verizon Fios (not available in this region), Comcast Xfinity #3 
  • West: Verizon Fios (not available in this region), Comcast Xfinity #5

Fios vs. Xfinity: How Do Their Prices Compare?

When evaluating Fios and Xfinity, nothing is more frustrating than trying to compare the all-in costs.

Each company’s services (channels and internet speeds) are slightly different, which makes it difficult to compare them apples-to-apples.

I’ve looked at several different scenarios, and in general, for similar services, the monthly price of Xfinity and Fios are within $20 of each other.

Since the total costs depend on where you live, the number of TVs, packages, and deals at the time of purchase, the easiest way to determine how much you will pay is to look at each cost category (installation, equipment, services, and other fees) individually.

Before I dive into the details of each cost category, here is a quick snapshot of the total costs of Xfinity and Fios.

Total Cost Summary

 Comcast XfinityVerizon Fios
Cost of Installation$15 for self-installation. $60 - $89 for professional installation.$99 for professional installation.
Cost of Modem Rental$11/month$10/month
Cost of Set-Top Box Rental$9.95/month per box$10/month per box
Cost of DVR$19.95/monthSingle-room DVR, $12/month. Multi-room DVR, $20/month.
Cost of TV Only$30 - $84.99/month. $25 - $89.99/month.
Cost of Internet Only$34.99 - $299.95/month. $39.99 - $79.99/month.
Cost of TV and Internet Bundles$49.99 - $129.99/month. $79.99 - $124.99/month.
Cost of Additional Fees~$20/month~$20/month
Latest DealsLearn about the latest deals, call Xfinity at 844-769-0855Learn about the latest deals on Verizon.com

Setup/Installation Costs

Fios charges a $99 installation fee. If you order online, they waive the fee. If you order over the phone and ask them to remove the installation fee, most of the time, they will.

Xfinity gives you two options for installation, do-it-yourself or professional.

  • Self-installation costs $15, and they’ll mail you an install kit and instructions.
  • Professional installation costs between $60 and $89. If you have more than one TV in your house, you are forced to go with the professional installation. Similar to Fios, Xfinity often waives this fee as an incentive to sign up for their services.

Equipment Fees

Equipment fees for Fios and Xfinity are virtually equal.

To use Fios internet, you need to either buy a router (which is cheaper if you buy from Amazon vs. directly from Fios) or rent one for $10/month. The TV boxes cost $10 per box per month. Single room DVR is $12 a month, and the multi-room DVR is $20/month.

Fios total equipment fees for a rental router with two TV boxes, and a multi-room DVR is $50/month.

Xfinity’s modem/router rental cost is $11/month, or you could buy one that is compatible with Xfinity like this one on Amazon. Their TV boxes cost $9.95 per box per month, and their DVR costs $19.95/month.

Xfinity total equipment fees for a rental router with two TV boxes and a multi-room DVR is $50.85/month.

Cost of Services: TV Only, Internet Only, TV and Internet Bundles

Below is a breakdown of the prices of service across TV only, Internet-only, and TV+Internet bundles as of November 2019. Prices are always subject to change, but this will give you a good idea of how Fios and Xfinity service costs compare.

Cost of TV

Fios has seven different TV-only packages. Here are the prices for each. 

Fios TV PackagesNumber of ChannelsCost Per Month
Custom TV (7 custom plans)155+$64.99
Preferred TV HD255+$74.99
Extreme TV HD365+$79.99
Ultimate TV HD425+$89.99
Mundo TV (Spanish channels)200+$49.99
Mundo Total TV (Spanish channels)205+$54.99
Local TV (Spanish channels)15$25.00

To see the channels included in each Fios package and to get special pricing, visit this page on Verizon.com.

Xfinity offers five TV-only packages. Here are the prices for each. 

Xfinity TV PackagesNumber of ChannelsCost Per Month
Choice TV10+$30.00
Digital Starter 140+$59.99
Digital Preferred220+$69.99
Digital Premier260+$84.99
Limited Basics10+$46.95

To see the channels included in each Xfinity package, visit xfinity.com/learn/channel-lineup, or if you’re the type that needs to be walked through it, I’ve found their reps to be extremely helpful. You can reach them at 844-769-0855.

To compare the cost of Fios vs. Xfinity TV packages, the best number to look at is the cost per channel (cost of the package divided by the number of channels).

Excluding the very basic package from Xfinity (Choice TV), the average cost per channel with Xfinity is 36 cents, while the cost per channel with Fios is 28 cents.

Cost of Internet

Fios gives you three options for internet:

Fios Internet PackagesMegabits Per SecondCost Per Month
Better Browsing100$39.99
Better Streaming300$59.99
Better Everything940$79.99

Xfinity gives you seven different internet options to choose from:

Xfinity Internet PackagesMegabits Per SecondCost Per Month
Performance Internet60$34.99
Performance Starter Internet15$49.95
Extreme Pro Internet400$64.99
Performance Pro Internet100$44.99
Gigabit Internet1000$74.99
Blast!® Internet150$54.99
Gigabit Internet Pro2000$299.95

For a 1000 Mbps Gigabit connection, Fios is $5 cheaper/month at $74.99 compared to Xfinity, which is $79.99/month.

Later in this article, I dive into how much internet speed you need (skip ahead to that section).

Cost of TV and Internet Bundles

Fios has four TV and internet bundles:

Fios TV and Internet BundlesMegabits Per SecondNumber of ChannelsCost Per MonthSpecial Deals When You Sign Up Online
Fios Gigabit Connection with Custom TV940150+$79.99See Current Deal
Fios Gigabit Connection with Custom TV & Phone940150+$79.99See Current Deal
Fios Gigabit Connection with Preferred HD TV & Phone940295+$94.99See Current Deal
Fios Gigabit Connection with Ultimate TV & Phone940425+$124.99See Current Deal

To view current deals and special pricing, visit this page on Verizon.com.

Xfinity offers six TV and internet bundles:

Xfinity TV and Internet BundlesMegabits Per SecondNumber of ChannelsCost Per Month
Choice Double Play (4 options)10010+$49.99 - $64.99
Standard Double Play (3 options)100125+$69.99 - $79.99
Select Double Play100210+$79.99
Signature Double Play100219+$99.99
Digital Starter and Performance Starter Internet15140+$109.94
Super Double Play150250+$129.99

Xfinity allows you to pair any TV and Internet plan together and makes it easy to compare the prices of each bundle on this page or give them a call to discuss at 844-769-0855.

Comparing TV and Internet bundles between Fios and Xfinity is very difficult because there are so many options, and they are always changing. Xfinity offers a broader range of bundles, but Fios simplifies your choices with three TV options, all paired with the faster internet speed (1000 Mbps).

One major takeaway from this section is that, whether you go with Fios or Xfinity, you get the best value by bundling TV and Internet.

Fios and Xfinity are on to the cord-cutting trend and have adjusted their pricing models so that the cost of a bundle is marginally higher than internet alone.

For example, if you buy Fios internet-only (mid-tier plan with 300 Mbps speeds) for $59.99/month, you save $20/month by cutting the cord. If you buy the Custom TV and internet bundle, you pay an extra $20/month, but you get 150+ channels plus a faster internet connection (1000 Mbps). This pricing strategy puts the pressure on the consumer to decide if saving $20 is worth missing out on 200+ channels and faster internet.

Other Fees: Both Providers Charge Other Fees That Add Up to Around $20/Month

When you look at your Fios or Xfinity bill, you’ll see the costs of services, equipment rentals, and taxes, but you’ll also see a handful of other mysterious fees. Both providers charge virtually the same additional fees, so this won’t have any impact on which provider you choose.

The fees add up to about $20/month and vary based on where you live and which services you purchase. Here is a break down of the costs:

Broadcast TV Fee – A fee that local broadcast networks charge Xfinity and Fios to carry their networks. It can increase, but your provider will always give you advanced notice of any changes.

Regional Sports Network Fee – A fee that regional sports networks charge Xfinity of Fios to carry their networks. It can increase, but Xfinity always provides advanced notice of any changes.

Universal Connectivity Charge (or Federal or State Universal Service Fund) – This fee is for Xfinity and Fios’ contribution to a federal fund that provides communication services to low-income customers such as schools and libraries.

Other Service Providers – In some cases, you can purchase 3rd party services like Netflix through Xfinity and Fios, and if you do, their fees will show up on your bill here.

FCC Fee – A fee that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) charges cable operators to pay for the FCC’s regulatory requirements under the Communications Act of 1934.

Franchise Fee – This fee is paid to local governments for Xfinity’s use of public rights of way and easements.

Public, Educational, Governmental Access Fee – This fee is for costs associated with public access channels.

Contracts: Most Fios Plans Require a 2 Year Commitment, Xfinity Offers No-Contract Deals

Fios locks you into a 2-year agreement, which guarantees your pricing for that period. If you break the contract, you’ll have to pay an early termination fee that can be up to $360.

They prorate the fee based on the number of months you have left on the contract. You can expect your rates to go up about $10/month once the contract is over; however, you always have the right to renegotiate at that point.

Xfinity does not require you to sign a contract; however, in some cases, they offer exclusive deals if you agree to a 12 or 24-month term.

These deals are always changing, so make sure to read the fine print before you sign up.

If you sign a 12-month contract and need to terminate it early, you will pay an early termination fee up to $150.  

If you sign a 24-month contract and need to terminate it early, you will pay an early termination fee up to $240. In both cases, the fee is prorated based on the number of months you have left in the contract.

Installation Process: What to Expect

The installation process for Fios is more complicated than the process for Xfinity. Fios installation can take anywhere from 2.5 to 6 hours, while Xfinity can set you up in under an hour.

With both Xfinity and Fios, your home needs to be connected to their networks. In the case of Fios, that connection is via a fiber optic cable that is linked to your house through an underground or aerial (telephone poles) installation. In the case of Xfinity, that connection is via a coaxial cable.

Since coaxial cable has been around for decades, your house is likely already connected and ready for Xfinity installation.

If you’ve never had Fios set up in your house (including previous residents), Verizon will need to set up the connection. In this case, Verizon will contact the utility companies in your area and will dig a trench in the ground to run fiber cables from the fiber terminal in your neighborhood into your house. This work usually takes two weeks to complete, so it will delay your services but won’t cost you any extra.

Although this scenario is rare, old or damaged coaxial cables may need to be replaced to establish a connection with Xfinity. If this is the case, just like Fios, Xfinity will work with the local utility companies to get new lines installed.

Once your house is connected to the network, whether it is Fios via fiber cables or Xfinity via coaxial cables, the rest of the service installation is straightforward. You’ll schedule a date and time for a technician to come to your house and complete the setup.

Both companies require that someone over 18 years old is home during the installation. If you don’t own the property, you’re supposed to get landlord permission because the technician may need to drill holes in the wall to run cables into different rooms.

With Xfinity, it is as simple as connecting the coaxial cable that brings the service into your house to the cable box and modem, running through the setup wizard, and setting up wifi name and password.

It is so simple that you can opt-in for self-installation. With self-installation, Xfinity mails you the equipment with instructions for you to set up yourself. I see this as a huge benefit since you won’t have to take time off work or sacrifice your free time to sit and watch a technician work.

Fios installation is very similar with one main difference. To access Fios’ network, the technician needs to set up an Optical Network Terminal (ONT) in your house. The ONT is sometimes referred to as the “Fios hub.”

Essentially, it converts the inbound laser-generated signal into an electronic signal that works with standard phones and internet. Although the technician will do all the work, the ONT takes a significant amount of time to install.

Fios Optical Network Terminal
Fios Optical Network Terminal (ONT)

To recap, if you don’t have a cable or fiber network already connected to your house, expect a two-week delay for the service provider to work with the local utility company to establish a connection via aerial or underground wiring.

This scenario is much more likely with Fios because it is newer and has a smaller footprint, while Xfinity is more widely available and can plug into legacy cable networks.

Once connected, Fios can take up to 6 hours to set up due to the additional equipment required (Optical Network Terminal). Xfinity takes only an hour to set up, and you have the option to do it yourself.

Fios vs. Xfinity: How Do Their TV Services Compare?

When comparing TV services between Fios and Xfinity, the most significant aspects to consider are channels, DVR, on-demand, and unique features.

In short, both providers offer a wide range of packages with different channels, Fios gives you more DVR storage, but Xfinity has more TV shows and movies-on-demand.

Let’s take a look at each of these aspects in more depth.

Channels

The reality is that most people only watch 10-20 channels, so the best way to compare Fios and Xfinity TV packages is to determine which channels you must have, figure out which packages have all of those channels, and compare the prices of those packages.

Xfinity has several different TV packages to choose from, starting with ten channels and going all the way up to over 260+. To see the exact channels that are included in each package, check out this page on Xfinity.com.

Fios also has several TV packages starting at 15 channels (local channels only and going up to 425+. Fios also offers Custom TV plans that are designed to suit your individual preferences.

For example, one of their Custom TV plans is called Sports & News, which includes all the major sports channels, ideal for the superfan. Another is called Lifestyle & Reality, which includes channels like Lifetime, Bravo, and E! for those that love pop culture and reality TV.

The main issue with these packages comes when you and other members of your household have very different interests. For example, Lifestyle & Reality does not include any major sports channels like ESPN, and the Sports & News package does not include Bravo or E!.

The good news is that Fios also offers several packages that feature a more comprehensive channel lineup. To view the exact channel lineups for each package, check out this page on fios.verizon.com.

DVR

Fios offers two different options for DVR, Enhanced, and Premium.

  • Fios Enhanced DVR – record up to 6 shows at a time with 100 hours of storage.
  • Fios Premium DVR – record up to 12 shows at a time with 200 hours of storage.

The latest DVR offering from Xfinity is called X1. X1 encompassed Xfinity’s latest set-top box, which functions as a receiver and DVR while also serving as the universal platform that connects your TV, Internet, mobile devices, and other 3rd party services like Netflix. In terms of its DVR capabilities, with X1, you can record up to 6 shows at once with up to 150 hours of storage on the hard drive and up to 60 hours of cloud storage per DVR box.

Learn more about all of Xfinity X1’s capabilities in the quick video below.

 

Although 150 hours of storage is more than enough for the average consumer, Fios provides more DVR options, and their top choice has significantly more storage than Xfinity.

On-Demand

Xfinity is significantly ahead of Fios in terms of on-demand titles.

Xfinity comes with over 100,000 free TV shows and movies on-demand compared to Fios, which comes with around 67,000.

Xfinity also comes with over 69,000 TV shows and movies on-demand on your mobile device compared to Fios, which comes with only 36,000. (source: Xfinity.com)

Special Features

Xfinity and Fios are both continually innovating to improve customer experience. Most of the innovation is driven by enhances in technology like voice search and personalized recommendations.

Here is a list of some of the unique features that each company offers.

With both Fios and Xfinity you get:

  • Personalized recommendations based on what you watched in the past or are currently viewing.
  • The ability to stream recorded shows from the DVR, or live TV on-the-go on your mobile device.
  • Control your TV using the Xfinity X1 voice-activated remote of the Fios TV One voice-activated remote.

Xfinity also offers:

  • Quick navigation to find recent shows and channels you’ve watched.

Fios also offers:

  • Ability to control the TV with Amazon Alexa. Once you pair your Fios TV with Alexa, you can search for channels, shows, actors, and anything in the on-demand catalog. You can also pause, play, fast forward, or rewind by just telling Alexa to do so. It is compatible with the Echo Plus, Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, or Echo Show. 

What is Fios TV One?

Verizon recently came out with Fios TV One which is its brand new TV experience. With Fios TV One, they added four new features that were desperately needed to modernize their TV offering. 

Those four new features are:

Fios TV Voice Remote: With the new Fios TV Voice Remote, you no longer have to scroll for 5 minutes to find your favorite channels. Now, all you have to do is press a button on the remote and say “Tune to ESPN” or “Open NetFlix.” Another benefit; the remote connects via Bluetooth technology, so you don’t need to point it at the set-top box while giving voice commands. 

Wi-Fi Connected Boxes: You still have to plug the coaxial cord into the primary set-top box but, for every other TV in your house, the mini-boxes are connected to the main box via WiFi. So, you can put your TVs virtually anywhere in your home, as long as there’s a WiFi signal.  

4K Ultra HD: 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD) is currently the best screen resolution available, and now Fios is set up to deliver that superior quality. 

Direct Access to Netflix and YouTube: Now, you can access your favorite streaming services directly from the channel guide or, even easier, through your voice-activated remote. 

Fios vs. Xfinity: How Do Their Internet Services Compare?

When it comes to comparing internet services, the only thing that really matters is speed.

In short, Verizon can deliver a much faster internet than Xfinity because it is built on a newer infrastructure, called fiber-optic service, that is designed specifically for long-distance two-way data transfer.

Xfinity also provides high-speed internet; however, it is built on traditional coaxial cable infrastructure, which limits its capacity resulting in slower speeds than Xfinity.

Fios has several different internet packages that start at 100/100 Mbps download/upload speeds and go up to 940/880 Mbps.

Xfinity also has several packages that start at 15/2 Mbps download/upload speeds and go up to 2000/2000 Mbps, although these options will cost you a small fortune (~$300 a month).

It’s important to keep in mind that you can get up to the speed you signed up for, but your actual internet speeds depend on network demand, your hardware, and your provider’s infrastructure.

In NerdWallet.com’s article, How to Decide What Internet Speed You Need, they explain that the online tasks like video streaming, video conferences, and general web surfing require less than 10 Mbps.

Faster is always better, but it’s easy to get sold a higher speed internet than you really need. These are for-profit companies, after all.

Fiber Optic vs. Traditional Coaxial Cable: Why It Matters

Fios services are powered by their 100% fiber-optic network known for quickly transferring data and delivering the fastest internet speeds that exist today.

The name Fios comes from the term Fiber Optic Services.

What exactly is Fiber Optic Services?

It’s a new technology that uses fiber cables designed specifically to transmit digital data. Fiber uses light to transmit data rather than electricity, which enables higher frequencies and data capacity.

To use Fios services, fiber optic cables need to be installed directed into your house and plugged into a terminal box called an Optical Network Terminal or ONT, which can take several hours to install.

These cables are made out of glass or plastic, which, unlike metal cables, are not inclined to electromagnetic interference.

So what does this all mean?

Faster internet.

Due to its fiber-optic network, Fios offers the fastest internet speeds on the market.

Fiber cables are designed for two way transmission, which means upload and download speeds are equal.

With typical connections, download speeds are designed to be faster than upload speeds since most internet usage, such as loading a webpage or streaming videos, involves downloading data. However, upload speed, or how quickly you can send data, is more critical now than ever with the proliferation of social media, email, video chat, and other forms of two-way communication via the internet.

Xfinity’s download speeds compete with Fios; however, their upload speeds are often significantly lower, around 2-25 Mbps.

The main downside of fiber optics is that it requires a significant capital investment to make it available across the US. This is the reason why Fios is only available in 8 states compared to Xfinity, which is available in over 35.

Xfinity is delivered via traditional coaxial cables, which is the same infrastructure that delivered analog TV years ago.

Since this infrastructure has been around for much longer than fiber, 85% of households in the US are plugged into it.

Coaxial cable, or traditional cable, is a stable and reliable delivery method; however, unlike fiber, which uses light to transmit data and bandwidth, cable uses electrical currents, which means the data capacity and frequencies are much lower.

In other words, the internet speeds of cable (Xfinity) are slower than fiber (Fios).

Although cable is not as fast as fiber, it can deliver average download and upload speeds of 150 Mbps, which is much faster than DSL or satellite and more than enough for most consumers.

Unless you are a serious gamer or you run a business out of your house with dozens of devices accessing the wifi at the same time, you will be okay with Xfinity internet delivered via cable.

To recap, here are the pros and cons of fiber and cable.

Pros of fiber:

  • Fastest internet speeds available.
  • Upload and download speeds are equally high.
  • Fiber will be able to deliver even faster speeds as technology evolves, making it future proof.

Cons of fiber:

  • Not available in most regions yet.
  • It requires a special terminal box to be installed in your home, which can take several hours to set up.

Pros of cable:

  • Widely available.
  • Fast enough speeds.
  • Quick and easy install since most homes are already set up.

Cons of cable:

  • Slower than internet delivered via fiber optics.
  • Upload speeds are significantly slower than download speeds.

Check out these detailed posts from broadbandnow.com If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between Fio’s fiber optic and Xfinity’s cable infrastructures.

The Final Verdict: Which TV and Internet Provider Is Better?

As you just learned, there are so many aspects to consider when comparing Fios and Xfinity TV and Internet services.

Here is a quick recap of what we learned:

Availability: Fios is currently only available in 8 states, mostly on the east coast, while Xfinity is available in over 35 states.

Customer Service: They both enable customers to solve issues quickly either through online resources, web chat, or via phone.

Customer Satisfaction: Fios scored highest in customer satisfaction in both ACSI and J.D. Power reports.

Price: Fios has a lower average cost per channel; however, both companies offer a range of products with very similar pricing.

Installation: The installation process with Fios can take up to 6 hours, while Xfinity can be installed in less than an hour.

TV Packages: Both companies offer a wide selection of TV packages at different price levels.

DVR: Fios has a better DVR with two options up to 200 hours of storage, while Xfinity only offers one option up to 150 hours of storage.

On-Demand: Xfinity has significantly more titles available on-demand.

Special Features: With both providers, you can control your TV with their voice-activated remotes. With Fios, you can also pair it with Amazon Alexa.

Internet Speed: Fios is built on a fiber-optic network that enables faster internet speeds than Xfinity, which is built on a traditional coaxial cable network.

And the winner is…….Verizon Fios (see current deals on Verizon.com).

Fios and Xfinity are the industry leaders because they both offer exceptional products at affordable prices.

However, if it’s available in your region, I highly recommend choosing Fios.

Why?

First, internet speed. Fios has the advantage in terms of internet speeds (upload and download) with their modern fiber-optic infrastructure. 

Second, customer satisfaction. The results don’t lie. Year after year, Fios beats Xfinity in ACSI and J.D. Power reports. Everyone knows how frustrating it can be to deal with a provider when your internet or TV is down. With Fios, you get your problems solved quickly and without hassle. You can’t put a price on that. 

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

As I mentioned up-front, Fios offers exclusive deals if you purchase their service online (see current deals on Verizon.com).

If Fios isn’t available in your area, or you value a quick installation process and boatload of On-Demand options, Xfinity is an excellent option too. You can learn more about their services and discuss options by giving them a call at 844-769-0855.  

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

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4 COMMENTS

  1. I recently switched from Xfinity to FIOS and my main issue with FIOS is the GUIDE sucks. How can you NOT mention the guide in this review? Have you watched TV with both of these services or is this guide just based on you “reading” what each company offers?

    XFINITY lets you list all movies for the next 14 days in several ways including by Rotten Tomatoes Critic or Audience score. This is so valuable to be able to see all the movies available in the next 7 or 14 days and set the DVR to record them automatically. It is next to impossible to search for movies on FIOS even for just the next 24 hours let along 14 days. Also, the FOIS guide has garbage constantly on the screen you can’t get rid of so you can only see channels on half the screen instead of 90% of the screen on XFINITY. I am a GAMER, but XFINITY internet is plenty fast enough to play Fortnight or any game so I canceled FOIS after 2 weeks and have switched back to XFINITY.

    • Hi Mark,

      I appreciate the comment.

      I’ve had Fios in my home for 3 years and prior to that had Xfinity for over 5 years. So, to answer your question, this guide is based on my experience plus the information I’ve gathered directly from each provider (including in-depth phone calls and webchats).

      I didn’t go into detail about their guides for a couple of reasons.

      First, I focused this article on the characteristics that customers care most about which are pricing, channels and features, and internet speed. While I agree that the guide is important, most customers are not choosing their provider based on the guide.

      Second, Fios and Xfinity are constantly updating the layout and features of their guides. While one may be superior at the moment, in a month from now, the other could make an update that makes theirs better. So, in my opinion, it makes more sense to focus on the big-ticket items that are less variable.

      Also, I’ve found that every customer has difference preferences when it comes to the guide. Some customers love certain features while others don’t think they matter.

      Regardless, I appreciate your opinion and since I update this post monthly, I will consider adding information about the guides.

      Thanks for reading!
      Andrew

  2. Useful summary, but missing some key points.

    FiOS *no longer* provides compression-less TV. Their HD used to be true, pure HD but no longer. Their compression is as bad as Xfinity’s.

    Out of Home experience is awful with FiOS. Half of what you’ve recorded can’t be watched outside the home. And they don’t offer streaming on your PC (just Android and iOS).

    And regarding network speed, keep in mind that you’ll only get the web as fast as it can be served. Most users will be limited by the website servers and not the network. The extra bandwidth of FiOS only helps with multiple people streaming simultaneously.

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