For a brief period I had simultaneous access to three television streaming services - DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, and Xfinity Streaming. I was trying out Xfinity while at the tail end of a DirecTV Now subscription, and I’m on my brother’s YouTube TV family plan. From the very first time I watched something on Xfinity I noticed that the picture quality suffered greatly whenever the image was moving quickly, so I decided to do a head to head test using the same content across all three.

Device: Roku Premiere+
Internet: Xfinity 60 mbps down
Connection: Ethernet
Show: So You Think You Can Dance
Content: The opening routine with the entire (remaining) cast

Xfinity:

Whenever the dancers moved quickly or the camera moved quickly around the dancers the picture immediately got very pixelated and blurry, but was perfectly clear when the picture slowed down.

DirecTV Now:

A much better image even through fast movement, though when the action got particularly fast it would pixelate a bit. Not great but light years better.

YouTube TV:

Far and away the best of the bunch. Through the entire routine the picture stayed crisp and looked amazing, albeit a touch dimmer.

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Stray Observations:

The “DVR” functionality with Xfinity is terrible for two important reasons. 1) having saved three HD shows I’d used about 33% of the available space, which is not ideal, and 2) there are no thumbnail images while shuttling around a show, so you have no idea where you are.

YTTV’s DVR isn’t any better because it’s almost non existent at this point. It used to work as a DVR where you could scrub around, but now most things are “restricted by the network” so you can only access the On Demand version of shows, which include ads that you can’t skip. Lame.