Several others before you have trodden on this path of confusion and mistook one service for another. To clear the muddle a little, let us just first blatantly state that DirecTV and DirecTV Stream are not synonymous. Although both are offered by the same TV programming distributor, DirecTV, the two services are quite different from one another in terms of signal transmission, operations, and content distribution.

In this DirecTV vs. DirecTV Stream blog, we have highlighted the key differences between the two services to clear your doubts once and for all. 

DirecTV

DirecTV is a multichannel video programming distributor that offers paid satellite TV service to its residential and business customers. The company was founded in June 1994 as a digital satellite service provider, and by 2005, it had become the leading satellite TV service in the USA. In 2015, AT&T acquired DirecTV and announced that it will combine its existing IPTV service, called U-Verse, and DirecTV under one subsidiary, or “home entertainment gateway”. The subsidiary, now known as DirecTV, is co-owned by AT&T (70 percent share) and TPG Capital (30 percent share). 

Currently, DirecTV offers satellite TV service to more than 13.5 million subscribers all over the country, including remote and rural areas. The pay TV service starts at $35 per month and can offer up to 350 channels and 80,000 on-demand shows and movies. For details about the DirecTV channel list, you can refer to the DirecTV Channel Guide

The company is based in El Segundo, California, and operates a fleet of 12 satellites in geostationary orbit to transmit data all across North America. 

Subscribe to DirecTV Plans at a Promotional Price

Plans Starting at $34.99/mo.

Call 1-877-209-3574 Now!

DirecTV Stream 

In 2016, AT&T decided to diversify its portfolio and suggested launching contract-free streaming services for premium content. In November 2016, AT&T announced the rollout of DirecTV Now (also briefly known as AT&T TV from 2019 to 2021) which later became DirecTV Stream

Like other popular streaming services in the country, DirecTV Stream too requires a fast internet connection with a minimum download speed of 8 Mbps. Customers can stream content on 20 devices at once, as long as they have gigabit and multi-gigabit broadband speeds. DirecTV Stream offers up to 150 channels on its elite monthly plans, and viewers can take their pick from the 80,000 on-demand movies and shows that are available for streaming and downloading.  

At first glance, DirecTV Stream may look like the priciest streaming service in America, but when you consider the fact your subscription opens the doors to around 7,000 streaming apps such as Netflix, HBO Max, Pandora, YouTube, and Prime Video, the exclusive service feels worth the cost. 

Subscribe to DirecTV Stream

  • 150+ Live TV Channels
  • DVR Cloud Recording
  • Streaming on Unlimited Devices
  • Plans Starting at $69.99/mo.

Call 877-209-3574 Now!

Pros and Cons – DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream

Both the DirecTV and DirecTV Stream services are subscription TV services that offer 24/7 entertainment to audiences all across America. One functions a lot like cable TV services, whereas the other allows users to live stream up to 150 TV channels and millions of shows and movies that are in store. 

DirecTV and DirecTV Stream both have their fair share of highs and lows. Those who live in the remote parts of the country and have little to no access to cable TV and internet connections will benefit from the DirecTV satellite TV service. Whereas, those looking for a bundled streaming service along with access to popular TV channels at affordable monthly rates will find DirecTV Stream to be the most suitable option. 

Here are some pros and cons of DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream to help you pick the best service for your home. 

TV Service  Pros  Cons 
DirecTV  Satellite pay TV service Price hikes after 1 year
More channels Does not offer access to streaming services
Available nationwide Needs professional installation
Does not need an internet connection Requires a 2-year contract
Sunday Night NFL ticket Requires a credit check
Access to premium channels for first 3 months Service interruptions in inclement weather
Add-on packages are available
Genie HD DVR
More than 400 hrs of 4K recording 
DirecTV Stream  Pros  Cons 
Live streaming of DirecTV Requires high-speed internet
Price remains the same after 1 year Less channels 
Does not require contract More expensive than other streaming services
Easy, self-installation Seasonal sports pack is not included
Access to Netflix, Pandora, Youtube Limited options of local and regional channels
Has a voice remote control Only 20 hrs of recording in SD and HD 
Does not require credit check
Simultaneous streaming on 20 devices
Up to 60,000 on-demand shows and movies

Plans and Pricing – DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream 

DirecTV’s pay-TV service and streaming services cost at least $30 more than the average TV subscription. The average cost of cable TV in the USA is $70 per month, and the maximum number of channels a provider can carry is 1,800. In comparison, the average monthly subscription fee of a streaming service is around $10 per month, and live TV streaming sites, such as YouTube TV, cost $58 per month. 

DirecTV services are costlier than their major competitors, but you pay for the quality and quantity of content on your TV screens. 

A deeper look at the DirecTV and DirecTV Stream plans and pricings will reveal that you are getting more than what you pay for when you subscribe to these services. In reality, both services offer bundle deals on each of their monthly plans and open doors to round-the-clock, unlimited entertainment with free access to premium channels. 

Monthly Plans for DirecTV 

DirecTV follows a three-tier plan system to ensure that every customer in its vast consumer base feels like they are being offered tailored services for their specific needs. For instance, DirecTV’s most affordable base plan, known as DirecTV Select Package, starts at $35 per month and carries over 150 popular TV channels, including sports, news, and lifestyle networks. For someone living in the countryside and looking for two to three hours of on-screen entertainment, ‘Select’ plan will be the best as it provides everything they need. They will neither have to fret about the lack of cable networks in the area nor the delivery of broadband services.  

On the other hand, a family living in a Beverly Hills mansion, whose bread and butter depends on the entertainment industry, will most probably opt for the top-tier, DirecTV Premium plan. They can watch unlimited local and international content to stay on top of the latest industry trends. The following table lists all DirecTV Plans:

DirecTV Plan Promo Price Channels Perks Contact DirecTV
Select $34.99/mo 150+
  • Genie HD DVR included
  • 50+ HD channels included
  • Premium channels included
Call Now
Entertainment $64.99/mo 165+
  • Genie HD DVR included
  • 60+ HD channels included
  • 45,000+ On Demand titles
  • Premium channels included
Call Now
Choice $69.99/mo 200+
  • Genie HD DVR included
  • 85+ HD channels included
  • 50,000+ On Demand titles
  • Premium channels included
  • NFL Sunday Ticket included
Call Now
Ultimate $89.99/mo 270+
  • Genie HD DVR included
  • 115+ HD channels included
  • 60,000+ On Demand titles
  • Premium channels included
  • NFL Sunday Ticket included
Call Now
Premier 139.99/mo 340+
  • Genie HD DVR included
  • 185+ HD channels included
  • 80,000+ On Demand titles
  • Premium channels included
  • NFL Sunday Ticket included
Call Now

DirecTV’s Choice Package is the perfect pick for sports lovers. Movie buffs should opt for the DirecTV Ultimate pack to enjoy all the must-see blockbusters. 

Monthly Plans for DirecTV Stream 

Like the DirecTV service, DirecTV Stream too has different plans to offer specialized services to its millions of subscribers. The starter pack for DirecTV Stream is the Entertainment package. It has more than 75 must-have sports, news, and entertainment channels for a monthly fee of $70. The plan includes access to nearly 7,000 preloaded streaming apps such as HBO Max, Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon Prime Video. Just click on the app selection at the bottom of your TV screen and sign in to your app-related account to enjoy hassle-free streaming. 

Initially, the limited number of channels on DirecTV Stream may make you apprehensive about the service but having free access to premium channels, over 80,000 on-demand titles, and the highest number of regional sports networks will pull you in. 

DirecTV Stream is the only streaming service in the USA that gives you a free voice-activated remote control. So, instead of wasting time typing and clicking to navigate through an array of content on the screen, just press the ‘talk’ button on your remote control to activate the virtual assistant and ask for exactly what you need. 

Take a look at the tiered DirecTV Stream plans to pick the one that best meets your needs. 

Plans Price Channels Perks Contact DirecTV
Entertainment $69.99/mo. 75+
  • Streaming on unlimited devices
  • 20 hours of cloud DVR recording
  • Access to other 7000 apps including, HBO Max, Prime Video, and Netflix
Call Now
Choice $89.99/mo. 105+
  • Streaming on unlimited devices
  • 20 hours of cloud DVR recording
  • Access to other 7000 apps including, HBO Max, Prime Video, and Netflix
  • Regional sports networks included
Call Now
Ultimate $104.99/mo. 140+
  • Streaming on unlimited devices
  • 20 hours of cloud DVR recording
  • Access to other 7000 apps including, HBO Max, Prime Video, and Netflix
  • Regional sports networks included
Call Now
Premier 149.99/mo. 150+
  • Streaming on unlimited devices
  • 20 hours of cloud DVR recording
  • Access to other 7000 apps including, HBO Max, Prime Video, and Netflix
  • Regional sports networks included
Call Now

Additional Fees – DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream

While looking for the best on-screen entertainment service for your home, you must be wary of the hidden costs associated with your purchase. Most advertisements will leave out the disclaimers for the digital or printed bills. We have been there, and we know how shocking it can be to see an unexplained $20 additional charge on your monthly TV bill. 

Luckily, DirecTV is quite transparent with its fees and surcharges. Both DirecTV and DirecTV Stream provide free installation. The difference is that for DirecTV, you will have to request a professional installation, whereas DirecTV Stream installation is a quick and easy affair. The company will send you a self-installation kit via mail and the setup only takes a few minutes. 

Additional Fees – DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream
Fee DirecTV DirecTV Stream
Equipment Installation Free Free
Equipment Rental $7 per month $120 one-time or $5/month
Service Activation $19.95 $19.95
Upgraded DVR Device Not Applicable $10 per month
Regional Sports Channels Up to $11.99 per month Up to $8.49
Service Cancellation $15 Not Applicable
Early Termination $20/month for every remaining month Not Applicable

Unlike DirecTV Stream, DirecTV is a contract-based service, and canceling your subscription before the contract expiration date will result in an early termination fee of $20 per month for every remaining month. Moreover, DirecTV charges its users a flat $15 cancellation fee even after the contract has ended. 

When you add up all the additional charges on your DirecTV vs. DirecTV Stream subscriptions, you will notice that overall, DirecTV is more expensive than DirecTV stream.

DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream – Comparison

We have summarized some of the main differences between DirecTV and DirecTV Stream in the table below.

DirecTVDirecTV Stream
Satellite pay TV serviceA live TV streaming service
Cannot curate your channel lineupCurate and organize channels
Cannot pause or rewind the contentPause and rewind live TV content
Does not need an internet connectionNeeds a high-speed internet
Service available nationwideService available nationwide
Requires professional installationSelf-installation kit
Equipment includes dish and DVREquipment includes streaming device and DVR
Other streaming apps/ services are not availableMore than 7,000 streaming apps
Includes NFL Sunday TicketSeasonal Sports packs not included
Needs a credit checkDoes not need a credit check
Pricey pay TV servicePricey streaming service
Needs a 2-year contractDoes not need a contract
Price hike after 1 yearNo price hike after 1 year
More channelsLess channels
Up to 80,000 on-demand titlesUp to 80,000 on-demand titles
Access to premium channelsAccess to premium channels
Does not have a voice remote controlHas a voice remote control
Up to 500 hrs of DVR recordingUp to 20 hrs of DVR recording

Channel Selection 

The DirecTV channel selection includes over 190 additional channels that are unavailable on DirecTV Stream. For most users, this may not be a significant point of contention for the DirecTV vs. DirecTV Stream debate because both services carry all the in-demand channels. Also, having access to more than 80,000 sought-after shows and movies will not leave anytime for viewers to flick through the extra 200 channels.

The premium channels included in DirecTV and DirecTV Stream plans are as follows:

Premium Channels  DirecTV Plans  DirecTV Stream Plans 
HBO Max
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers.
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers.
Cinemax
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers
EPIX
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate, and Premier plans for the first 3 months
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate, and Premier plans for the first 3 months
SHOWTIME
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers
STARZ
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers
  • Included in Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate for the first 3 months.
  • Unlimited access for the Premier pack subscribers

To summarize, it is only the DirecTV and DirecTV STream Premier plans that give free and unlimited access to premium channels. However, EPIX is only available on the house for the promo period of 3 months.

Final Word

It would not be wrong to say that DirecTV has something to offer everyone. Its satellite TV service is ideal for those who live in remote areas, struggle with internet speeds, prefer to have a broad collection of channels, and love to spend quality time with their family by huddling around the TV screens. 

In contrast, DirecTV Stream is a live TV streaming service that gives users the flexibility to pause, rewind, record, and curate content. It is ideal for families where each member prefers solo screen time or binge-watching sessions based on their unique taste. The service allows simultaneous streaming on 20 devices through the creation of 20 sub-accounts on one primary email ID. 

As our valued reader, we will let you be the best judge of the DirecTV vs DirecTV Stream debate.   

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