The world is rapidly shifting towards streaming platforms, but TV services are still widely used in America. Several cable, fiber, and satellite TV providers are available in the country for people who enjoy traditional TV experiences. But who is the best TV provider among all of these choices? The solution depends on your budgetary and lifestyle requirements.

Spectrum and DIRECTV are two well-liked TV service companies in America. If we compare their most prominent qualities, Spectrum TV is renowned for being reasonably priced, while DIRECTV is well-known for offering a vast collection of sports and movie channels. If these providers are the only alternatives in your region, you should read our Spectrum vs DIRECTV comparison before choosing between them.

Spectrum TV

Charter Communications is a leading player in the telecommunication market due to its Spectrum trademark. The company’s stellar services are the reason behind its solid reputation. Besides internet, home phone, and mobile services, Spectrum also offers a cable television service called Spectrum TV. This service provides entertainment to numerous customers across 41 states via a comprehensive cable infrastructure. 

As a result, Spectrum is a top video provider in the country, offering a variety of TV plans with an extensive channel lineup, over 85,000 On-Demand titles, and a free Xumo Stream Box for 6 months.

Pros

  • Contract-free service
  • Customizable TV packages
  • More than 85,000 On-Demand titles
  • Reasonable price
  • Over 170 popular channels
  • All plans include free Xumo Stream Box for 6 months

Cons

  • Price increases by $25 after 12 months
  • Low DVR storage compared to DirecTV

DIRECTV

Based in California, DIRECTV is a multichannel video programming provider in the country. Besides the TV service, the company also offers live TV streaming plans. DIRECTV’s satellite technology counts for this provider’s nationwide availability, making it more accessible than Spectrum TV. 

DIRECTV has recently introduced satellite-free TV plans, allowing the urban population to enjoy their favorite content without installing a dish at home. This provider is an excellent choice for traditional TV lovers, giving them access to over 185 networks, unlimited or 200 hours of HD DVR storage (depending on the plans), 90,000+ On-Demand movies and shows, and a complimentary Sports Pack for 7 months.

Pros

  • Nationwide availability
  • Multiple options to choose from
  • Excellent sports and movie networks
  • 2-year price guarantee
  • The freedom to access all the DIRECTV plans via your existing internet connection
  • 200 HD hours of DVR with DIRECTV plans connected via satellite, unlimited storage with DIRECTV plans connected via your internet connection
  • Premium channels included in the DIRECTV Premier plan
  • Special offer on premium networks with other options

Cons

  • Expensive plans
  • Require a 2-year contract
  • Susceptible to bad weather

TV Service Comparison – Spectrum vs DIRECTV

FeaturesSpectrum TVDIRECTV
Type of ServiceCable TVPay-TV
Number of Plans34
Price Range$39.99/mo. – $74.99/mo. for 12 mos*$69.99/mo. – $159.99/mo. for 24 mos.
Maximum ChannelsOver 170Over 185
On-Demand Titles85,000+60,000 – 90,000+
Streaming ServicesYesYes
Bundle DealsYesYes
ContractsNoneYes (2 years)
Additional ChargesA one-time fee of $65.00 for professional installationAdvanced Receiver Services fee is $15.00/mo.
A one-time activation fee of $30.00A one-time activation fee of $19.95 (satellite only)
A broadcast TV service charge of $25.75/mo.Regional Sports Fee of $15.99/mo. (optional)
The late payment fee is $8.95The late payment fee is $6.25
Coverage Area41 statesNationwide
Contact ProviderCall NowCall Now

Spectrum and DIRECTV provide television services through different technologies. While the latter relies on a fleet of satellites to serve its consumers, the former does so via coaxial wires. Both suppliers have distinctive qualities and conditions. Spectrum TV is an outstanding choice for those who don’t want to pay a lot for their subscription. On the other hand, DIRECTV is excellent for people who prefer variety and the flexibility to access the same plans through their internet connection.

Let’s discover which TV provider delivers the best service by evaluating Spectrum and DIRECTV plans, prices, channels, and bundle options.

TV Plans – Spectrum vs DIRECTV

The decision between Spectrum vs DIRECTV ultimately comes down to your preference, whether you prefer having more variety or saving some money. While DIRECTV offers several packages with incredible promos and perks, Spectrum TV offers three decent options. Let’s take a closer look at what their TV plans have to offer.

Spectrum

While Spectrum does not give you various options like DIRECTV, it gives you a solid channel lineup through its Spectrum TV Select Signature plan. This contract-free plan includes more than 150 popular channels, all in HD, and has a lower starting cost than DIRECTV’s entry-level option, $64.99 for the first 12 months. You can customize this plan with various add-ons and premium channels at an additional cost.

Additionally, if you are interested in local sports networks, you can upgrade to Spectrum TV Select Plus for a few extra dollars. Spectrum TV brings all your favorites together, offering a vast library of over 85,000 On-Demand titles and a Spectrum TV app to make things even better.

The company also offers a Spanish TV plan, Mi Latino. This plan caters to Latino customers as it delivers a large selection of more than 170 channels, including over 75 popular Spanish networks. Mi Plan Latino offers the best Latin American content from Mexico, Spain, and North America and is designed for pure entertainment.

Spectrum TV Plans
Plan Starting Price TV Channels Contact Spectrum
Select Signature $64.99/mo. 150+ Call Now
Select Plus $74.99/mo. 160+ Call Now
Mi Plan Latino $39.99/mo. 170+ Call Now
*price is valid for 12 mos. Taxes and fees apply in select states
**Limited time offer; subject to change
***Advertised price is without broadcast and other extra charges

Similarly to its internet service, Spectrum also offers this TV service at an introductory rate for 12 months and applies regular rates after that.

DIRECTV

DIRECTV gives you more choices but at a higher cost. You can choose from four diverse plans, accessible through satellite or your existing internet connection. It is up to you to decide which option works best for you. 

Apart from differences in equipment, promotions, and channels, there is minimal distinction between the plans. The number of channels remains consistent, regardless of whether you choose to connect via satellite or the internet. All DIRECTV plans have various channel counts and include a top-notch DVR. Storage capacity is another point of contention; customers connected via satellite receive 200 HD hours of storage, while those connected via the internet enjoy unlimited cloud storage that expires after 9 months. Additionally, DIRECTV imposes an unavoidable ARS fee, which makes its plans pricier than Spectrum TV.

Unlike Spectrum TV, DIRECTV plans also require a 2-year commitment but guarantee a fixed price throughout this period, easing concerns about price hikes in the second year. Furthermore, DIRECTV does not provide all networks in its channel lineup in HD, which further distinguishes it from Spectrum TV. Hence, every DIRECTV plan has a different number of HD channels.

DIRECTV Plans
Plan Starting Price TV Channels Contact Providers
ENTERTAINMENT $69.99/mo. 90+ Call Now
CHOICE™ $84.99/mo. 125+ Call Now
ULTIMATE $114.99/mo. 160+ Call Now
PREMIER $159.99/mo. 185+ Call Now
*For 2 years with AutoPay and Paperless Bill discount. Taxes and other charges may apply
**Mentioned prices do not include the $15 Advanced Receiver Services fee
***RSNs are available on Choice and higher packages for an additional fee of $15.99/mo.

TV Channels – Spectrum vs DIRECTV

Do the number of channels matter? Well, a plan with a higher channel count may seem tempting at first, but eventually, it forces you to pay for the channels you’ll never watch. Most providers structure their plans in such a way that they include your favorite networks in their most expensive packages, compelling you to choose them.

However, Spectrum takes a reasonably straightforward approach because its TV plan contains all the most popular channels. Let’s examine the channel lineups of Spectrum and DIRECTV.

Popular TV Channels

American networks have a significant impact all over the world. Their channels’ content is watched globally even nowadays when streaming services are gradually replacing traditional TV. The largest American networks are still producing millions of viewers every day. The most watched TV channels in America include CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, Fox News, ESPN, MSNBC, Ion, HGTV, and Univision.

Here is how Spectrum and DIRECTV compare in terms of popular TV channels.

Famous TV ChannelsSpectrum TVDIRECTV
A&EAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
ABC
ACC NetworkAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
AMC
American Heroes ChannelAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
Animal Planet
BBC AmericaAvailable on Select Signature & Plus packages
BET
BoomerangOnly available on Mi Plan Latino
Bravo
Cartoon NetworkOnly available on Mi Plan Latino
CBS
CBS Sports NetworkAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
CMTAvailable on Select Signature & Plus packages
CNBCAvailable on Select Signature & Plus packages
CNNAvailable on Select Signature & Plus packages
Comedy Central
Cooking ChannelAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
C-SPAN
C-SPAN2
C-SPAN3
Destination AmericaAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
Disney Channel
Disney Junior
Disney XD
Discovery Channel
Discovery LifeAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
E!
ESPNAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
ESPN2Available on Select Signature & Plus Packages
ESPNEWSAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
ESPNUAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
Food Network
FOX Business NetworkAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
FOX News ChannelAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
Freeform
FS1Available on Select Signature & Plus Packages
FS2Available on Ultimate and Premier Packages
Fuse TVAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
FX
FXMAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
FXX
Hallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies & MysteriesAvailable on Entertainment and Premier Packages
HGTV
HLNAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
HSN
IFCAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
Investigation Discovery
LifetimeAvailable on Select Signature & Plus PackagesAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
LMNAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
MLB NetworkOnly available on Select PlusAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
MotorTrend
MSNBCAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
MTV
MTV ClassicAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
National Geographic
Nat Geo WildAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
NBA TVOnly available on Select PlusAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
NBC
NFL NetworkOnly available on Select PlusAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
Nickelodeon
Nick Jr.Only available on Mi Plan LatinoAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
Oxygen True CrimeAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
OWNAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
QVC
QVC2Available on Select Signature & Plus Packages
Reelz Channel
Smithsonian ChannelAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
Sundance ChannelAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
Syfy
TBS
TeenNick
TLC
TNT
The Science ChannelAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
Travel ChannelAvailable on Select Signature & Plus PackagesAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
TruTVAvailable on Select Signature & Plus PackagesAvailable on Choice™ and higher packages
TV LandOnly available on Mi Plan Latino
UnivisionOnly available on Mi Plan Latino
Universal KidsAvailable on Ultimate and Premier Packages
USA Network
VH1
WE tvAvailable on Select Signature & Plus Packages
Learn MoreCall NowCall Now
*Channels for DIRECTV plans via satellite.
**The availability of these channels may vary when accessing DIRECTV’s plans via your existing internet connection.

Premium Channels & Add-Ons

TV providers are slowly giving up their dominance over viewers by offering customizable plans. Spectrum and DIRECTV, for instance, provide a range of premium channels as add-ons for an extra monthly fee (particularly on most DIRECTV plans). 

However, DIRECTV distinguishes itself by offering a special offer on these channels. It includes most premium networks for free for the first three months. Moreover, these networks are a part of the DIRECTV Premier Plan at no additional cost. Hence, subscribers can enjoy excellent content without paying more charges every month.

Here is a breakdown of the most premium channels’ prices by Spectrum and DIRECTV.

Premium ChannelsSpectrum TVDIRECTV
MAX$15.00/mo.Free for 3 mos., then $15.99/mo.
CINEMAX$10.00/mo.Free for 3 mos., then $11.00/mo.
SHOWTIME$10.00/mo.Free for 3 mos., then $11.99/mo.
STARZ$9.00/mo.Free for 3 mos., then $11.00/mo.
MGM+$6.00/mo.Free for 3 mos., then $6.00/mo.
Contact ProviderCall NowCall Now

Sports Channels

Americans are crazy about their sports, which is why both providers offer something special to sports enthusiasts. If we compare both providers, DIRECTV has a greater channel lineup for sports than Spectrum. Additionally, DIRECTV offers exclusive passes during gaming seasons, allowing you to watch regular-season out-of-market games.

DIRECTV Sports Channels

All DIRECTV plans include the Sports Pack for a month at no additional charges, giving you access to local and international action-packed content. You can expect the following sports channels with DIRECTV.

DIRECTV Sports Channels
Big Ten NetworkCBS Sports Network
ESPNESPN2
ESPNEWSESPNU
FanDuel TVFOX Sports 1
FOX Sports 2Golf Channel
MLB NetworkNBA TV
Next Level SportsNFL Network
NFL RedZoneNHL Network
Tennis ChannelSEC Network
Sportsman ChannelTyC Sports

Besides these networks, DIRECTV also offers the following regional sports channels on Choice and higher packages for an additional monthly fee of $15.99.

DIRECTV Regional Sports Channels
Altitude SportsBally Sports Cincinnati
Bally Sports DetroitBally Sports Florida
Bally Sports Great LakesBally Sports Midwest
Bally Sports NorthBally Sports Ohio
Bally Sports OklahomaBally Sports San Diego
Bally Sports SoCalBally Sports South
Bally Sports SoutheastBally Sports Southwest
Bally Sports SunBally Sports West
Bally Sports WisconsinLonghorn Network HD
Marquee Sports NetworkMASN
Monumental Sports NetworkMSG
MSG SportsNetMSG Sports Bay Area
MSG Sports BostonMSG Sports California
MSG Sports ChicagoNESN
ROOT SPORTS NorthwestSNY
Space City Home NetworkSpectrum SportsNet
Spectrum SportsNet Los AngelesSportsNet Pittsburgh
YES Network

Spectrum TV Sports Channels

In contrast, Spectrum TV does not include many sports channels. However, it does offer a Sports View add-on that gives you access to 20+ sports channels like MLB Strike Zone, NFL RedZone, and more.

Spectrum TV offers the following sports channels in its Select and Mi Latino plans

Spectrum TV Sports Channels
AyM SportsBeIN Sports
ESPNESPN Deportes
ESPN2FOX Deportes
FOX Sports 1FanDuel TV
MLB NetworkNBA TV
NFL NetworkNHL Network
SEC NetworkTennis Channel

With its Sports View add-on, you can get the following additional channels.

Spectrum Sports View Channels
ACC NetworkBTN
ESPNEWSFOX Sports 2
Golf ChannelMAVTV Motorsports Network
MLB Strike ZoneNFL RedZone
Outdoor ChannelWillow TV

Streaming Services – Spectrum vs DIRECTV

More people are cutting the cord due to the growing number of streaming services. These platforms are quickly becoming more popular due to their affordability. As a result, many traditional TV companies now provide streaming services to remain in business. Some such companies include Spectrum and DIRECTV, but which one offers the best streaming content? Let’s investigate.

DIRECTV Stream

DIRECTV Stream allows its consumers to enjoy the same number of channels as DIRECTV but without the filler networks and the obligation to sign a 2-year contract. This service is compatible with multiple devices, and you can use it on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung TV, Android, and iOS.

DIRECTV Stream offers four plans, with the basic package starting at $79.99 per month, and includes over 90 channels and many other benefits. Currently, there is a monthly discount of $10 on all DIRECTV Stream plans for the first three months. Moreover, new customers of Choice and Ultimate packages can also enjoy a free month of Sports Pack.

DIRECTV Stream PlanPromotional PriceLive TV Channels
ENTERTAINMENT + Sports Pack$69.98/mo. + tax for 2 mos.75+
CHOICE™ + Sports Pack$83.99/mo. + tax for 1 mo.105+
ULTIMATE + Sports Pack$94.99/mo. + tax for 1 mo.140+
PREMIER + Sports Pack$139.99/mo. + tax for 1 mo.150+
*$25 off for the first 2 months, after which regular rates apply
**Sports Pack is included for 1 month on Choice and higher packages for free, after which a monthly fee of $14.99 will apply

Spectrum TV Stream

Spectrum Internet customers can access two live TV streaming plans, Spectrum TV Stream and TV Stream Latino. With monthly subscriptions starting from $24.99, these streaming options by Spectrum are cheaper than DIRECTV Stream, providing a personalized entertainment experience without requiring a cable box. 

Where Spectrum TV Stream gives you over 85 channels, TV Stream Latino brings Spanish content to your home by providing more than 45 Spanish Channels and thousands of On-Demand movies and shows. You can subscribe to any Spectrum TV streaming plan to watch your favorite movies, original series, or live sports anytime and anywhere via the Spectrum TV app.

Spectrum Streaming PlansStarting PriceChannel Count
TV Stream Latino$24.99/mo.45+
TV Stream$39.99/mo.80+

Coverage Area

There are multiple types of TV internet providers, but cable and satellite TV suppliers dominate the market due to wider availability. DIRECTV and Spectrum are the leading TV providers in America due to this reason. Since Spectrum uses the same cable network to deliver cable and internet services, you can easily find this provider in 41 states, excluding Rhode Island, Alaska, Iowa, Arkansas, Delaware, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Utah.

In contrast, DIRECTV utilizes a satellite to transfer data, making it accessible across the country. As a result, you can watch high-quality content from these TV providers practically anywhere in the country.

Customer Service

Customer service can make or break a brand. Therefore, providing excellent customer service is essential for converting potential clients into devoted ones, particularly now that technological advancement has hastened the cord-cutting trend. Every year, several well-known customer reviewers publish their annual assessments of the best TV providers based on several criteria, including HD image quality, mobile app, and more.

So, Spectrum vs. DIRECTV? Which provider is known for its customer service? This year’s ACSI report on subscription TV services reveals that while DIRECTV managed to score above the industry average, Spectrum TV’s score is equal to the industry. Although Spectrum has shown improvement from the previous year, it ranks second to last in ACSI’s subscription TV service list for customer satisfaction.

ACSI RankingSpectrum TVDIRECTV
20236567
20226366

Bundle Options – Spectrum vs DIRECTV

Looking for market-competitive bundles? We all know that bundling provides a hassle-free way to enjoy all your services. Spectrum and DIRECTV both offer some of the best bundles deals for TV, internet and phone with tempting perks.

Spectrum

If you are a Spectrum customer, you can combine your Spectrum TV, Internet, and Voice services for a convenient billing process. Spectrum bundles come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and introductory rates for a year. While the prices of Spectrum Internet Ultra and Gig remain fixed for two years, the company applies the standard charges on TV service after 12 months.

Spectrum bundles allow you to enjoy a high-speed internet plan of your choice, top-quality TV service, and a home phone with more than 28 features at market-competitive rates. Plus, the provider also gives you a free Xumo Stream Box for 6 months with these packages.

Spectrum TV & Internet Bundles
BundleStarting PriceInternet SpeedTV Channels
TV Select Signature + Internet$114.98/mo.300 Mbps150+
TV Select Plus + Internet$124.98/mo.300 Mbps160+
Mi Plan Latino + Internet$89.98/mo.300 Mbps170+
*Bundles’ prices are valid for 12 mos. Taxes and fees apply in select states
**Limited time offer; subject to change
*** The advertised price is without broadcast and other extra charges
****Internet speeds, including WiFi, may vary

DIRECTV

DIRECTV, in contrast, works with internet service providers like AT&T and CenturyLink and lets you combine its services with their internet packages. However, its packages are pricier and come with a 2-year contract. DIRECTV bundles are still a top option for many individuals thanks to their extensive channel lineup, excellent DVR, and high-quality AT&T internet service.

DIRECTV Bundles
BundleStarting PriceInternet SpeedTV Channels
ENTERTAINMENT + AT&T Fiber 300$124.99/mo.300 Mbps90+
CHOICE + AT&T Fiber 300$139.99/mo.300 Mbps125+
ULTIMATE + AT&T Fiber 300$169.99/mo.300 Mbps160+
ULTIMATE + CenturyLink Internet$169.99/mo.100 Mbps160+
PREMIER + CenturyLink Internet$214.99/mo.100 Mbps185+
*The mentioned bundles’ prices do not include the $15 Advanced Receiver Services fee required with DIRECTV
**RSNs are available on DIRECTV Choice and higher packages for an additional fee of $15.99/mo.
***CenturyLink Internet’s speeds go up to 140 Mbps in some areas
****CenturyLink Internet is $50/mo. in MT, ND, and WA.

Additional Charges

Before signing up with either DIRECTV or Spectrum, you should be aware of the extra fees imposed by both providers with their TV packages. Therefore, we have compiled a list to help you understand what else will be included in your monthly TV bill in addition to your TV plan.

Additional FeeSpectrum TVDIRECTV
Installation$65.00None
Activation Fee$30.00$19.95 for 1stt device (via satellite) & $49.00 for each extra receiver
ETFNoneUp to $480
Receiver Fee$12.50/mo. per outlet$15.00/month
Broadcast TV Fee$25.75/mo.N/A
DVR Service Fee1 DVR Receiver: $12.99/mo.Included
2 to 4 DVR Receiver: $19.99/mo.
Cloud DVR Plus: $9.99/mo.
Regional Sports FeeN/A$15.99/mo.
*Prices are subject to change and may vary depending on your location.

Final Verdict

Despite the rapid shift towards streaming platforms, many Americans still prefer to sit with their families and enjoy television the traditional way. This is why numerous cable, fiber, and satellite TV providers still offer their services in the country. And while Fiber TV is a top service, its limited availability leads many people to trust the widely available cable and satellite TV providers. We have produced this Spectrum vs DIRECTV guide specifically for people who enjoy a classic TV experience.