How does DIRECTV compare to DIRECTV STREAM?

Although the names DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM are part of the same company, they have some notable differences to be aware of. The most noteworthy difference is that DIRECTV is a satellite service that requires a dish, whereas DIRECTV STREAM requires you to have high-speed internet service and a streaming device instead.

To help relieve some of the hassles of researching and choosing a new service provider, we’ve created this complete comparison of DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM.

Who DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM are for

Since DIRECTV is a satellite-based service that is available nationwide and DIRECTV STREAM services are available anywhere an internet connection of 8Mbps or higher is available, the choice between the two will likely come down to which bells and whistles are the most appealing to you.

DIRECTV is powered by satellite dishes and is a welcome option for those living in rural areas with limited choices when it comes to TV service. Another potential benefit of DIRECTV is that you’ll have access to many more channels compared to DIRECTV STREAM, including your favorite local channels and seasonal sports packages.

With DIRECTV, you also don’t have to worry about losing service if your internet goes out and you’ll have 500 hours of DVR storage. However, if having access to streaming services is important to you, they aren’t included with the DIRECTV service.

DIRECTV STREAM would be a good choice ifyou live in an area where satellite installation isn’t allowed, or if you’re interested in having live TV options as well as thousands of on-demand titles. With DIRECTV STREAM, you do not need a box and can play the service through a smart TV or streaming device. You will also have access to more than 7,000 apps, like HBO Max, Netflix, and Prime Video, so you can enjoy TV and streaming on the go. However, please note that your home TV service will go out if you encounter any type of internet outage.

Also, DIRECTV STREAM service costs a little more than DIRECTV, and if you want more than 20 hours of Cloud DVR storage, you’ll need to upgrade your service. On the other hand, DIRECTV STREAM gives you an option to opt out of signing a long-term contract, which is great if you don’t want to make a big commitment upfront. (If you commit to a 24-month contract, they’ll include your DIRECTV STREAM device at no extra cost.)

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Key considerations

Beyond the main difference of DIRECTV being a satellite service and DIRECTV STREAM running on high-speed internet, there are several other factors to consider when choosing which service is most ideal for you.

DIRECTV

  • Requires installation of a satellite dish
  • Four package options ranging from $64.99/month to $134.99/month for the first 12 months
  • The number of available channels ranges from 160 to 330+
  • Option to include NFL Sports Network and Sunday Ticket
  • On-demand streaming options are not included
  • All plans include 500 hours of DVR storage
  • A 24-month contract is required, with a price increase after 12 months

DIRECTV STREAM

  • Requires internet connection with a speed of at least 8Mbps, plus a modem which can be self-installed
  • Four package options that range from $69.99/month to $139.99/month
  • The number of available channels ranges from 65 to 140+
  • Access to between 40,000 and 60,000+ on-demand titles, depending on which package you choose
  • All plans include 20 hours of DVR storage and you can upgrade to unlimited DVR storage for an additional $10/month
  • You may choose to sign a contract and receive your DIRECTV STREAM device at no cost, or opt out of a long-term agreement and pay for your device separately.

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What others say about DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM

What are other experts saying about DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM?

DIRECTV STREAM reviews

DIRECTV STREAM reviews from industry leaders give the service high marks for its wide selection of international channels as well as Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) — although U.S. News & World Report adds that these channels often cost extra.

A review from PC Mag also commends DIRECTV STREAM for their RSNs, noting that it was the only live TV service they reviewed that offered RSNs from all three major networks. However, they also pointed out the higher price point for these capabilities and called the default DVR storage “underwhelming.”

DIRECTV reviews

In a recent J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study, DIRECTV ranked second nationally for customer satisfaction, placing 20 points behind DISH Network and 8 points ahead of Xfinity. A similar review by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) looked at subscription TV providers and ranked DIRECTV tied for third with DISH Network.

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How do DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM plans compare?

This side-by-side comparison of DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM gives a snapshot of package options, including price, channels, DVR storage, and contract requirements.*

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*Pricing varies by location and availability. Speeds may vary. All prices subject to change; for current pricing and availability visit our TV service page. Prices as of 1/28/22.

Disclosure | Updater articles are based on our own data and research, independent from partner relationships. We are not compensated by partners for information and opinions presented here. Our Editorial Terms of Service can be found here.