DirecTV Stream offers a wide variety of channels, including local channels, sports channels, and entertainment channels. With its cloud DVR feature, you can record and save unlimited shows to watch later. The service also supports multi-screen streaming, allowing you to watch simultaneously on up to three devices. DirecTV Stream provides a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate, enhancing your streaming experience.
With prices starting at $74/month, DirecTV Stream may not be the cheapest live TV streaming service out there. However, if you're looking for a service offering a wide variety of channels and features, it's worth considering.
Ditching your cable provider has become easier because of the increasing number of video streaming services that focus on providing live TV. One such service is DirecTV Stream (previously known as AT&T TV). This alternative to cable performs well and offers a wide range of channel options. It has also relaxed some of its strict DVR restrictions. However, this improved service is still relatively expensive compared to other live TV streaming options. Is the service worth the added cost? Let's find out in this DirecTV Stream review.
What Is DirecTV Stream?
DirecTV Stream is a live TV streaming service that offers more than 150 live TV channels, including local channels, sports channels, and cable channels. It also provides a cloud DVR that allows you to record shows to watch later.
DirecTV Stream was founded in 1994 by Hughes Electronics as DirectTV, a subsidiary of General Motors, as a satellite service. In 2015, AT&T swept in, acquiring DirecTV and continuing its legacy and diversifying into the streaming market the following year, rebranding it as DirecTV Now.
With the intention to streamline its TV and video offerings in 2019, AT&T again morphed DirecTV Now into AT&T TV, unifying its services under a single brand. Fast-forward to August 2021, a significant restructuring transpired as AT&T partnered with TPG Capital, carving out DirecTV as a standalone business, this time reborn as DirecTV Stream. Through these transitions and growth, DirecTV Stream's headquarters have remained in El Segundo, California.
DIRECTV also sells satellite TV subscriptions, which are not cheap. The monthly subscription starts at $74.99/month, and if you want to watch your local regional sports network, you'll need to pay for the $99.99 Choice package.
DirecTV Stream competes with companies like YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu Live, and Fubo. It’s a good option for people who want to watch live TV without subscribing to a traditional cable or satellite TV service. It offers a wide variety of channels, including many that are not available on other live TV streaming services.
Features Of DirecTV Stream
Let's explore the features of DirecTV Stream and their specific benefits to users.
#1 Wide Variety of Channels
DirecTV Stream offers a wide variety of channels (more than 150) to cater to different interests and preferences. Whether you're a sports fan, a news junkie, or a movie buff, you'll find channels that suit your taste. The lineup includes local channels for staying updated on regional news and events, sports channels for catching live games and matches, and entertainment channels for enjoying various shows and movies. With such a diverse selection, you'll always have something to watch and never run out of options.
#2 Cloud DVR with Unlimited Storage Space
With DirecTV Stream's cloud DVR, you can say goodbye to the limitations of traditional DVRs. The service provides unlimited storage space, allowing you to record as many shows as you want and watch them at your convenience. Whether it's a series you follow or a one-time event, you can save it all without worrying about running out of storage. This is one of the key benefits of this service compared to the competition. Enjoy the freedom of recording your favorite shows and movies and watching them whenever you please, even if you're not near your TV.
#3 Multi-Screen Streaming
DirecTV Stream lets you stream content on multiple devices simultaneously. With the ability to stream on up to three screens at the same time, you can cater to the preferences of everyone in your household. Whether you're at home or on the go, you can watch your favorite shows and movies on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or smart TV.
#4 User-Friendly Interface
DirecTV Stream offers a user-friendly interface designed for ease of use and navigation. The interface has a clean and intuitive design, making it easy to find and access your favorite channels and shows. With just a few clicks or taps, you can browse through the available content, switch between channels, and explore different genres. The user-friendly interface ensures a seamless and enjoyable streaming experience, saving you time and effort in finding what you want to watch. Whether you're a tech-savvy user or a beginner, you'll find navigating and making the most of your streaming experience easy.
#5 On-Demand Content
DirecTV Stream also has a wide range of on-demand content, allowing you to stream movies and shows whenever you want, even if you never recorded them using your unlimited DVR space. In other words, even if a particular title is not in your DVR, you can still access it from the on-demand section. Whether it's catching up on missed episodes or discovering new content, you'll have a library of options at your fingertips. Remember that some on-demand content may include unskippable ads, but the convenience of accessing a vast selection of shows and movies outweighs this drawback for many users.
#6 No Contracts Or Hidden Fees
One great perk of DirecTV Stream is its contract-free approach. You are not tied to any long-term commitments or contracts, allowing you to cancel or modify your subscription anytime. DirecTV Stream aims to provide transparency by avoiding hidden fees. Knowing you won't encounter surprise charges or unexpected costs, you can have peace of mind. This straightforward pricing model allows you to enjoy the streaming service without worrying about being locked into an unwanted contract or dealing with hidden fees that can inflate your monthly bill.
Pros of DirecTV Stream
- Large Selection of Channels: DirecTV Stream offers over 150 channels, ensuring you have access to diverse content, including local channels, sports networks, and popular cable channels.
- Unlimited Cloud DVR: With DirecTV Stream, you can enjoy unlimited cloud DVR storage, recording and saving your preferred shows and movies for later viewing. However, you will store a maximum of 30 episodes if you're recording a series.
- Easy to Use: DirecTV Stream is designed to be user-friendly, with an easy interface that simplifies navigation.
- Multi-Screen Streaming: DirecTV Stream enables multi-screen streaming, allowing you to enjoy your favorite content simultaneously on multiple devices. Whether you prefer streaming on your TV, smartphone, tablet, or computer, you can access DirecTV Stream across different screens, providing flexibility and convenience.
- No Contracts or Hidden Fees: DirecTV Stream operates on a no-contract basis, meaning you're not tied to a long-term commitment. Additionally, the service aims to be transparent with its pricing, avoiding hidden fees that can surprise subscribers.
Cons Of DirecTV Stream
- Expensive: DirecTV Stream is more costly compared to other live TV streaming options. The cost may deter some users, especially considering the monthly subscription fees and potential add-ons.
- Not All Channels Available in All Areas: While DirecTV Stream offers a wide selection of channels, not all channels may be available at your location. The availability of specific channels can vary based on location, which may limit access to certain content depending on where you live.
- Some Users Have Reported Buffering Issues: Some users have reported experiencing buffering issues while streaming with DirecTV Stream. Buffering can interrupt the smooth playback of content and lead to frustration for viewers, particularly during live events or when watching high-definition programs.
DirecTV Stream provides four different packages, and the price of each package depends on the number and types of channels included. The plans range in price from $74.99 to $154.99 monthly, plus taxes.
- The Entertainment package costs $74.99 monthly and offers 75 channels.
- The next package is called Choice, priced at $99.99 per month, and includes 105 channels, including regional sports networks, NBA TV, MLB Network, and college sports networks.
- The Ultimate package comes next, costing $109.99 monthly and providing 140 channels, including Golf Channel and NHL Network.
- The highest-tier package is Premier, which costs $154.99 monthly and includes additional premium channels like HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, and Cinemax.
DirecTV Stream Streaming Experience
The web interface of DirecTV Stream is simple and easy to navigate, with a clean design and uniform-looking lists. The primary navigation appears when you click down on the remote. The main sections to browse include the Guide, Watch Now, My Library, Sports, and On Demand.
All channels are listed alphabetically in the Guide section, and you can mark channels as favorites for quick access. You can also preview the guide up to two weeks in advance using the Jump to Day setting. Navigating the guide is straightforward, although there might be a slight delay when loading show descriptions.
You are taken directly to a live program when you click on it. However, if you select a program airing later, you are directed to an information screen with the option to record it.
The Watch Now section serves as the home screen, showing what is airing and providing a shortcut to the guide. It also offers various categories of trending shows and movies, although it may not feel as personalized as other services.
My Library is where you can access your DVR recordings. Under All Recordings, you can view upcoming recordings, delete recordings, and check the remaining storage space if you are recording a series.
DirecTV Stream features a separate On-Demand section where you can stream movies and shows, even if they are not in your DVR. However, this on-demand content may include unskippable ads.
Live TV Features
For live TV viewers using a Roku device, the DirecTV app provides additional features. Pressing the Play/Pause button on your Roku remote reveals more options at the bottom of the screen, allowing you to pause, rewind, fast-forward live TV, set a recording, and adjust closed captioning.
While watching live TV, you can click the up arrow to view recent channels. You can change channels using the left and right arrows on your Roku remote without going back to the DirecTV Stream guide.
DirecTV Stream offers mobile apps for both Android and iOS devices. The mobile app has a similar look to the desktop version, but it's not particularly impressive. One frustrating aspect is that you cannot disable the Picture-in-Picture view in the app, which ends up covering part of the interface.
In the app, you navigate through three menu items at the bottom of the screen:
- Watch Now
- My Library
Alternatively, you can access the guide by tapping an icon in the top left corner. Unfortunately, you cannot update your subscription settings within the app. However, you can adjust closed-captioning settings, choose streaming quality preferences (Good, Better, and Best), and activate parental control restrictions.
Does DirecTV Stream Offer Cloud DVR?
DirecTV Stream offers cloud DVR functionality. In 2022, the service introduced changes to its cloud DVR system. Now, when you sign up online, you receive unlimited cloud DVR storage without additional cost, regardless of the package you choose.
Previously, the base plan only included 20 hours of DVR storage. You can now save recordings for up to nine months, whereas there used to be a 90-day limit. However, you will store a maximum of 30 episodes if you're recording a series.
With DirecTV Stream's cloud DVR, you can record multiple shows simultaneously and skip through commercials when watching your recorded content.
Premium Live TV Streaming Services Comparison
|Hulu Plus Live TV
|$74.99 a month
|$69.99 a month
|$74.99 a month
|Total number of top 100 channels
|ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC channels
|Record shows for later (cloud DVR)
|Unlimited DVR (keep for 9 months)
|Unlimited DVR (keep for 9 months)
|Unlimited DVR (keep for 9 months)
|1,000 hr. Cloud DVR
|Simultaneous streams per account
DirecTV Stream provides a solid streaming service option for those seeking a variety of channels and access to regional sports networks. The inclusion of PBS is also a notable advantage. The unlimited cloud DVR feature is another strong point, allowing users to record and save their favorite shows.
However, DirecTV Stream falls short in several aspects compared to its competitors, like YouTube TV, Hulu With Live TV, and Fubo TV. Its pricing is slightly higher than these services, yet it offers fewer channels, making it less appealing in terms of value for money.
Additionally, some users have reported buffering issues, which can hinder smooth and uninterrupted streaming. While the interface and performance are satisfactory, other streaming services offer similar or better experiences at a more competitive price. Unless the availability of specific sports networks or PBS is a top priority, there are better alternatives to consider when looking for a comprehensive and cost-effective streaming solution.
DirecTV Stream FAQs
How does DirecTV Stream differ from traditional cable or satellite TV?
DirecTV Stream is a streaming service that delivers TV channels and content over the internet, eliminating the need for a traditional cable or satellite TV subscription. It allows you to stream your favorite shows, movies, and live TV on various devices, providing flexibility and convenience.
What channels does DirecTV Stream offer?
DirecTV Stream provides a well-rounded channel lineup that includes regional sports networks that other streaming services may not have. This includes channels from Sinclair-owned Bally Sports, previously known as FOX RSNs. In addition to regional sports, the DirecTV Stream Choice plan offers over 90 networks from various content partners.
What equipment do I need to use, DirecTV Stream?
You can use DirecTV Stream with streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast with Google TV, and others. You can also watch DirecTV Stream on your phone, computer, or tablet if you're not near your TV.
DirecTV Stream also has a generous policy for simultaneous streams, making it suitable for large households. This means multiple people can watch different shows or channels at the same time on different devices.
Related: Read our Amazon Prime Canada review and compare it with DirecTV Stream to see which one you prefer.
Is DirecTV Stream Worth It?
Whether or not DirecTV Stream is worth it depends on your individual needs and budget. If you want a live TV streaming service with a wide variety of channels and features, then DirecTV Stream may be a good option for you. However, it is one of the more expensive live TV streaming services and is not available in all areas. If you are looking for a more affordable option, you may want to consider a different service.
Does DirecTV Stream offer a free trial?
Yes, DirecTV Stream offers a 5-day free trial for customers who sign up online. This allows you to test out the service and experience its features without any financial commitment. It's a convenient way to explore DirecTV Stream and determine if it meets your streaming needs before making a long-term decision.