DIRECTV STREAM is positioning itself as a premium live TV streaming service, but it comes with a premium monthly price.
Is it worth it? I signed up for DIRECTV STREAM to evaluate the service’s pros and cons.
What Is DIRECTV STREAM? Everything to Know Before You Sign Up
DIRECTV STREAM launched in August 2021 after AT&T and TPG Capital struck a deal to make DIRECTV a standalone video business.
As you probably know, DIRECTV also sells satellite TV subscriptions.
DIRECTV STREAM is an internet-based live TV streaming service that competes with companies like YouTube TV, Hulu Live, Sling TV and Fubo.
It sells bundles of cable TV networks with no contracts or hidden fees for local channels, DVR and equipment.
DIRECTV STREAM Pros and Cons Overview
|Well-rounded channel lineup||High monthly price|
|Regional sports networks available with most plans||Confusing marketing (DIRECTV STREAM vs. DIRECTV via Internet)|
|Unlimited cloud DVR storage||DVR: Maximum of 30 episodes in a series stored|
|Unlimited in-home streams||May be required to chat or call support to cancel service|
|No contracts or hidden fees|
What makes DIRECTV STREAM stand out from other streaming TV options? In this article, you’ll learn five things to know before you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM.
Table of Contents:
- How Much Does DIRECTV STREAM Cost?
- What Channels Does DIRECTV STREAM Offer?
- Does DIRECTV STREAM Offer Cloud DVR?
- What Equipment Do I Need to Use DIRECTV STREAM?
- How Is the DIRECTV STREAM User Experience?
1. How Much Does DIRECTV STREAM Cost?
DIRECTV STREAM is one of the most expensive live TV streaming services. Its plans range in price from $74.99 to $109.99 a month, plus taxes.
In January 2023, the service raised prices on all of its plans by $5 to $10 per month.
There are two main reasons why people may consider the service:
- Regional sports networks are included in most plans
- Look and feel is similar to a traditional cable or satellite service
For most people, the plan I would recommend is DIRECTV STREAM Choice for $99.99 per month. It is the least expensive plan that includes regional sports networks.
If you don’t need regional sports networks, the base Entertainment plan is $74.99 per month. This is about the same price as competitors YouTube TV, Hulu Live and Fubo.
DIRECTV STREAM plans are available with no annual contract or sneaky fees.
IMPORTANT: DIRECTV began marketing DIRECTV via Internet in April 2023. This is separate from DIRECTV STREAM. With DIRECTV via Internet, there are additional fees for equipment and regional sports networks.
Since DIRECTV via Satellite or Internet charges hidden fees, I think most people will be better off signing up for DIRECTV STREAM instead.
You can get started with a 5-day free trial here.
IMPORTANT: Canceling DIRECTV STREAM is a bit of a hassle because you must chat with a customer support agent. Watch this 2-minute video to learn about the cancellation policy.
2. What Channels Does DIRECTV STREAM Offer?
DIRECTV STREAM’s channel lineup is pretty well-rounded and offers regional sports networks that other streaming services have dropped.
That includes channels from Sinclair-owned Bally Sports, formerly known as FOX RSNs.
Aside from regional sports, the DIRECTV STREAM Choice plan features more than 90 networks from these content partners and more:
- A+E Networks
- AMC Networks
If you want a service that includes your local channels, DIRECTV STREAM has ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS.
Two popular channels missing from the lineup are NFL Network and NFL RedZone.
Here’s my advice: Make a list of your must-have channels, then use the tool on DIRECTV STREAM’s website to see if they’re all available.
3. Does DIRECTV STREAM Offer Cloud DVR?
DIRECTV STREAM made changes to its cloud DVR in 2022. New customers who sign up online get unlimited cloud DVR storage at no additional charge with every package.
Previously, only 20 hours of DVR storage was included with the base plan.
Recordings can be saved for up to nine months. There was previously a 90-day limit. But if you’re recording a series, a maximum of 30 episodes will be stored.
DIRECTV STREAM allows you to record multiple shows at once and fast-forward through the commercials of everything in your DVR.
4. What Equipment Do I Need to Use DIRECTV STREAM?
DIRECTV STREAM is compatible with streaming devices from Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast with Google TV and others.
When you’re away from the TV set, you can watch DIRECTV STREAM on devices such as your phone, computer or tablet.
The service has a generous policy for simultaneous streams, which is great for large households:
- Stream on unlimited devices at the same time when you’re connected to your home network
- Up to three streams are allowed while on the go
A high-speed internet connection is required. DIRECTV STREAM recommends a minimum internet download speed of 8 Mbps per stream.
You can test your internet connection for free at Speedtest.net.
5. How Is the DIRECTV STREAM User Experience?
DIRECTV STREAM has a look and feel that will be comfortable for users who are cutting the cord for the first time.
You can see my walkthrough using a Roku device in the featured video above.
When you first open the DIRECTV STREAM app, it doesn’t take you to a home screen or the live guide like most services.
Instead, it picks up with the channel where you left off.
If you click down on the remote, the primary navigation appears. There are several main sections for you to browse:
- Watch Now
- My Library
- On Demand
DIRECTV STREAM’s live guide lists all channels in alphabetical order, but you can favorite channels for quick access.
There is also a Jump to Day setting to preview the guide up to two weeks in advance.
Navigating the guide is simple, but I noticed a slight delay while waiting for the descriptions of particular shows to load.
When you click on a program airing live, you’re taken directly to it.
But when you select a program that’s coming up later on, you’ll be taken to an information screen with the option to record it.
The Watch Now section is DIRECTV STREAM’s version of a home screen.
You’ll see what’s airing at the moment and a shortcut back to the guide.
There are multiple categories of trending shows and movies to watch, but this section didn’t feel as personalized as some other services.
My Library is the place to access your DVR recordings.
When you select All Recordings, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can:
- View upcoming recordings
- Delete recordings
- See how much storage space is left
DIRECTV STREAM features a separate On Demand section. From this screen, you can stream movies and shows even if they’re not in your DVR.
But the difference is that they will likely have unskippable ads.
Live TV Features
There are a few additional features for live TV viewers.
When you press the Play/Pause button on your Roku remote, more options will appear along the bottom of your screen:
- Pause, rewind and fast-forward live TV
- Set a recording
- Adjust closed captioning
While watching live TV, click the up arrow to view recent channels.
You can also change channels without going back to DIRECTV STREAM’s guide by using the left and right arrows on your Roku remote.
DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t save you much money compared to cable or satellite, but I understand why people may give it a closer look.
Ask yourself this: Are regional sports networks worth an extra $25 a month or more?
If the answer is yes, the good thing about DIRECTV STREAM is that you don’t have to sign a contract. You can cancel anytime.
To save money, I recommend that you drop the live TV service during the off-season.
Fubo is another live TV option with regional sports networks. If you can live without them, you may want to take a look at YouTube TV — my #1 pick for first-time streamers.
For more ways to cut the cord, subscribe to the Michael Saves YouTube channel.
21 thoughts on “DIRECTV STREAM Review: 5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up in 2023”
Fubo TV has some New York sports channels. We use it to watch SNY and MSG. I haven’t found a cheaper alternative to watch both. I wish you could order just my teams games without other tv channels.
Maybe one day we’ll get that option
I am a big YouTube TV fan and subscriber, but, now that they have lost Disney-owned channels (at the moment), their attraction and shine has gone away a lot. I don’t care about the $15 price reduction. I think YouTube TV made a big mistake letting it get to this point with Disney. I already survived them not renewing with ROKU. I’m giving Hulu – Live TV a trial run as DirectTV Streaming is a bit pricey but I may end up there in the end (but no NFL Network!). I don’t like that you have to call DirectTV Streaming in order to cancel. That makes the “hassle meter” for them go way up (Feel like I’m then dealing with Spectrum/Time Warner cable again – brings back nightmares). I also wish they had better Cloud DVR offerings (even if more price) as you need to cover a season of a show.
Keep in mind that per direct tv stream representative, they only offer an autodraft for payments. So if you pay your bills on certain dates based on your paydays, this service doesn’t allow you to choose your payment date to them. Good luck!
Do you know anything about taxes and fees with Direct TV stream? I don’t have a problem using them because I watch the RSN’s. If they don’t charge a “broadcast TV fee” like the cable companies, then I would have no problem moving over to Direct TV stream.
There is no broadcast TV fee, but taxes are location-dependent. If one live TV service charges taxes, the others will too. I’ve lived in places with taxes and places without. I have a brief article that explains it: https://michaelsaves.com/streaming/youtube-tv-taxes
Michael, Your review was extremely helpful. We have a beach house that had DirecTV cable service and I was looking to switch to DirecTV Stream on Roku devices. My understanding is that guests want cable-like content, but the house is vacant for a long off season so I am looking for a service that is easy to cancel/pause and then re-subscribe/activate as I may have to do this multiple times per year. So I don’t like the idea of having to chat with DirecTV to cancel my Stream subscription. You mentioned Youtube TV as your top pick otherwise, but some comments sound like maybe it doesn’t work on Roku which is what we have in our home and what I’m familiar with. Any recommendations for which service/device might be the best fit for our situation? Thanks in advance, Peter
YouTube TV does work on Roku. They had a bit of a dispute with them last year, but it’s all been resolved. I use YouTube TV on a Roku. This article summarizes my thoughts: https://michaelsaves.com/streaming/best-live-tv-streaming/ YouTube TV is very easy to pause.
Michael thanks for the quick and helpful reply! I read a lot of your other reviews and am trying to decide between Youtube TV (which my wife considers evil) and Hulu + Live TV…we already use Hulu at home and pay to eliminate ads. As previously mentioned, this is for our beach house which has 6 TVs and each of these has limited streams unless you pay extra, but I think that’s OK since it’s unlikely there will be that much parallel watching. It does really irk me to pay $70/month and still have to see ads (I did see your tip on DVR ffwd for Youtuve TV – thanks!). Between Youtube TV and Hulu + Live TV, are there any other pros/cons for our situation? Thanks again for your guidance through this maze!
Hi Michael. I have Direct tv stream through my Fire stick. I didn’t want to pay for their streaming box or their remote. My Fire stick remote is pretty basic. It has volume control but that’s about it. Is there a universal remote available that will control my tv, the fire stick and the direct tv stream app? It would be nice to be able to punch in a station number instead of having to go through the guide each time. Also, if there was one that had voice control that would be huge. Thanks.
If you want station numbers, you should get the DIRECTV STREAM box. Some of the more expensive Fire TV sticks (or Roku) can allow you to pair with your TV so that you can use them for power and volume.
I currently have regular Directv service with a Genie boxes, I am interested in possibly switching to DTV Stream. Is there equipment in need to purchase in order to obtain DVR services? I have a Samsung Smart TV, but can not seem to find the information I am looking for to definitely make the switch. The prices seem great compared to my current DirecTV price (which just went up AGAIN). Thanks in advance for your help!
DirecTVStream sounds good to me, because I saw in the channel lineup, they have the YES NETWORK. I currently have YOU TUBE TV. Which does not have the yes channel. And MLB NETWORK, that I signed on for doesn`t have it here in Brooklyn, New York. It gets blacked out. Which I view through a ROKU device. I`m going to finish watching everything I recorded. Then sign up for DIRECT TV STREAM.
I found your info very helpful do you have a affiliate link?
thanks! I believe so — if you click on the links within the article to DIRECTV STREAM. I have them bolded.
It should be clarified ..
If you want Bally Sports (MLB, NHL, NBA games for example). DirecTV and fubo are the only streaming services providing that.
fubo was added in Dec 2022. Until then DirecTV had exclusive rights.
“The 19 Bally RSNs have the TV rights to 42 franchises across MLB, NBA and NHL”
For example, I live in St Louis. All home Cardinals games would be shown on my local station, away games exclusively on Bally Sports.
Sinclair Sports Diamond Sports, which owns Bally is close to bankruptcy. We are talking about major league teams losing or at risk of losing about 30% of their revenue. Huge.
Forbes Feb 15, 2023:
The Diamond Sports Group, which runs Bally Sports, a group of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, is expected to file for bankruptcy. According to a number of reports, Diamond Sports missed a $140 million interest-only payment resulting in a Chapter 11 debt restructuring and a 30-day grace period.
Is there a way to just buy a Bally Sports Package to watch the Atlanta Braves when you live in the Braves region?
No Braves with the standalone Bally app: https://www.ballysports.com/packages/
Hello George I have a question about your comment. I live in STL also, and we have UVerse TV, thinking of moving to streaming. We watch all games, home and away on Bally Sports MidWest. But you mention that Cardinal home games are shown on your local station. Did you mean Bally Sports MidWest? If not, how are you watching home games on a local station and if so, which one? I find them rarely shown locally unless it is a network airing.
What is the picture quality on DirectTV streaming? I can’t seem to find a solid answer.
They keep saying they’re adding 4K, but that’s not happened yet.