Cord cutting’s popularity is exploding, and with it has arrived a golden age of streaming TV. From Sling TV to Hulu, the market is packed with options.
For the last few years, DirecTV Now was slowly building a reputation for having a great app, price, and features.
In November 2019, DirecTV Now’s owner AT&T announced the service changed its name to AT&T TV Now. And if that wasn’t enough, the service is now known as DirecTV Stream.
DirecTV Stream is the same glorious service AT&T TV Now was? Here’s everything you need to know about DirecTV Stream’s plans and pricing, how it all works, and if you should sign up.
DirecTV Stream plans and pricing
DirecTV Stream presents an air of simplicity when it comes to pricing. There are four plans to choose from.
- Cost: $69 per month
This is a good entry-level cable suite and includes channels like Comedy Central, Discovery, FXX, History, MTV, and more. There’s even a handful of offerings for families such as Cartoon Network, Freeform, and Disney Channel.
- Cost: $84 per month
For $84 per month, Choice subscribers get 90+ channels, with an increased focus on sports. This package includes ESPNU, NBA TV, and TCM.
- Cost: $94 per month
DirecTV Stream’s penultimate English language package comes with everything found in the Choice package with the addition of Starz.
- Cost: $139 per month
DirecTV Stream’s biggest English language package offers more than 140 channels and includes some very specialized wants for all-you-can-watch subscribers. For instance, if you want all the HBO networks, this is the package where they come standard.
What is on DirecTV Stream?
DirecTV Stream is a service in flux, something made clear by its pricing and channel distributions. While its baseline package Max and Plus packages offer big names like MTV, Comedy Central, and MSNBC, the fact that those packages lack AMC, Animal Planet, Discovery, Food, History, and TLC matters. That those channels are available on more expensive packages, but without the addition of HBO like the cheaper packages get, is simply bizarre.
That being said, the Plus package is a great basic cable option, provided the loss of those six channels won’t ruin your day. You still get ESPN, HBO, the big three news networks, local channels, TNT, and more. There’s always something to watch on AT&T Now. It’s ultimately a matter of what you care about. Food and History are wildly popular channels, but if you could trade them for HBO without noticing, AT&T TV Now makes sense.
DirecTV Stream Now Local Channels
DirecTV Stream shines with local channels, depending on where you live. For example, in Los Angeles, subscribers can access ABC, CBS, FOX, KCal9, My Network TV, NBC, Telemundo, and Univision. Subscribers in Atlanta get ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Fox Sports South, and Fox Sports Southeast. What matters most is that the vast majority of subscribers should be able to at least access the local affiliates of the big four broadcast networks. To see what channels would be available to you in your market, use DirecTV Stream’s zip code tool.
DirecTV Stream Now Add-ons
DirecTV Stream offers a host of options for subscribers looking to augment their packages. HBO comes with all Premier subscriptions, but it’s far from the only premium movie channel available. Cinemax can be added for $11 per month, Epix for $6 per month, and the multichannel Movies Extra Pack is just $5 per month.
Sports fans can add the NBA League Pass, giving them 100% commercial-free access to hundreds of games across the country, for $40 per month.
DirecTV Stream Streaming Devices
DirecTV Stream allows users a number of ways to stream the service, but it’s almost missing a few incredibly big names. Here are all the platforms you can currently use to watch DirecTV Stream. New subscribers can either use the companion DirecTV Stream Device. It’s powered by Google and even lets you access other popular streaming destinations like Netflix. If you prefer, you can use one of these popular streaming devices.
- AT&T Devices
- Amazon Fire
- Apple TV
- Samsung Smart TVs from 201, 2018, and 2019
- Roku devices
DirecTV Stream DVR and Multiple Screens
All DirecTV Stream users get free cloud DVR with 20 hours of recording time included. There is currently no way to add extra time to your DVR. However, the company has just started to roll out a new feature that allows users to control live TV. Subscribers can now pause, rewind, and fast-forward live TV using their remote.
Each DirecTV Stream account comes with streaming on up to three screens at any time.
DirecTV Stream On Demand and Offline Content
Like all streaming TV platforms, DirecTV Stream has a vast collection of on-demand programming drawn from the channels you pay for. DirecTV Stream says it has 55,000+ titles on demand, drawn from movies and TV shows. This comes in incredibly handy when you’re running low on DVR space, since most new shows are available on-demand the day after they air. Due to it being a streaming TV service, DirecTV Stream does not support offline content.
DirecTV Stream vs. the Competition
DirecTV Stream vs. Hulu with Live TV
On first glance, Hulu with Live TV should be the most direct competitor to DirecTV Stream. Each service is priced similarly, with Hulu with Live TV costing about $5 cheaper. When it comes to channels the services have dramatically similar lineups, DirecTV Stream has AMC. Each service has also raised prices in the last year, but Hulu’s price increase has been more gradual.
Hulu includes access to its streaming service with membership, effectively providing the biggest on-demand TV library on Earth. The interface for Hulu’s app is also much better than DirecTV Stream’s. Then there’s the price. Hulu with Live TV is cheaper, even if you splurge for the Hulu (No Ads) + Live TV package for $70. That package gives you ad-free programming when using the Hulu streaming service, so while it won’t impact your daily viewing, it’s still a great feature for only $5 more than DirecTV Stream’s starter package. The only advantage DirecTV Stream has over Hulu is the inclusion of HBO with its two baseline packages.
DirecTV Stream vs. Sling TV
AT&T TV Now and Sling TV couldn’t be further apart as services. Sling TV is a budget-minded service that allows users to pay less for a smaller package of channels that meet their needs. AT&T TV Now is trying to bring old-style cable programming (and the pricing that comes with it). You might think that means AT&T TV Now offers vastly more channels. But let’s compare.
Sling Orange offers 32 channels for $35 a month, Blue comes with 47 channels for $35 per month, and the combined Orange + Blue package is 53 channels for just $50 per month. AT&T TV Now’s start Plus package comes with 50+ channels for $65. Most people come to Sling TV for savings and sacrifice their favorite channels. But when compared to DirecTV Stream, Sling Orange + Blue, the most expensive option, is still cheaper than DirecTV Stream’s starting package.
DirecTV Stream vs. FuboTV
FuboTV, like Hulu with Live TV, is another service with a starting price close to DirecTV Stream’s, at $59.99 per month. The difference between those services and FuboTV, however, is options. FuboTV offers an absurd 110 channels of programming for $59.99 per month, with 30 hours of DVR included and the best international sports options of any service. You even get NFL Network and NBA TV in the standard package. FuboTV is also the only streaming TV option to offer 4K sports, though it is limited to a few events each month.
With DirecTV Stream, you’d have to drop at least $80 to even come close to what FuboTV offers. The only place where DirecTV Stream is stronger than FuboTV is the inclusion of HBO with its baseline packages. If you want HBO and 100 channels, sign up for FuboTV and then just pay $15 for HBO Now. It’s only $5 more than DirecTV Stream’s $69 base Entertainment package.
DirecTV Stream vs. YouTube TV
YouTube TV is one of the best streaming TV services on the market today, thanks to its abundance of features and reasonable pricing. Your $64.99 per month subscription gets you 70+ channels, unlimited DVR space, up to six user accounts, and great selection. It even has ESPN and local channels. DirecTV Stream has 20 fewer channels on its basic package, yet costs $5 more per month.
Is DirecTV Stream worth it?
Speaking as a long-time subscriber to DirecTV Stream, it’s disappointing how far the service has fallen since its glory days. Prices have exploded on the service since its transition to becoming DirecTV Stream.
When I signed up for DirecTV Stream (then known as DirecTV Now) in 2018, my bill was $43 per month after taxes. Less than two years, that same service costs much more, though with fewer channels and an app that doesn’t perform optimally.
I’ve also found that the service’s communication with customers, speaking as a former customer, has been terrible. When prices go up, customers expect new features to come with them.
DirecTV still has one of the stingiest DVR allotments on the market, with just 20 hours of recording time. You miss out on popular channels. Its app is confusing to use, even for someone who writes about streaming for a living. Most frustrating of all, it once wasn’t this way.
If you’re new to DirecTV Stream, you might experience something different, but that wouldn’t change the fact that other services give you more for less.
How does DirecTV Stream expect to compete with YouTube TV, FuboTV, Hulu with Live TV or Sling TV when all those services have clear advantages? Its only true asset is HBO, but you can order that for yourself on HBO Now.
After years of enjoying DirecTV Stream, it’s sad to see what’s happened to a service we’ve promoted a lot in the past.
For years, it was easy to say DirecTV Now was the best streaming TV option on the market, but DirecTV Stream is a different animal. It will feel familiar to people who are reluctant to leave cable, so if you want something close to that in cutting the cord, you may be happy with it – even though it’s not what it once was.
How to Sign-up for DirecTV Stream
Joining DirecTV Stream is an incredibly simple process. Here’s everything you need to know about getting started.
- Open the DirecTV Stream site and select Start Streaming at the top of the menu.
- Select your package from the drop-down menu.
- Select your add-ons.
- Select Create Account and continue.
- Create a User ID for your account and enter your personal information and accept DirecTV Stream’s user agreement.
- Review your cart.
- Enter your payment information and finalize your payment.
- You’re now ready to watch DirecTV Stream.
LIVE TV STREAMING SERVICES
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WHERE TO STREAM POPULAR CABLE CHANNELS
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|ESPNU||ESPN Deportes||ACC Network|
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