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DIRECTV Review 2023: Compare Packages, Deals, and Prices

DIRECTV has a new two-year price guarantee to go with its excellent sports programming, but it’s still too expensive.

Best for sports

DIRECTV

Price: $64.99–$154.99/mo.

Channels: 165–340+

DVR: Up to 450 hrs.

Simultaneous recordings: Up to 7

DVR fee: $15.00/mo.

Top packages Price Channel count Deals Details
Free premium channels

PREMIER™ All Included
$154.99/mo. 340+ Three free months of premium channels View plan
Cheapest

ENTERTAINMENT™ All Included
$64.99/mo. 165+ Three free months of premium channels View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Is DIRECTV good?

In general, DIRECTV is good. The satellite TV provider has relatively high customer satisfaction scores, the powerful Genie DVR, and three free months of HBO Max, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and MGM+ (formerly EPIX) when you sign up.

But if you go with DIRECTV, you have to sign a two-year contract, and two years is a long time to be stuck with a TV provider. The newly transparent pricing helps, even with DIRECTV charging an advanced receiver service fee ($15 a month)—that’s how DIRECTV can still say the Genie is “included.”

Also, remember to cancel the free premium channels offer before the trial period ends. Otherwise, it’ll auto-renew and ram you in the pocketbook.

Pros

  • 2-year price guarantee (no more brutal second-year price hike)
  • Genie DVRs (200–450 hours)
  • 3 mos. of free premium channels

Cons

  • 2-year contract
  • Hidden fees
  • No NFL SUNDAY TICKET

Find out if DIRECTV is available in your area

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DIRECTV promotions, deals, and more

DIRECTV always has deals for new customers—these are the current offers.

  • DISH Switchers: Current DISH customers get a $300 VISA Reward Card with the promo code “SWITCH.” Expires March 31, 2023.
  • Free premium channels: New DIRECTV customers get three free months of HBO Max™, Cinemax®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and MGM+™. Deal auto-renews at $53.95 monthly after the trial period. Note, however, that the PREMIER package includes all of these premium channels except MGM+ (but you’ll still get it free for three months).

Check out our guide to DIRECTV deals for a complete rundown of available discounts and promotions.

Pro tip: Unfortunately, one of DIRECTV’s most popular deals, a free season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET, is no longer available. It’s with YouTube TV now.

DIRECTV packages and prices

Package Price Channel count Details
ENTERTAINMENT All Included $64.99/mo.* 165+ View plan
CHOICE™ All Included $84.99/mo.** 200+ View plan
ULTIMATE All Included $109.99/mo.** 270+ View plan
PREMIER™ All Included $154.99/mo.** 340+ View plan

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
** w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

Until January 2023, DIRECTV pricing included the Genie DVR, and after the first year of the two-year contract, monthly payments jumped by up to 38%. That made the actual DIRECTV monthly payment, averaged over two years, pretty high.

Old DIRECTV pricing (averaged over two years)

  • ENTERTAINMENT: $84.00/mo.*
  • CHOICE: $96.00/mo.*
  • ULTIMATE: $118.00/mo.*
  • PREMIER: $171.00/mo.*

DIRECTV now offers a two-year price guarantee to better compete with DISH Network. The new packages cost about $8–$19 less than the old prices (using the two-year averages above), but DIRECTV now charges a $15-a-month Advanced Receiver Service Fee for all plans.

New DIRECTV pricing (including $15/mo. Advanced Receiver Service Fee)

  • ENTERTAINMENT: $64.99/mo.
  • CHOICE: $84.99/mo.
  • ULTIMATE: $109.99/mo.
  • PREMIER: $154.99/mo.

With the Advanced Receiver Service Fee included, DIRECTV’s ENTERTAINMENT, CHOICE, and ULTIMATE plans cost $4–$7 more than they did before—but PREMIER, DIRECTV’s everything plan, is $2 cheaper. So DIRECTV sneaked one last little price hike into its newly transparent pricing.

Pro tip: DIRECTV STREAM is similar to standard DIRECTV, but it doesn’t have contracts or dishes.

DIRECTV vs. the competition

Provider Pricing Channels DVR Storage Simultaneous recordings Details
DIRECTV
Best for sports
$64.99–$154.99/mo. 165–340+ Up to 450 hrs. Up to 7 View plan
DISH
Editor’s choice, best for families
$79.99–$109.99/mo. 190–290+ 500 hrs. 16 View plan
Read DISH review
Spectrum
Cheapest
$59.99/mo. 125+ Varies 2–6 View plan
Read Spectrum review
Verizon Fios
Best value
$60.00–$119.00/mo. 60–425+ 50–200 hrs. 2–12 View plan
Read Verizon review
Xfinity
Excellent user experience
$20.00–$80.00/mo. 10–185+ 20 hrs. included (upgrades available) 6 View plan
Read Xfinity review
YouTube TV
Best live TV streaming
$72.99/mo. 100+ Unlimited 3 (streams) View plan
Read YouTube TV review
HBO Max
Best on-demand TV streaming
$9.99–$19.99/mo. or $99.99–$199.99/yr. N/A N/A 3 (streams) View plan
Read HBO Max review
Astound Broadband powered by RCN $116.04–$151.95/mo. 287–304+ 125–250 hrs. 2–6
Read Astound Broadband review
Optimum
$500 contract buyout
$35.00–$115.00/mo. 50–420+ 25–150 hrs. 15 View plan
Read Optimum review
Cox
Excellent DVR
$56.00–$139.00/mo. 75–250+ 250–1,000 hrs. 2–24 View plan
Read Cox review
Sparklight $42.00–$109.75/mo. 20–100+ 200 hrs. 6 View plan
Read Sparklight review
Xtream powered by Mediacom $29.99–$129.99/mo. 50–170+ 50–250 hrs. Unavailable View plan
Read Mediacom review

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you’re set on satellite TV, DIRECTV has only one direct (see what we did there?) competitor: DISH Network.

Learn more about TV providers and streaming services

If you’re cable- or streaming-curious, you’ve got way more options. For quick comparisons, we’ve included cable TV providers, the best live TV streaming service (YouTube TV), and the best on-demand streaming service (HBO Max) in the table above. You can read more about these services in these guides:

DIRECTV vs. DISH Network

DIRECTV has more channels (340+) than DISH (290+). Although DIRECTV lost NFL SUNDAY TICKET, it still has a few more sports channels than DISH and better sports add-ons—that’s why it’s our pick for the best TV provider for sports.

As mentioned earlier, DIRECTV changed its pricing to compete with DISH and now offers a two-year price guarantee. DIRECTV also started charging an Advanced Receiver Service Fee ($15 a month) with every plan. That puts the two satellite TV providers on more level ground—but DISH remains slightly more affordable and has better content for families, better parental controls, and a better DVR.

Now you can see why we call DISH the best overall TV provider and the best TV provider for families. For more details, read our helpful DISH vs. DIRECTV guide.

DIRECTV channels

DIRECTV has one of the beefiest channel lineups among traditional cable and satellite TV providers. You should know, however, that many channels in the more expensive DIRECTV packages are filler you might not need.

DIRECTV channel lineup

Package Included popular channels Details
ENTERTAINMENT ESPN, ESPN2, NBCSN, and FS1 View plan
CHOICE™ IFC, Nick Jr., OWN TV, Travel Channel, and UniMás View plan
ULTIMATE El Rey, STARZ ENCORE, and TMC View plan
PREMIER™ HBO, CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, and STARZ View plan

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Check out the full DIRECTV channel lineups for each DIRECTV package to see what you’re getting. The package comparisons break it all down for you.

DIRECTV’s ENTERTAINMENT package covers family-favorite channels like ABC, some popular cable channels, and bigger sports channels like ESPN—but no regional sports networks. The other three plans include the RSNs.

Pro tip: DIRECTV doesn’t carry beIN Sports or the Pac-12 Network—but DISH does.

Still, DIRECTV’s channel lineups are well balanced, with PREMIER™ standing out as one of the few packages (from any TV provider) to include all the big premium channels. It’s a go-big-and-go-home situation—you can get everything you want and never have to leave your couch again.

So, if you have the cash for DIRECTV PREMIER, it’s pretty sweet to have a package that includes every channel DIRECTV carries—including HBO Max, SHOWTIME, CINEMAX, and STARZ. MGM+ (formerly EPIX) doesn’t come with PREMIER, but you’ll still get it free for three months when you sign up.

DIRECTV sports packages

Package Description Details
DIRECTV Sports Pack 40 out-of-market sports networks, including CBS Sports Network, 17 regional Bally Sports Networks, and ESPN College Extra View plan
FOX Soccer Plus Soccer matches from LIGA MX, Major League Soccer, and CONCACAF Champions League, premium rugby matches from the National Rugby League and the Super Rugby League, and the Australian Rules Football League View plan
MLB Extra Innings Up to 90 out-of-market MLB games each week throughout the MLB regular season View plan
Read MLB Extra Innings review
NBA League Pass Around 40 out-of-market NBA games per week during the NBA regular season View plan
Read NBA League Pass review
NHL Center Ice Up to 40 out-of-market NHL games a week, plus NHL Network View plan
Read NHL Center Ice review

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Although DIRECTV no longer carries NFL SUNDAY TICKET, the provider still offers four other major sports add-on packages. Each package brings you out-of-market access to the top sports leagues in the US.

With both the NBA and the NHL now in season, NBA League Pass and NHL Center Ice  are important for megafans of basketball and hockey. After all, 40 out-of-market games per week from each league is a lot to miss out on.

DIRECTV also has 40 out-of-market sports networks (including CBS Sports Network, 17 regional Bally Sports Networks, and ESPN College Extra) for an additional $13.99 monthly. To learn more, read our guide to DIRECTV Sports Packages.

Now that you know the pros and cons of DIRECTV packages, let’s look at some of the DIRECTV bundles with AT&T or Centurylink high-speed internet service.

DIRECTV bundles

Now that DIRECTV is no longer the property of AT&T, you might think you can’t bundle DIRECTV and AT&T Internet. That’s false. You can still add AT&T DSL or fiber internet service when you order DIRECTV—just don’t expect a discount.

Centurylink offers DIRECTV bundles, too—also with DSL and fiber connections—but AT&T’s service is a bit faster.

Check out our full review of DIRECTV bundles for more information.

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DIRECTV equipment

Now that DIRECTV charges the $15-a-month Advanced Receiver Service Fee for its Genie DVR, is it worth it? Yes and no. DISH Network charges only $10 monthly for its Hopper 3 DVR, which has 2.5x the storage and 3x the simultaneous recordings. Since price, storage, and simultaneous recordings are the most important DVR features, the Hopper already beats the Genie.

DIRECTV Genie vs. DIRECTV Hopper

DVR Price Storage Simultaneous recordings Video quality Built-in streaming apps Details
DIRECTV Genie $15.00/mo. Advanced Receiver Service Fee 200 hrs. 5 Up to 4K HBO Max, Netflix, Pandora, and more View plan
Read DIRECTV Genie review
DIRECTV Genie 2 $15.00/mo. Advanced Receiver Service Fee (plus a $99 bridge fee due at signup) 450 hrs. 5 Up to 4K HBO Max, Netflix, Pandora, and more View plan
Read DIRECTV Genie review
DISH Hopper 3 $10.00/mo. 500 hrs. 16 Up to 4K Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Pandora, YouTube, and more View plan
Read DISH Hopper 3 review

Data as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

That said, the DIRECTV Genie is still a powerful machine that comes in both wired (Genie) and wireless (Genie 2) versions. The wired Genie’s 200-hour HD storage capacity is enough for all eight seasons of The Vampire Diaries or about 80 NBA games, while the Genie 2 can store up to 450 HD hours—but it has an extra one-time $99 fee. You can also hook up more TVs with the Mini Genie ($7 more per TV monthly).

Check out our full Genie DVR review for everything else you want to know.

DIRECTV specs and features

To sum it up, here are some of the neatest things about DIRECTV:

  • Out-of-market sports with FOX Soccer Plus, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, and MLB Extra Innings
  • 4K HDR programming on CHOICE packages and higher
  • Choice of wired or wireless Genie DVR with 200–450 hrs. of HD storage
  • Mobile streaming with the DIRECTV app (Google Play and App Store)
  • 72-hour rewind on select channels
  • Frequent specials and promotions

Final take

We’re hot and cold on DIRECTV’s new prices, two-year price guarantee, and $15 Advanced Receiver Service Fee for the Genie DVR. It’s fantastic that DIRECTV finally ditched its big, scary, non-transparent second-year rate hikes—but it’s still an expensive service. Also, we don’t love that DIRECTV charges the Advanced Receiver Service Fee while claiming that the Genie is included.

But we love the Genie, and DIRECTV’s perks remain impressive, especially its sports programming— even without NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

That said, DIRECTV is now much closer in value to DISH, our Editor’s Choice pick for the best overall TV provider—but still too expensive.

DIRECTV service FAQ

Does DIRECTV service my area?

DIRECTV service is available nationwide.

With the few exceptions of apartment buildings or houses without a south-facing mounting surface (for the satellite dish), you can get DIRECTV service from way down in the Bayou all the way up to the Northern Lights.

Can I install DIRECTV myself?

You can’t install DIRECTV yourself. DIRECTV will dispatch a technician to install your satellite dish and get your DIRECTV service up and running.

How can I watch DIRECTV on the go?

Your DIRECTV service includes on-the-go viewing with the DIRECTV app. You can download the DIRECTV app on the App Store or Google Play with your smartphone or tablet.

The app allows you to stream your DIRECTV live channels, on-demand content, and DVR recordings while away from home—but you need internet access. To watch offline, download recordings from your cloud DVR before leaving the house.

Heads up: DIRECTV has loads of positive reviews on the App Store, but Google Play users comment that a recent update ruined the app’s functionality. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for patches that fix the problem.

Does DIRECTV have a mobile app?

DIRECTV has a mobile app that allows you to watch live TV, on-demand programming, and DVR recordings anytime, anywhere. You can stream on five devices at once and choose from more than 45,000 movies and shows.

Does DIRECTV offer a discount for senior citizens?

DIRECTV does not currently offer any senior discounts.

What is the cheapest DIRECTV package?

DIRECTV’s cheapest offering is the ENTERTAINMENT package. At $64.99 a month for the first year, it gives you 165+ channels, including multiple ESPN and Disney channels, along with FX and IFC. A group of premium channels—HBO Max, Cinemax, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and MGM+ (formerly EPIX)—are free for the first three months. (Note: All of these premium channels except MGM+ already come with the PREMIER package. You can still get three free months of MGM+ with PREMIER, though.)

What is the best DIRECTV package?

If a diverse and hearty DIRECTV channel package is what you’re shopping for, the PREMIER plan ($154.99 a month) is the jackpot. The 340+ channels PREMIER delivers are a robust blend of local stations, sports and entertainment networks, and, of course, premium channels like CINEMAX, HBO Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ.

How does DISH compare to DIRECTV?

Like DIRECTV, DISH is a satellite TV provider. Both providers have two-year contracts and guarantee against price hikes during that period. DIRECTV has more channels and slightly better sports options than DISH, but DISH has the better DVR. And, despite recent DIRECTV pricing and policy changes, it’s closer in value to DISH Network—but still more expensive. For a deeper comparison, check out our DISH vs. DIRECTV guide.

Methodology

Our TV experts have spent hundreds of hours studying and analyzing DIRECTV’s plans and features. We hand-tested the service’s signal reliability and overall user experience while evaluating its different channel lineups and DVR capabilities. Additionally, we pulled data from our annual TV Customer Satisfaction Survey to see how DIRECTV ranked against competitors. Check out our How We Rank page to learn more about how CableTV.com approaches its reviews.

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