DIRECTV Now vs Sling: How Do They Compare?

We compare the different packages, prices, and features offered by both streaming companies

DIRECTV Now vs Sling
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The battle of the cord cutters rages on, putting even the best cable TV providers and satellite TV providers on the defensive.

Meanwhile, how do you choose the right streaming service for your must-have movies and TV?

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Ready to compare the pros and cons of Sling vs DIRECTV Now? We've got the scoop on channel selection, pricing, and much more on these two streaming TV options.

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DIRECTV Now vs Sling: Key Considerations

The best streaming TV services are each a little different. Here are some things to keep in mind before making a decision:

  • Price: Having all the channels in the world isn't much good if you're stressed about going over your budget.
  • Channel selection: Don't assume you're getting certain channels - streaming plans vary considerably. Double-check the channel lineups to make sure you get your favorite channels and TV shows. You might also want to see what video on demand options are available.
  • Extras: Premium channels like HBO and sports packages like NFL RedZone aren't available on every service. Make sure you get the extras you want.
  • Compatible devices: Say goodbye to the cable box. Most streaming TV apps work on devices like Roku and Apple TV. Certain gaming consoles and other equipment may only work with certain ones though, so make sure you can stream to your screen of choice.

DIRECTV Now vs Sling Channel Packages

DIRECTV Now offers four different plans (plus one Spanish). There are three Sling TV packages (Orange, Blue, and Orange + Blue).

Both providers include local stations in their plans.

Local Channels

  • DIRECTV Now has a large selection of live local TV channels from affiliates in over 400 markets.
  • Sling local channels are only available in select markets with just 36 affiliates nationwide.

Entertainment Essentials

  • Sling TV includes many of the basics you'd expect - A&E, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, History Channel, National Geographic and more.
  • DIRECTV Now channels include many of the same as Sling, even in their smallest plan called Live a Little. They also give you Animal Planet which is lacking from Sling.
  • Sling TV offers Fuse and EPIX Drive-in, while DIRECTV Now gives you Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.


  • Both Sling and DIRECTV Now have Cartoon Network, Disney, and Nick Jr.
  • Sling is missing Disney Jr., Disney XD, and Nickelodeon (all included with DIRECTV Now).
  • Sling adds Baby First.

Bear in mind that these are some of the available popular channels. The ones you get will depend on whether you subscribe to Sling Orange, Sling Blue, or Sling Orange + Blue.

It's worth noting that Sling does not carry Fox News.

See the entire DIRECTV Now channel lineup as well as the Sling channel lineup.

DIRECTV Now vs Sling Prices

This is one area in which Sling has the edge. DIRECTV Now's base package starts right at Sling's top price point. By the time you get to the highest tier of the DIRECTV Now plans you're almost at cable TV rates.

DIRECTV Now vs Sling Premium Channels & Extras

DIRECTV Now and Sling both offer premium channels and add-on plan options. Sling is king, however, when it comes to sheer volume.

Sling Extras

Sling provides a huge selection of reasonably priced specialty add-ons. Packages include:

  • Showtime
  • Cinemax
  • Starz
  • EPIX
  • Kids Extra - Nicktoons, TeenNick, Boomerang and more
  • Comedy Extra
  • News Extra
  • Fitness
  • Outdoors
  • Wide range of international options, including Español, Polish, Tamil, and many more

HBO on Sling has gone dark temporarily due to a dispute with AT&T.

DIRECTV Now Extras

DIRECTV Now doesn't offer as many add on channels, although the premiums they do have are pretty good. Most of their extra channels are included in the higher tier prepackaged plans.

  • HBO
  • Cinemax
  • Showtime
  • Starz
  • Brazilian, Español, Korean, or Vietnamese international packages
  • FOX Deportes


Both streaming TV providers offer cloud DVR options:

  • Sling - $5 for 50 hours of cloud storage, unlimited storage time
  • DIRECTV Now - free (beta), 20 hours of recorded content, 30 days storage

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DIRECTV Now vs Sling Sports

For hardcore fans, access to live sports is a major factor in choosing the best live streaming TV service.

Sling Sports Channels

Sling Orange: This plan is very light on sports. You get ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, and ACC Network Extra.

Sling Orange sports extras: For an additional fee you'll get NBA TV, NHL Network, SEC Network, ESPN Bases Loaded, plus several more sports channels.

Sling Blue: Keep in mind you don't get the ESPN channels on top of the other ones unless you go with Sling Orange + Blue. With Sling Blue you get Fox Sports regionals, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, NBC Sports Network, and the NFL Network.

Sling Blue sports extras: This add-on includes nine total extra sports channels including NFL RedZone and beIN Sports.

DIRECTV Now Sports Channels

DIRECTV Now offers a comparable mix of sports channels, with the exception of the MLB Network (Sling doesn't offer it) and ESPN3 (DIRECTV Now doesn't offer it). Additionally:

  • The lowest price tier - the one that costs the same as Sling Orange + Blue - only comes with ESPN, ESPN2, and Fox Sports 1. You'll have to move up in price to get sports networks like the Big Ten Network, NFL Network and NBA TV.
  • Hardcore sports fans can add NFL Sunday Ticket for an extra monthly fee.

DIRECTV Now vs Sling User Experience

Look, feel, and functionality are almost as important as channel selection.

User Interface

  • The DIRECTV Now interface is more awkward, with a large pause symbol in the middle of the screen whenever you move the cursor.
  • Sling stays truer to streaming TV and away from the traditional cable feel. There's a learning curve, but it's not overly complex.

Compatible Devices

  • Both services work on the usual supported devices like Roku, Chromecast, some smart TVs, mobile devices like Apple iPhone and iPads and Android devices.
  • Sling adds Xbox One models (but not Xbox 360) and Windows phones to your options.

Number of Streams

How many simultaneous streams can you have going?

  • DIRECTV Now - comes with two, you can pay for a third
  • Sling - Orange has one, Blue has three, Orange + Blue gives you four


Both live TV streaming services have advantages and disadvantages:

  • Sling is cheaper overall, but has a more limited channel selection.
  • DIRECTV Now works more like regular cable TV providers, with a plethora of packages and a cable-ish experience.

Dig deeper with our Sling customer reviews and DIRECTV Now customer reviews.

If neither of these options excites you, don't worry - there are plenty of other choices for cutting the cord. We make it easy for you to compare streaming TV plans from multiple providers.

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