DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV: How Do They Compare?

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

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV
Compare TV Providers in Your AreaCompare Plans

Last Updated:

Streaming has transformed the way we watch live TV.

It can save cord cutters an average of $85 per month - if done right - while giving you total control over what content you pay for.

With so many new streaming TV services coming out each year it can be difficult to decide on the right one for your cord cutting needs.

COMPARE NOW: TV Streaming Plans starting at $16/mo

We're going to look at DIRECTV Now vs YouTube and how they compare for channel lineups, prices, and more. Stay tuned!

Need help choosing a plan? Call now: (888) 338-8924

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV: Key Considerations

There are a few things to keep in mind as you shop for live TV options:

  1. Cost: Consider the price of the subscription along with any additional subscriptions you may want. Remember that premium extras add up quickly too.
  2. Channel selection: Not every streaming TV package offers the same channel lineup. Some even have a main focus, like fuboTV - which specializes in soccer and other live sports. Make sure you're getting your favorite shows and must-have networks.
  3. Add-ons: Extras like HBO and sports packages may be available at an additional fee. Make sure your choice of streaming provider offers the premiums you want.
  4. Compatible devices: Want to run your streaming TV app on your gaming console or mobile device? Check to make sure it's compatible before subscribing.

Don't forget to take advantage of the free trial offered by both streaming services! See which one is right for you at no charge.

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV Channel Packages

These two are as different as night and day when it comes to plans:

  • There are five DIRECTV Now plans - four English and one Spanish/English, with channel counts from 65+ to 125+.
  • There is just one YouTube TV plan, keeping it nice and simple. You get 60+ channels.

Next let's compare channel selection between these two providers. For purposes of comparing apples to apples we're going to look at the smallest DIRECTV Now plan (Live a Little) against YouTube TV's one plan choice, since both have a similar channel count.

Local Channels

  • DIRECTV Now local channels are widely available, with over 400 local affiliates across the nation.
  • YouTube TV local stations are growing by the day, with availability in most major markets. You'll want to enter your zip code in their availability form to see if you can get your local live channels.

Entertainment Essentials

  • Both providers offer a good range of popular channels like CW, FX, FXX, TBS, and WE tv.
  • DIRECTV Now provides Food Network and HGTV, and Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries - YouTube TV is missing these.
  • YouTube TV gives you Nat Geo Wild, Oxygen, and Smithsonian Channel, none of which come in DIRECTV Now's Live a Little plan.


  • Even the smallest DIRECTV Now plan has plenty of cable channels for kids - Baby First, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., Disney XD, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and Teen Nick.
  • YouTube TV is a little light on kids' channels. You get Cartoon Network, the three Disney networks, and Universal Kids.

See the complete DIRECTV Now channel lineup and the YouTube TV channel lineup.

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV Prices

The cost of DIRECTV Now compared to YouTube TV starts out exactly the same.

If you want more than what's offered in the DIRECTV Now Live a Little package, prices go up progressively until the top tier - Gotta Have It - which is nearly twice the cost of YouTube TV.

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV Premium Channels & Extras

There are significant differences in the premiums these two live TV streaming providers offer:

DIRECTV Now Extras

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

YouTube TV Extras

  • AMC Premiere
  • Curiosity Stream
  • Fox Soccer Plus
  • NBA League Pass
  • Showtime
  • Shudder
  • Starz
  • Sundance Now

It's worth noting that DIRECTV Now has some of the most competitive pricing available on premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime.


Even the best streaming TV services are having trouble competing with the YouTube TV cloud DVR. You get unlimited space and nine months of storage time.

DIRECTV Now DVR service is still in beta at the time of this writing. You get just 20 hours of recording time and 30 days of storage.

COMPARE NOW: TV Streaming Plans starting at $16/mo

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV Sports

Unless you move up into the more expensive DIRECTV Now plans, YouTube TV offers the better value for sports fans, with a good blend of regional sports and major networks.

  • The DIRECTV Now Live a Little package gives you ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network.
  • With YouTube TV you get the above sports channels plus sports coverage from the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports 2, ESPNews, ESPNU, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, Olympic Channel, SEC Network, and Tennis Channel.

DIRECTV Now also offers NFL Sunday Ticket in select markets and the NFL Network with its higher tiers.

DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV User Experience

Internet TV services are still working out the kinks as far as the interface and learning what features you really want in a live TV experience.

YouTube TV has gotten positive feedback on its interface, with a well-organized menu and rich search function. In addition, the company has listened to its customers and fixed a major issue. You used to be stuck watching the live version (with ads) of your recorded programs if they were available. YouTube has changed this so that you can watch your DVR'ed version and fast forward through commercials.

DIRECTV Now's interface is satisfactory enough. There's a channel guide and search feature, and your show keeps playing so you can listen while you look at what else is on.

Simultaneous Streams

  • DIRECTV Now - two simultaneous streams, with the option to pay an additional fee for a third
  • YouTube TV - three streams at once

YouTube TV also allows you to have six separate profiles with personalized DVR for each.

Compatible Devices

Supported devices for both services include:

  • Roku
  • Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Android and Apple mobile devices
  • Amazon Fire TV and Fire streaming devices
  • Web browsers

YouTube TV also works with Xbox ONE.


The bottom line is that in the war between DIRECTV Now vs YouTube TV, the winner will be the one that has the major networks, video on demand content, sports networks, and features that are most important to you:

  • DIRECTV Now is great for channel surfers and HBO fanatics.
  • YouTube TV is ideal for sports fans and DVR storage addicts.

Want to hear from real customers? Read DIRECTV Now reviews and YouTube TV reviews to find out what people are saying.

Of course, these two aren't the only live TV streaming services in town. You can also check out our breakdown of other live TV services like Sling, Hulu, and Philo!

COMPARE NOW: TV Streaming Plans starting at $16/mo