When comparing cable vs satellite television providers, I'm sure we can agree that a good place to start is with product offerings. To see if the packages it offers are a good fit for you, I want to give you an in-depth look at what you will receive when you sign up with DIRECTV.
First and foremost, you will want to find a company that offers intuitive technology so you can access your programming wherever you are.
To this end, DIRECTV deals include ample entertainment packages in the way of over 300 channels, on-demand programming, and excellent customer service. What makes them unique is their standout mobile app, which allows you to access recorded shows, watch live programming or even select something from DIRECTV's extensive on-demand library.
In this guide, I'll break down the different packages and plans DIRECTV offers, the different bundles available, and evaluate their service and customer support.
Compare DIRECTV Plans
DIRECTV is one of the best satellite television providers on the market, offering its customers a wider variety of DIRECTV packages than what you would receive with, say, Time Warner Cable Company's packages. Here is a closer look at each of its packages:
The Select Plan is perfect if you want a sampling of the top channels but don't want to pay a huge expense. With over 145 local channels and premium channels available such as HBO included for free for the first three months, you receive a good selection of programming options. It's important to note this won't be the best plan for sports fans, as it doesn't include ESPN.
The Entertainment Package is similar to the Select, except you receive sports channels such as ESPN and Fox Sports 1 with the Entertainment Package.
The Choice Package contains more than 175 channels premium and local channels. What makes this such an attractive package is it's the least expensive one that also offers NFL Sunday Ticket for two years. If you are unfamiliar with that offering, I'll touch on it in further detail after these packages.
This package is perfect if you want specialty channels such as WGN HD, FXX, and more. The package also contains NFL Sunday Ticket for two years and access to premium movie channels like Cinemax for free for three months.
The Ultimate Package has over 240 channels available, including Chiller, the Esquire Network, and Boomerang. What's more, you receive free access to movie channels like HBO for the first three months and DVR service for up to four rooms in your home.
The most comprehensive package from DIRECTV. With this plan, you receive more than 315 channels. Included in this package is HBO, Flix, and ESPN Classic. If you want the ultimate selection in entertainment offerings, this is the one to go with.
NFL Sunday Ticket
As noted above, DIRECTV is proud to offer NFL Sunday Ticket. For football fans, it's a glorious package as it allows you to watch every single NFL game each week--provided blackout conditions don't occur. It is the only satellite or cable company that has this capability.
It's important to note that all plans come with promotional pricing for the first year, but when you sign up for service, DIRECTV requires a two-year agreement. This places it at a disadvantage compared to other providers like Time Warner Cable TV, who don't require any contracts for cable TV service.
In addition, there are additional fees for using its equipment (called an equipment lease). The fee varies depending on the DVR service equipment lease you require.
Overall, when doing side-by-side comparisons such as DIRECTV vs. Comcast, what you will discover is that DIRECTV deals offer you more in terms of programming options like the NFL Sunday Ticket, and DVR capabilities, as some of its equipment can record up to eight shows at once.
Neither of these benefits you'll receive through Comcast. On the other hand, Comcast offers no-contract plans with no early termination fees. You may have to deal with early termination fees if you decide to switch from DIRECTV.
DIRECTV is unlike some of its competitors in that it specializes more in TV service instead of offering it as part of a package deal with the internet and home phone service. At the same time, if you want satellite service and the internet, DIRECTV bundles do have you covered.
To learn more about internet broadband service and tv bundles, take a look at our guide.
One way you can receive its service and high-speed internet is to go through AT&T, who partnered with DIRECTV. With AT&T, you can receive the high-speed internet through its U-Verse service and select a DIRECTV package that aligns most with your viewing needs. AT&T offers TV options through U-verse TV as well; however, U-verse TV is considered cable while DirecTV is considered satellite.
If you don't want to go through AT&T, DIRECTV has also partnered with companies such as Mediacom, CenturyLink, Windstream, and Verizon, where you can sign up for a DIRECTV service and package it with a broadband service and home phone service, if need be.
Finding your channels can be difficult if you are new to DIRECTV's services. However, it does provide resources to assist you. The first of which is the program guide, which comes with your remote after the technician installs your equipment. The guide includes all the channels available in your area and their corresponding numbers.
You can also locate channels online through its website by using its TV Guide section. With this feature, it shows all the programs playing currently based on your location.
Overall, it was much more difficult to find channel lineups through its website compared to other service providers where they offered customers visible links to access this information. If you want to see all the channels available to you, you can check out our DIRECTV Channel Lineup.
When doing a side-by-side comparison like Dish and DIRECTV, it's clear that DIRECTV offers more channels, exclusive programming, and excellent customer support. Although Dish and DIRECTV are both satellite Internet providers, DIRECTV comes out on top compared to Dish Network. Dish Network does come in second for satellite networks, however.
Related: Streaming Devices are a great way to watch online content on a TV. Check out our buyer's guide to streaming devices for more information.
The DIRECTV Genie HD DVR
DIRECTV provides a wide selection of DVR equipment to account for your varied needs. Below is a look at some of its equipment and the benefits you receive with each:
Genie is the most versatile service offered by DIRECTV in that it can record up to five shows at once and store more programming than options provided by cable companies. The system also gives you HD channels and DVR functionality for every TV in your home. Simply, you cannot beat the versatility or capability the Genie gives you.
This DVR packs incredible capability into a petite package. It delivers jaw-dropping picture quality, versatile recording solutions and access to DIRECTV's on-demand programming. If you want an inexpensive option that's still versatile, this is a great fit for you.
HD DVR Receiver
The Genie HD DVR receiver delivers crystal clear pictures that transform your programming from the routine to the mesmerizing. The receiver also gives you access to DIRECTV's extensive on-demand library and the capability to stream your recorded shows on your internet device via its mobile app.
TiVo HD DVR
This DVR is smart in that it learns your preferences then suggests shows based on your interest. What's more, if you want to record series, it will be happy to do so and will still find new episodes even if your show's air date changes.
To give you access to your favorite shows and movies, DIRECTV gives you on-demand programming. With it, you can access over 20,000 different shows and movies on your TV. In addition, if you download its mobile app, you will have access to on-demand programs on eligible internet devices, which allows you to catch up with your favorite shows wherever you are.
To see if you live in an area eligible for service, you can do a few things. First, you can use our handy zip code checker tool to determine if DIRECTV is in your area.
You can also visit DIRECTV's website to select the TV package you want. When you do so, it will ask for your zip code. Upon entering it, you will have access to all the programming and pricing options available to you.
Another way to find out eligibility is to contact its customer service via phone. When you do so, you can also learn about any promotions going on and have any questions you have addressed.
You can find the best cable deals through DIRECTV by visiting its website. On there, you can browse through the packages you want. Then contact AT&T, as when you go through service with it, you can lock in your DIRECTV pricing for two years.
Related: How to Find the Best Cable Deals
Since you are going to have a two-year service contract it makes more sense to lock in the pricing for two years through AT&T instead of one year with DIRECTV. To do this, you will have to have AT&T's internet service too, but considering it is one of the best available, it's smart to combine these two. If you're looking for ways to lower your bill more, check out our guide on how to cut your cable/satellite and Internet bill.
DIRECTV continues to be among the best providers in terms of supporting its customers. The American Customer Satisfaction Index scored DIRECTV service when partnering with AT&T, at 68, making it third highest among cable and satellite TV providers.
With DIRECTV, you receive attentive service and excellent support resources on its website to help you whenever you encounter questions.
What's more, DIRECTV customers are more satisfied with their service compared to those who go with cable companies like Comcast or Time Warner Cable.
If you are a former or current DIRECTV customer, I would enjoy learning more about your experiences with it. At the bottom of this page is a review section you can fill out to share your experience with fellow readers.
Overall, DIRECTV delivers an excellent variety of choices as it concerns TV packages and HD channels, specialty programming, and DVR options. Its customer support is also among the industry's best so you can feel confident knowing you'll receive attentive service.
The only drawback is it requires a two-year contract, but you can go through AT&T to lock in the promotional price for two years.
All told, DIRECTV offers many enticing perks at competitive rates. To see how DIRECTV stacks up against the other major providers, check out our buyer's guide to cable TV. You can also consult our buyer's guide to satellite television, where you can see rankings, comparisons, and analysis between DIRECTV and other satellite providers.