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Has DIRECTV STREAM cracked the code for live TV streaming?


DIRECTV STREAM is a sports fan’s heaven. But if you don’t care about catching every game, this may not be the service for you depending on what kind of user experience you’re interested in and changes in costs. 

Large variety of programmingPrices change frequently 
Regional sports at no extra costClunky user interface
No smart TV requiredSparse on-demand library

DIRECTV STREAM comes to you by none other than DIRECTV, bringing its vast channel lineup and unique DIRECTV STREAM device to viewers. DIRECTV STREAM is great for users who are hesitant about streaming services due to its interface that mimics DIRECTV’s. It’s also a great option for sports fans who want to catch their local teams on regional sports networks at no extra cost. 

The streaming service offers four different English packages: Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate, and Premier, as well as an English and Spanish package, Óptimo Más. Packages start at $74.99, include between 75 to 150-plus channels, and offer a five-day free trial to all new customers who sign up online. You can also enjoy three months of premium services like HBO MAX and Cinemax for free.

But if you want something that’s a little more intuitive, offers more personalization, and overall has a few more bells and whistles, then DIRECTV STREAM may not suit your fancy. Keep reading our comprehensive DIRECTV STREAM review to decide if this is the streaming service for you.

Our experience with DIRECTV STREAM

Price Range$74.99-$154.99
Sports CoverageRegional, national, international
Concurrent StreamUnlimited streams at home, three out-of-home streams
DVR StorageUnlimited Cloud DVR
On-Demand Movies and TV ShowsYes
Live TV StreamingYes, 75-150+ channels
4K LivestreamingNo

Interface experience

DIRECTV STREAM’s website is a little confusing to get the hang of due to sharing its site with its satellite TV counterpart. But once you’ve triple-checked that you’re on the DIRECTV STREAM side, it’s relatively smooth sailing. Simply pick out and click on the plan you want based on the features it offers and continue with your sign up. Then, you’re ready to watch.

DIRECTV STREAM’s interface is pretty basic but puzzling from a design perspective. The top menu, for example, lists “On Demand” before “Guide,” which is strange for a live TV streaming service. The best part of the platform is the “Watch Now” tab, which categorizes content into groups like “What’s On Now,” “Sports” and “New This Month.”

Content offerings

Depending on the package you subscribe to, you could gain access to more than 150 live TV channels across all your compatible devices. The Entertainment package includes 75-plus channels, the Choice package has 105-plus channels, the Ultimate package features 140-plus channels, and the Premier package bundles 150-plus channels.

DIRECTV STREAM also has an on-demand library that includes popular TV shows like “Yellowstone” and blockbuster movie favorites like “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” at no extra cost. However, much of the on-demand library remains locked unless you have at least an Ultimate subscription, which costs upward of $109.99 per month.

DVR and recording options

All of DIRECTV STREAM’s plans include unlimited cloud DVR, which keeps your recordings safe and sound for up to nine months. Just keep in mind that, although it’s touted as unlimited, you can store only up to 30 episodes of one show. So you may want to be a bit discerning about which “Seinfeld” episodes you want to keep close to the vest. 

What’s nice about DIRECTV STREAM’s recording options, though, is that you can start recording a program in the middle of a broadcast or schedule a recording for later. No need to plan well in advance. Simply hit the “REC” button at the bottom of your screen to start recording whatever you’re currently watching and choose whether to record one time or the entire series.

Viewing experience and video quality

Streaming services are solely reliant on internet connection, so each person’s viewing experience will differ. However, watching TV on DIRECTV STREAM is very intuitive, making it easy to pause, fast forward, rewind, and turn on captions. You can also adjust the volume and jump to live programming in just one click.

With DIRECTV STREAM, you can adjust your streaming quality in a few seconds. Click on the gear icon at the top right of your screen, and then select “Preferences > Streaming Quality.” You can choose between “Good,” “Better,” and “Best.” However, it’s a little clunky to adjust the quality in real time. You must close your content in order to access “Preferences.”

Personalization and security

DIRECTV STREAM misses the mark when it comes to personalization. Unlike many competitors, DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t allow users to create multiple profiles, making it a little hard for the whole family to enjoy the platform the way they want. Other competitors also allow you to bookmark your favorite content to make it easily accessible. DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t.

Parental controls, however, are quite easy to adjust. Simply click on the gear icon in the top right corner and select “Preferences > Parental Controls” to toggle them on or off. Parental controls on DIRECTV STREAM include the ability to restrict content based on movie ratings, TV show ratings, and unrated programs.

Sports fans: Yay or nay?

What sets DIRECTV STREAM apart from many competitors are the regional sports channel offerings, allowing sports fans to enjoy their local baseball team, college basketball team, and more. The best part? These channels come standard at no extra cost to DIRECTV STREAM subscribers. However, regional sports are available only with the Choice, Ultimate, and Premier packages. 

Trying to choose which game to watch? DIRECTV STREAM has a cool feature that allows viewers to quickly scan live sports scores without having to toggle between games. Too distracting? Simply turn off live scores by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner and selecting “Preferences > Show Game Scores.” It’s as easy as that. 

Our verdict:

3.5 out of 5 stars

How does DIRECTV STREAM compare to other streaming services? 

Streaming ServiceCost per MonthOur RatingSports CoverageFree Trial?
DIRECTV STREAM$74.99+3.5 starsRegional, national, internationalYes
Hulu + Live TV$69.99+4.5 stars Regional, national, internationalNo
FuboTV$74.99+4 starsRegional, national, internationalYes
YouTube TV$34.99+4 starsRegional, national, internationalYes
Sling TV$40+3.5 starsNational, internationalNo
Vidgo$39.95+3 starsNational, internationalNo

DIRECTV STREAM is on the pricier end of live TV streaming services, but overall it’s comparable in terms of cost when pitted against its largest competitors, including FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. Plus, DIRECTV also offers their DIRECTV STREAM device for On-Demand content, live TV, DVR recordings, and more all in one place. However, the service can be both unpredictable and unclear when it comes to subscription price changes, and the service doesn’t necessarily justify the costs. 

Yet, what DIRECTV STREAM lacks in features it makes up for in sports channel availability. And if you’re not into sports, it’s easy to enjoy family favorites like Nickelodeon, Food Network, and more. The downside is that these family-friendly channels exist in competitors’ channel lineups as well.

How to subscribe to DIRECTV STREAM

  1. In your web browser, visit directv.com/stream/packages
  2. Click on the package you want.
  3. Add on any extras.
  4. Create your DIRECTV account.
  5. Enter your payment information.
  6. Confirm your five-day free trial.

How to cancel my DIRECTV STREAM subscription

  1. In your web browser, visit stream.directv.com.
  2. Click on the Gear icon in the top right corner.
  3. Click “Account.”
  4. Click “See Account Details.”
  5. Click “Manage my TV package.”
  6. Click “Cancel my subscription”
  7. Select from “What went wrong” options.
  8. Click “Cancel Now.”
  9. Choose whether to cancel by phone or chat.

Is DIRECTV STREAM worth it? 

DIRECTV STREAM boasts one of the best sports offerings in the streaming service market. Unfortunately, a clunky user experience, lack of personalization, and an unpredictable, expensive price structure overshadows many of the positive aspects of the streaming service. If you’re looking to subscribe to a live TV streaming service, consider looking elsewhere.

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