DIRECTV STREAM (formerly AT&T TV) is one of the biggest live TV streaming services in the world. And there are many reasons for its popularity. One of the biggest is that it makes it easy to move from a cable/satellite contract to a streaming service with its many advantages.
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Another big selling point of DIRECTV STREAM is that it provides great sports coverage, including by far the best selection of regional sports networks in the industry.
Read on to find out exactly what DIRECTV STREAM has to offer and if it’s right for you.
DIRECTV STREAM Overview
|✅ Large collection of plans||❌ Relatively expensive|
|✅ Unmatched RSN selection||❌ Some notable channels missing|
|✅ Use unlimited devices at a time at home|
|✅ Unlimited DVR storage|
The idea of DIRECTV STREAM is very simple. Instead of the standard satellite dish as the source of your channels, your internet connection functions as your TV tuner/cable receiver. Since you almost certainly already have internet, that’s one less thing to worry about if you choose to go with DirecTV.
DIRECTV STREAM offers four base plans starting with the Entertainment package for $69.99/mo with a 75+ channel lineup. The selection is what you would expect from a base cable plan. But it is different from a cable plan in that there is no contract and it comes with a cloud DVR.
Where DIRECTV STREAM really excels is in its selection of local and regional channels. If there is a local channel in your area, DIRECTV STREAM will almost certainly provide it.
DirecTV also has the best set of RSNs available of any streaming service. There are a couple of interesting holes in their coverage (discussed below) but in almost every area, they have you covered in terms of NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and MLS.
DIRECTV STREAM Plans and Pricing
DIRECTV STREAM offers four plans.
They all come with the ability to stream on unlimited compatible devices or TVs on your home network and up to 3 when on the road. And they all include unlimited cloud DVR storage (for 9 months).
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Although DIRECTV STREAM offers four plans, when it comes to everything but the premium channels, the Ultimate and Premier plans are the same. There is one minor difference. The Premier plan includes Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. You need to pay extra for it with the Ultimate plan.
What the channel lists below show is that DIRECTV STREAM offers more channels than their standard estimates indicate. In most areas, they are closer to the following:
- Entertainment: 80
- Choice: 115
- Ultimate: 150
- Premier: 160
General Channel Line-Up
DIRECTV STREAM offers all the channels that you expect from cable TV. That’s one of its best selling points.
The channel lineup includes A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, Disney Channel, Food Network, Fox News, HGTV, MSNBC, MTV, Nickelodeon, TBS, and TNT.
Our DIRECTV STREAM packages page has a complete list divided by categories and plan.
DIRECTV STREAM offers one of the best lineups of local channels in the industry. But as always, it will depend upon where you live. DIRECTV STREAM provides an easy-to-use zip code lookup tool that tells you exactly what local stations you will get.
In most areas, DIRECTV STREAM offers these channels:
For more information, see our Local Channel Guide.
Sports channels can be divided into nationally televised stations like ESPN and regionally or locally broadcast stations like local network affiliates.
One channel that DIRECTV STREAM does not include is NFL Network. Also missing is the ability to sign-up with NFL Sunday Ticket (available with their satellite plans). We hope to see this change in the coming months.
Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)
For American sports fans, regional sports networks (RSNs) are incredibly important. If you are a fan of the local team in MLB, NBA, NHL, or MLS, you will spend a lot of time watching your RSN.
The single biggest provider of RSNs are the Bally Sports channels. There are 19 of them. After them, there are 6 NBC Sports, 3 AT&T SportsNet, 2 Spectrum SportsNet, and then Altitude, Marquee, MASN, MSG, Root, SportsNet, and YES.
Among most streaming services, RSN coverage is pretty thin. The best is FuboTV but its coverage is far weaker than that of DIRECTV STREAM. The catch is that you must sign up with the Choice plan ($89.99/mo) or higher to get access to the RSNs.
There is only one major RSN that DIRECT STREAM does not offer: NBC Sports Philadelphia, which covers Phillies, 76ers, Flyers, and Union games. If it is critical to you, check out FuboTV and Hulu + Live TV since they both do.
Note that you do not get all these channels. In order to get an RSN from any provider, you must be located inside that RSN’s coverage area. So if you live in San Francisco, you will get NBC Sports California and NBC Sports Bay Area. You won’t get Bally Sports Arizona or AT&T SportsNet Southwest.
For complete information about RSNs, see our DIRECTV STREAM Local Channels Guide.
The higher-priced plans really shine in terms of premium channels. The Entertainment and Choice plans do not come with these channels but they can be purchased as part of add-ons.
The Ultimate plan comes with 8 Starz Encore channels: Base, West, Action, Black, Classic, Family, Suspense, and Westerns.
The Premier plan includes all of those channels and more as you might expect for $45 more each month. For that, you get:
- HBO Family
- HBO Latino
- Showtime East
- Showtime 2
- Showtime Extreme
- Starz Kids & Family
All of the premium channels are available as add-ons for the plans they are not included with.
- HBO Max ($14.99/mo)
- CineMax ($10.99/mo)
- Showtime ($10.99/mo)
- Starz and Starz Encore ($10.99/mo)
- Epix ($5.99/mo)
- AMC+ ($6.99/mo).
The Choice and Ultimate plans come with 3 months of free Premium channels (HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, Epix, and Cinemax) when you sign up, while the Entertainment plan comes with 3 months of all of them except HBO Max.
You can get a number of other channel-bundle add-ons like the Movies Extra Pack ($5/mo), which includes Hallmark Drama, Smithsonian Channel, and more.
DIRECTV STREAM offers a number of language-specific add-ons:
- Korean ($30/mo): SBS, MBC, KBS World, ENS, YTN, TAN TV, MBN, SBS Plus, National Geographic Channel Korea, Arirang TV, CTS.
- Vietnamese ($20/mo): SBTN, Vietface TV VGN, VIETV, S Channel, Film 24H, Vien Thao TV, HONVIETV, TViet Network.
- Brazilian ($30/mo): TV Globo, SporTV.
- Español ($15/mo): A3 Series, Antena 3 Internacional, Azteca TV, Baby TV, Bandamax, Canal 22 Internacional, Caracol TV, Cine Estelar, Cine Mexicano, Cine Nostalgia, Cine Sony, Cinelatino, CNN en Español, De Pelicula, De Pelicula Clasico, Discovery en Español, Discovery Familia, Ecuador TV, Ecuavisa Internacional, Enlace, ESPN Deportes, Estrella TV, FOROtv, Fox Deportes, Galavisión, GolTV Spanish, History En Español, HITN TV, MegaTV, MTV Tr3s, Multimedios, National Geographic Mundo, NTN24, Nuestra Tele, Once, Pasiones, Perú Mágico, Star Life, SUR Perú, TeleCentro, Telefe, Telemundo, TUDN, TV Chile, TVE, TVV, TyC Sports, UniMás, Universo, Univision, VePlus, VideoRola, ViendoMovies, Vme, WAPA América, ZooMoo, ¡HOLA! TV
- Deportes ($5/mo): ESPN Deportes, Fox Deportes, GolTV Spanish, TUDN, and TyC Sports.
DIRECTV STREAM User Experience
They also provide:
- Unlimited cloud DVR with 9 month storage
- Large selection of on-demand content including archives of most channels
- Stream on unlimited devices at home (some channels limit you to 3)
- Stream on up to 3 mobile devices away from home
- Use your account on countless apps using TV Everywhere
DIRECTV STREAM Devices and TVs
DIRECTV STREAM does not support as many devices as other services like FuboTV and Sling TV. But they still support the vast majority of devices currently in use. What’s more, they offer their own device.
Third-Party Devices and TVs
It’s likely you are already using a third-party streaming device or TV that DIRECTV STREAM supports.
Here is the complete list of supported devices:
- Amazon Fire TV (2nd gen)
- Fire TV Stick
- Fire TV Edition Smart TV
- Fire TV Cube
- Android mobile devices (OS v7.1+, 8 recommended)
- Apple TV (4th gen)
- Chromecast (2nd gen)
- iOS 11+ (12 recommended) (iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch)
- Samsung smart TVs (select models)
- Web browser (Chrome, Edge, Safari).
For more information, see our DIRECTV STREAM Device Guide.
DIRECTV STREAM Alternatives
- FuboTV: A great all-around streaming service with an awesome selection of sports channels. For $69.99/mo, you get 110+ channels (35+ sports-oriented), 1000 hours of cloud DVR, and the same stream limits as DIRECTV STREAM, unlimited in the home and 3 outside. They also have a solid selection of RSNs at this base price.
- Hulu + Live TV: The great on-demand streaming service adds an excellent selection of 85+ live TV channels for a great over-all cable replacement for $69.99/mo. And you get Disney+ and ESPN+ too. The base plan comes with unlimited DVR space and the ability to stream on up to 2 devices (upgradable with add-ons).
- Sling TV: This low-cost streaming service gives you 40+ channels, 50 hours of cloud DVR, and up to 3 simultaneous streams for just $35.00/mo. And if you want more, Sling offers the best selection of add-ons in the industry.
- Vidgo: You get 95+ channels (including lots of sports) for just $59.95/mo. It is a particularly good service for college sports fans because it offers almost all of the league channels like Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, and SEC Network. It doesn’t include a cloud DVR but it does allow you to stream on up to 3 devices simultaneously.
- YouTube TV: 85+ channels for $64.99/mo, similar to Hulu Live, but with an extra screen (for a total of 3) and without the Disney+ and ESPN+ goodies. Their channel lineup tends to be a bit volatile due to frequent carriage disputes.
DIRECTV STREAM is a solid way to cut the cord. And the ability to use its own streaming device makes it easy to do. So it’s a good choice for people who don’t like to make major changes.
It’s also the go-to service if you want RSNs in your area, ones that are not provided by other streaming services.
Is DIRECTV STREAM the same as DirecTV?
They are both owned by the same company, DirecTV, which in turn used to be owned by AT&T. In 2021, AT&T spun off all its TV provider services (DirecTV, DIRECTV STREAM, and U-Verse) into a separate company (though it retained a 70% ownership in the new company).
Typically, “DirecTV” is used to refer to the traditional satellite TV service, while DIRECTV STREAM is used for the streaming multichannel service.
Can I stream DirecTV on my TV?
You can run DIRECTV STREAM on your TV but there are details to consider. The DIRECTV STREAM app supports Samsung smart TVs directly. And it supports streaming devices that connect to your TV like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. Finally, you can cast to your TV if it supports that or by using a Chromecast device.
Do you get local channels with DIRECTV STREAM?
You betcha. Almost anywhere in the US, you’ll get all the same local stations you would get with your cable provider. New this year, DIRECTV STREAM now has agreements in place to carry 250 PBS stations, giving it 99% coverage over the country. Who’s up for some Masterpiece?
How many channels does DIRECTV STREAM have?
According to DIRECTV STREAM, their basic (Entertainment) plan comes with 65+ channels. Because of the uncertain support of local channels at every location, it’s hard to say for sure. But generally, DIRECTV STREAM’s lowest level plan should provide you with roughly 80 channels. The Choice plan provides 100 channels. And the Ultimate and Premier plans provide 135 and 145 each.
What channels are on DIRECTV STREAM?
Lots and lots, about the same as you’d expect from a cable service, only possibly cheaper and a whole lot less hassle. Why? Because you can most likely stream it on your existing equipment, you can get started right away, there’s no need for anyone to come out to your house, and you can cancel or change your plan any time you please. If you’re looking for an exhaustive list, see our comprehensive guide to DIRECTV STREAM’s lineups and prices.
Can DIRECTV STREAM work without internet?
No, that is one of the three things it absolutely does need to work. You need a device to watch on, an internet connection to stream on, and a DIRECTV STREAM account for access.
DIRECTV STREAM itself recommends at least 8 Mbps per stream for “optimal viewing.” So if you’re planning on streaming on two TVs at the same time, you’d need at least 16 Mbps. For two TVs and a tablet, 24 Mbps. And so forth. The size of the screen does not affect the amount of bandwidth necessary.
Is DIRECTV STREAM worth the price?
That’s a matter of opinion. If you’re a local MLB, NHL, or NBA fan who lives in a Bally Sports area, then absolutely, yes, DIRECTV STREAM is worth it. It has more regional sports networks than many cable providers, these days. If your a sports fan living in the Philadelphia area, than it will be decidedly less so.
For non-sports (or NFL) fans, it gets more complicated. DIRECTV STREAM has two big non-sports things going for it. First, it has amazing local channel coverage. And second, it carries channels from all the major media owners. Other services are all missing at least one (A+E Networks channels, for example, or AMC Networks, or the Turner channels) — DIRECTV STREAM carries them all.
If you’re looking to cut the cord to drastically cut your TV bill or because you just do not need all those channels, DIRECTV STREAM may not be the service for you.
What is the difference between AT&T TV and DIRECTV STREAM?
AT&T TV was the live TV streaming service of AT&T. But in August of 2021, it was changed into DIRECTV STREAM. This is part of a restructuring of AT&T, which is a majority owner of DirecTV. So it is simplest to think of AT&T TV and DIRECTV STREAM as the same thing.
The history of DIRECTV STREAM is complicated. We cover this stuff professionally and even we have been confused as to just what was going on. But here’s the timeline:
- 2016: DirecTV Now is started as a live TV streaming service addition to the DirecTV satellite TV service.
- 2019: DirecTV Now becomes AT&T TV Now.
- 2020: The cable-with-streaming service AT&T TV is launched.
- 2021 (Jan): AT&T TV Now ends; AT&T TV becomes a standard streaming service with no yearly contract.
- 2021 (Aug): AT&T TV becomes DIRECTV STREAM.
The bottom line here is that regardless of the past status, DirecTV Now, AT&T TV Now, and AT&T TV are all gone and there is only DIRECTV STREAM.
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