DIRECTV - 2023 Satellite TV ReviewUpdated December 23, 2022 Connectivity
Are you interested in satellite TV for your home? If so, it’s important to learn about DIRECTV for your television-watching needs. With its NFL Sunday Ticket, popular channel selection, low introductory rates, and affinity for 4k sports programming, DIRECTV is a popular satellite TV provider for households across the country.
- Pricing and Packages
- Service Bundling
- Special Offers
- How to Cancel DIRECTV
- Customer Service
As one of the two main satellite TV providers in the country, DIRECTV has easily made a name for itself as a leader in entertainment programming. Whether you want to watch FOX News to catch up on the latest stories from around the country or you want to catch your favorite series every week, DIRECTV has a plan that gives you the nationwide and local channels you need.
Depending on your DIRECTV package, you might have all the programming necessary to cut out other services, like Hulu Live TV or Sling TV, focusing on just one company for your family’s TV watching. However, DIRECTV is highly comparable to its major competitor, DISH Network, so it’s important to understand the companies’ primary differences before choosing one over the other.
Satellite TV vs Cable
Not sure if satellite or cable is the right choice for your household? Many people wonder about the differences between satellite TV and cable TV. Simply put, cable TV comes from a cable service provider that delivers TV and other data via special cables. Cable companies are typically known to be some of the best internet providers because a cable signal is strong, fast, and reliable. In contrast, satellite TV requires a satellite dish to receive wireless signals from a satellite orbiting the Earth.
Cable TV isn’t as prevalent in rural areas because it requires physical cable connections to reach customers’ homes. These lines can be incredibly expensive to run in rural areas without much connectivity. Therefore, satellite TV is usually the preferred type in these areas. Anyone can add a satellite dish to their home in an unobstructed area with trees and other objects, allowing a reliable signal.
Generally, satellite TV also offers more sports content than cable TV. DIRECTV, specifically, is known for its excellent selection of sports programming, like regional sports networks and the NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Overall, satellite DVR services can also be more affordable than DVR services offered by cable TV providers. Both DISH Network and DIRECTV offer free cloud DVR storage for specific plans with inexpensive upgrades for extra receivers to record and watch DVR content on any TV in the home.
What Is DIRECTV?
DIRECTV is a direct competitor of DISH Network as one of the two nationwide satellite TV providers. The company launched in 1994 when satellite TV technology had just become available to the public. DIRECTV reported nearly 14 million subscribers in their 2023 second quarter earnings report.
However, not all of those subscribers are satellite TV customers. DIRECTV also has a streaming service known as DIRECTV STREAM, which offers television programming streamed via the internet, similar to Netflix, YouTube TV, and Hulu.
DIRECTV’s satellite TV programming is available across the United States. It’s especially popular in rural areas that lack coverage from cable TV providers. DIRECTV is best known for its robust sports coverage, especially for NFL fans. NFL Sunday Ticket, launched in 1994, was its first sports package. The add-on became wildly popular with NFL fans who wanted to have access to all of the NFL’s Sunday games, including those typically out-of-market in their area.
DIRECTV has also created notable technology in the satellite TV industry, including creating the first airline television technology in 2000 and releasing high-definition satellite local channels to the masses.
In 2015, AT&T acquired DIRECTV, allowing unique and exciting partnerships between the two brands. AT&T customers soon found affordable discounts for DIRECTV services, and DIRECTV customers could bundle their internet service through AT&T for lower rates.
Current DIRECTV packages boast more channels than DISH Network’s offerings, with plenty of add-ons to customize your plan according to your TV-watching preferences.
DIRECTV Review (2023)
Is DIRECTV the best satellite TV provider for your household? Here’s everything you need to know before deciding.
Pricing and Packages
DIRECTV has four different packages for its satellite TV customers that include different numbers of channels and premium extras for prices that fit all budgets.
DIRECTV Entertainment is the base package that’s also the most budget-friendly. If you’re most interested in streaming live TV from local channels or catching up on your favorite shows from some of the most well-known channels without all the extras, then this is your best option. It starts at $74.99/month and includes favorites like HGTV, MTV, and CNN, for a total of more than 160 channels. You can also add premium networks for an extra cost to customize the plan to your watching preferences.
People who want an affordable way to get NFL Sunday Ticket with their TV package will probably opt for DIRECTV Choice, DIRECTV’s most popular option. At $79.99/month, this package is just slightly more than the Entertainment package, and it includes the full 2023 season of NFL Sunday Ticket at no extra cost. Plus, you’ll get more than 200 channels, including MLB Network, with several regional sports networks included to catch the latest baseball, basketball, and other sports matchups.
DIRECTV Ultimate is best for people who have more time to watch TV or enjoy unique programming. It has more than 270 channels, adding on some unique options, like Smithsonian Channel, National Geographic WILD, and CBS Sports Network. This package is $99.99/month, and, like others, you get special offers to add premium channels and movie networks. NFL Sunday Ticket is also included.
The biggest package is DIRECTV Premier for $149.99/month. Although it’s quite a bit pricier than other packages, it might be worth the cost if you’re big into movies. This package includes some of the best movie networks, like HBO Max and Cinemax, so you won’t have to add them on separately. Plus, you’ll get NFL Sunday Ticket and over 340 channels, including ESPN College Extra, Next Level Sports HD, and Outdoor Channel.
Rather than subscribing to DIRECTV’s English programming, you can opt for its Latino programming, which is also available in four packages. Mas Latino starts at $59.99/month for 120+ channels, including more than 55 channels solely in Spanish. Move up to Optimo Mas for 205+ channels – more than 80 Spanish-only channels – and extra sports and entertainment programming for $69.99/month. Mas Ultra gives 240+ channels for $74.99/month, while Lo Maximo adds plenty of entertainment with premium movie channels and a total of 350+ channels for $149.99/month.
With DIRECTV, you can get more than 340 channels, depending on the package you choose. The service lets you stream satellite programming from local channels, sports networks, premium movie channels, and more. You can expect to find similar channels with DIRECTV as you would cable or streaming service providers, like Spectrum Time Warner or YouTube TV, such as Fox Sports, ABC, the Food Network, or the Fox News channel.
Also, DIRECTV offers access to exclusive NFL network games, unlike DISH Network. This comes with NFL Sunday Ticket, which is currently available for free with Choice, Ultimate, and Premier plans.
Additionally, DIRECTV has more recently begun offering 4K programming with higher-quality visuals than its standard programming. Several movie and sports networks are available in 4K with DIRECTV.
Because AT&T owns DIRECTV, both companies work well together to give their customers exclusive deals through cross-promotions. Therefore, AT&T customers can save when they choose DIRECTV, and DIRECTV customers can bundle ATT internet services to save money.
A popular bundle for DIRECTV customers combines AT&T’s fiber internet plan with DIRECTV service for one monthly rate, typically saving anywhere from $10-$20/month compared to having the services separately. The companies also offer $5 off each month when you choose autopay rather than manual pay.
It’s important to note that most AT&T and DIRECTV bundles fall under the same 24-month contract pricing as DIRECTV service does. Therefore, after the first 12 months, your costs could rise significantly.
Also, note that promotions vary based on location, so not everyone across the country will have access to the same deals. Also, AT&T’s high-speed internet services are not available everywhere, so some DIRECTV customers will not be able to benefit from bundling their TV and internet services with both companies.
In addition to its regular TV packages, DIRECTV provides customers with several ways to customize their plans using add-ons. These additional offerings enhance the DIRECTV entertainment experience with sports channels, premium channels, and more.
NFL Sunday Ticket
NFL Sunday Ticket currently comes with Choice, Ultimate, and Premier DIRECTV packages for free for the 2023 season. However, you may need to pay for the add-on separately the following year. Also, Entertainment customers will need to pay for the package separately if they’d like to include it on their plan.
The NFL Sunday Ticket gives DIRECTV customers access to all out-of-market NFL games they wouldn’t get to see through regular programming on local channels and sports channels. Currently, the package is just under $300 for the full season, but you can upgrade to NFL Sunday Ticket Max for another $100. The premium version adds the Fantasy Zone Channel and NFL RedZone.
Other Sports Add-Ons
If you’re more of a baseball or basketball fan than football, you’re also in luck. DIRECTV lets you add packages similar to NFL Sunday Ticket for other sports, like NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings, and NHL Center Ice.
These packages also include access to out-of-market games and additional programming you can’t otherwise get on national or regional sports channels. Prices vary by sports package and the standard package you select for regular TV programming.
All DIRECTV packages aside from Essential include a special offer for three free months of premium channels, including Cinemax, STARZ, and HBO Max. These channels bring you some of the best classic and modern movies right to your home entertainment system.
To keep a premium channel in your lineup, you’ll pay a monthly fee for each, ranging between $5.99-$14.99.
Unlimited Cloud DVR Storage
DIRECTV satellite service includes a Genie DVR with up to 200 hours of recording time. If you’d like to get unlimited cloud DVR with your service, you’ll need a DIRECTV STREAM plan instead, which currently offers free unlimited recording with new signups.
Movies Extra Pack
The Movies Extra Pack – just $4.99/month – is an excellent way to add more movies to your DIRECTV lineup without paying extravagant prices. The pack includes nine premium movie channels, like Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hallmark Drama, and MGM HD. Plus, subscribers can try EPIX free for three months when they sign up.
International TV Packages
Add an international TV package to your English or Spanish DIRECTV plan to get additional channels in multiple languages, including Russian and Vietnamese. There are more than 65 channels available, depending on the plan you choose. Prices vary between $10-$45 a month and include everything from international sports and news to family-friendly entertainment and movies.
Some DIRECTV subscriptions include one Genie 2 device to operate your DIRECTV programming and record your favorite shows. However, you can add more Genie devices or receivers to your plan by contacting DIRECTV and requesting more equipment. Each additional receiver you add costs $7/month, but one comes free with Genie 2.
DIRECTV is the exclusive provider of the GENIE HD DVR, a DVR device that lets you record shows and movies you want to watch later. With this device, your family can record up to five shows at one time from the same device or separate devices, including the mobile app or other DVR receivers.
Schedule shows to record on the GENIE or start recording manually when you see something you want to save for later. You can also rewind up to 72 hours on compatible channels to see shows you might have missed and forgot to record. The device holds up to 200 hours of HD programming, so you won’t have to worry about deleting shows to make room for new ones regularly.
GENIE HD DVR connects to GENIE Mini devices, which are wireless receivers that you can add to other TVs in your home. Put these in bedrooms, family rooms, or entertaining areas to allow others in the home to watch and record DIRECTV programming, too.
GENIE equipment also supports 4K entertainment when used with a 4K-compatible TV and channels.
As DIRECTV begins marketing and prioritizing its DIRECTV STREAM service more than its satellite TV service, it’s difficult to find special offers to save on your satellite TV package. However, DIRECT TV STREAM customers can typically find deals, like its previous offer for college students gifting $10 off per month for the first 10 months of service.
Otherwise, you may need to look to other services you use that partner with DIRECTV for special offers. For example, members of Veterans Advantage can get an exclusive discount on their DIRECTV service when they sign up as new customers, starting at just $54.99/month.
It’s important to be aware of the potential extra costs you might face when you sign up for new satellite TV service with DIRECTV. One issue is a contract, which all new customers must agree to. If you’ve read reviews about DIRECTV, you might notice that its contracts are a significant pain point for customers.
Contracts are relatively normal for cable and satellite TV programming. However, many streaming services don’t require them, which is a major pro for many customers. But, both DIRECTV and DISH Network require contracts for two years for new customers. With DIRECTV, current customers can choose either a 12-month or 24-month contract when they renew.
The problem many have with the new customer contract is that you’re locked in for 24 months, but the introductory pricing only lasts for 12 months. During your second year, prices can rise significantly. In contrast, DISH Network locks your rate in for those two years of your contract, saving you money over its length.
You can get out of your contract by canceling your service, but you’ll face early termination charges. Learn more about these charges in the ‘How to Cancel DIRECTV’ section below.
Taxes can affect what you pay for DIRECTV. Tax charges vary by state, as some states charge specific sales taxes that others don’t, and states have different tax rates. Before signing up, you can look at your state’s tax laws to determine what taxes you can expect to find on your bill. You can also call DIRECTV’s customer support to request a rundown of the taxes your state has on TV programming.
Some people and businesses may be tax exempt, meaning that they won’t be charged extra for taxes on their bills. You can use the AT&T Tax Exempt Web Tool to determine if you have a tax exemption.
Fees can also increase the amount of your monthly DIRECTV bill, so it’s good to know about them ahead of time. DIRECTV may charge several different fees and surcharges to your bill, such as the regional sports fee, TV access fee for each Genie receiver, and an advanced receiver service fee for access all-inclusive programming.
DIRECTV also charges activation fees, technician fees, and late payment fees, unless otherwise noted in your agreement. If you fail to return DIRECTV equipment or terminate your contract early, you also could be subject to paying fees in addition to your regular bill.
How To Cancel DIRECTV
If you decide that DIRECTV isn’t right for you, you can cancel your service. However, be aware that there is a $20/month early termination fee if you cancel before your contract term has expired. For instance, if you have 8 months left on your contract, you’d pay $160 to cancel. DIRECTV may also charge a one-time deactivation fee of $15.
To cancel DIRECTV, call 1-844-773-0938. You can also call this number to hear about other options available instead of canceling your service. For example, you can suspend your service temporarily if you’d like to take a break rather than cancel it completely. Or, if you’re moving, let DIRECTV know your new address to get everything set up. Call 1-844-253-0945 if you’re interested in learning how to take your service with you.
DIRECTV has helpful customer service available 24/7 if you’re having trouble with your satellite TV service. Either enter a live chat with a tech support specialist or call 1-844-773-0938. For non-urgent issues, you can also contact DIRECTV via its Facebook and Twitter channels.
For non-technical customer support issues, like questions about your service or billing problems, call the same number between 8 AM and midnight, EST, to reach out to DIRECTV.
Should I Subscribe to DIRECTV?
DIRECTV is an excellent option for people who are NFL fans, love watching sports in 4k, and want the broadest selection of domestic and international channels. With over 300 channels, DIRECTV has just about everything you could want to watch. It also might be a good fit for you if you plan on switching to its DIRECTV STREAM service in the future, as moving over to its streaming service is a simple process.
However, DISH Network is a strong competitor with its two-year price guarantee and larger DVR storage than DIRECTV’s Genie. With DISH Network’s Hopper 3, you get up to 500 hours of recorded programming compared to DIRECTV Genie HD’s 200 hours. But, DISH doesn’t include as much for NFL fans as DIRECTV. Premium channels and add-ons are relatively comparable with either service.
We recommend speaking with representatives for both companies to determine the full pricing you can expect to pay, including fees and taxes, for each plan. Then, use the DIRECTV and DISH Network websites to compare the channels included in each package and weigh what you get for your money.