DIRECTV, a well-known and trusted name in the TV space, offers both DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV. So why would one company own two different TV services? How do the services differ? Let’s dive in.

Table of Contents

  • Overview of DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV
  • How to Choose Between DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV
  • DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV Plans and Prices
  • FAQ


DIRECTV STREAM is a completely internet-based TV provider. Together, AT&T operates both satellite (DIRECTV) and internet (DIRECTV STREAM) TV service through the DIRECTV brand. Each service has their own respective prices, packages and bundles, with varying perks.

Brief Overview of DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV

Telecommunications companies can be a bit convoluted. Between TV services, ISP-owned TV services, streaming services and an endless amount of bundles, it can get confusing to be a customer. Recent years have seen plenty of mergers, re-brandings and headaches. We’re going to dive into what the differences are between DIRECTV STREAM, DIRECTV and any other branding related to AT&T TV services.

DIRECTV has long been the number one* satellite TV service in the country, and AT&T wanted to expand in the TV service industry. A logical way to expand their TV customer count would be by purchasing DIRECTV.

In 2015, AT&T purchased DIRECTV for $67.1 billion and absorbed its 20 million DIRECTV subscribers into AT&T. More recently, in 2021, DIRECTV was once again made a standalone company and the brand AT&T TV was renamed to DIRECTV STREAM.

DIRECTV best for Sports
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How to Choose Between DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV

Now that the initial confusion dust has settled, let’s see what each TV service does best. DIRECTV STREAM isn’t available to DIRECTV customers so choosing between the two DIRECTV-owned TV services is necessary.


DIRECTV STREAM is best for streaming or recording your favorite shows.

You can watch live local and national TV*, use your own compatible device to watch (or use the DIRECTV STREAM streaming device) and also access over 7,000 apps** through Google Play. The service also comes with 20 hours of Cloud DVR included but for $10/mo. more you can get unlimited storage. This is perfect for recording your favorite channels and streaming anywhere, though be aware recordings delete after 90 days.

  • Cloud DVR
  • Can purchase regardless of internet provider
  • Available everywhere
  • Super easy setup
  • Google Assistant*** and Google Play
  • Dependent on fast internet
  • Can get expensive
  • Regional sports fees can be up to $8.49/mo.


DIRECTV is best for sports fans.

NFL Sunday Ticket, MLB Extra Innings, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice and MLS Direct Kick are all available with DIRECTV, not to mention ESPN, FS1 and more being included. If you’re a diehard sports fan or just like watching a game now and then, DIRECTV’s incredible sports lineup should have you covered.

DIRECTV’s higher-end packages are great for TV lovers as well, but sports is where DIRECTV thrives.

  • Most live sports in 4K HDR*
  • 340 channels**
  • Thousands of on demand titles
  • #1 Satellite TV service in U.S.
  • Free Genie HD DVR
  • Satellite TV can be affected by weather
  • Prices rise in second year of contract
  • Regional sports fees can be up to $10/mo.


Now that we’ve explained the differences between DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV and went over some quick pros and cons, we can begin to examine plans.

Package NameStarting Price*Number of ChannelsTop ChannelsInclusions
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT via Internet$64.99/mo. + taxes75+ESPN, TNT, Nick, HGTVN/A
DIRECTV CHOICE™ via Internet$84.99/mo. + taxes105+ESPN U, Cooking Channel, Game Show Network, Comedy TV1 year HBO Max™
DIRECTV ULTIMATE via Internet$109.99/mo. + taxes140+STARZ Encore, NHL Network, Destination America, Lifetime Movie Network1 year HBO Max™
DIRECTV STREAM PREMIER$149.99/mo. + taxes140+HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, STARZHBO Max™

What are DIRECTV's Prices?

Let’s take a look at DIRECTV’s plans.

Package NameStarting Price*Channel CountInclusions
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT via Satellite$64.99/mo. + taxes165+N/A
DIRECTV CHOICE™ via Satellite$84.99/mo. + taxes200+1 year HBO Max™, NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass
DIRECTV ULTIMATE via Satellite$109.99/mo. + taxes270+1 year HBO Max™, NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass
DIRECTV PREMIER via Satellite$154.99/mo. + taxes340+HBO Max™, NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass


DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV are both great options for speculative TV customers. Which one is better for you depends wholly on your preferences and specific needs.

DIRECTV STREAM’s easy installation (plugging in their device) is super easy but the service is dependent on fast internet speeds. It’s also compatible with many streaming devices including Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple and iOS, Google, Roku and Samsung.

If you’re big into streaming and want lots of cloud storage, DIRECTV STREAM is perfect for you.

DIRECTV uses satellites so installation is, of course, more complex. Satellite antennae are also prone to the elements and not every homeowner is allowed to have a satellite dish on their roof. But DIRECTV’s plethora of sports channels, and industry-leading 4K picture quality, make DIRECTV a must for any sports lover.

If you’re a sports fan and want to keep up with action from every league, there is truly no better TV provider than DIRECTV.

Frequently asked questions

Does DIRECTV STREAM have contracts?

No annual contracts are required.

What happened to AT&TV Now?

AT&T TV Now merged with DIRECTV STREAM and is no longer available to new customers.

What happened to AT&T U-verse?

To focus their efforts on AT&T TV, AT&T has decided to stop accepting new customers for U-verse. Any existing customers won't have their service affected until their contracts expire, though AT&T is offering plenty of incentives for U-verse customers to switch over to DIRECTV STREAM.

Do I need AT&T internet for DIRECTV STREAM?

No. Any high-speed internet service provider can be used.

Does DIRECTV have a basic package?

DIRECTV's basic package is its ENTERTAINMENT package.

What's the difference between DIRECTV STREAM and DIRECTV?

Although both services are owned by DIRECTV, the technologies involved are different. DIRECTV still uses satellites to provide TV service while DIRECTV STREAM is an internet-provided TV service.

Does AT&T own DIRECTV?

AT&T bought DIRECTV in 2015 but in 2021, DIRECTV was made its own company again to focus on delivering TV services.

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