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Spectrum TV vs. DIRECTV In 2023
Choosing a TV provider might be tricky these days if you don’t know where to start. If you’re someone who’s just now beginning the process of choosing TV for your home and you know you enjoy having a pretty decent channel lineup, it’s definitely something to consider. Spectrum and DIRECTV both have solid options if you’re going to buy TV service.
Table of Contents
- Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Pros and Cons
- Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Plans
- DIRECTV and Spectrum's DVR and Pricing
- Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Bundles
- Great Features of Spectrum TV and DIRECTV
- Is Spectrum TV or DIRECTV Better?
Deciding between Spectrum TV and DIRECTV comes down to personal preference. Spectrum is cable while DIRECTV is satellite, meaning installation and fees are different. The number of channels is higher with DIRECTV, as well as sports selection and DVR capabilities. However, Spectrum certainly holds its own with affordable packages that come with all the channels you would want and even some premiums.
Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Pros and Cons
Let’s get into the specific advantages and disadvantages of both Spectrum and DIRECTV such as details on pricing, channel variety, included features and more. Both of these providers have their individual strengths, but they also have limitations which is why we created this layout to assist you in your decision-making process.
Best for: Basic and local channels
Spectrum is a good choice for those who want a basic package that’s affordable. Not too many channels or fancy stuff, just TV. Their most popular TV package is only $59.99/mo. and includes 150+ channels, the perfect amount for a household that uses TV to watch the news in the morning and sports on ESPN at night while cooking dinner. Nothing crazy. We will say that you get a lot of extra channels with DIRECTV’s basic package for only about $10 more.
- Affordable basic package
- No contract/Contract Buyout*
- You can only record two shows at once
- No regional sports with this plan
Best for: A large amount of variety channels
When it comes to channels, DIRECTV has significantly more regular and HD channels. Their basic package is a bit pricy and doesn’t have ESPN but they do have their prized NFL Sunday Ticket* and NBA League Pass. Also, their middle and largest packages have a lot more premium and blockbuster movie channel options for about the same price as Spectrum’s middle and largest packages. Also, more HD and entertainment channels than Spectrum on that front.
- Over 75 regular and HD channels in the basic package
- Available throughout 50 states
- Sports, premium, international channels available
- Monthly DVR service fee
- Two-year contract
Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Plans
If you’re looking for a TV service provider that has a lot of options to choose from, DIRECTV is your best bet. They offer four TV packages while Spectrum offers three. However, the first year of service is cheaper with Spectrum and has your local channel favorites.
DIRECTV offers both via Internet and satellite viewing options, with over 150 channels available. It’s a pretty good deal for the number of channels you get and the amount of shows you can record at once. The DVR service fee each month, however, is expensive.
|Pricing||Channels||HD Box Fee||DVR Service Fee|
|$39.99/mo.-$69.99/mo.||15 - 200+||$9.99/mo.||$9.99/mo.|
|Pricing*||Channels||Equipment Fee||DVR Service Fee|
|$64.99/mo.-$154.99/mo.||75+-150+||$7/mo.||Up to $25/mo.|
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DIRECTV and Spectrum's DVR and Pricing
One thing that sticks out to us is the DVR situation. For DIRECTV, they offer the Genie DVR that is included in your price, and a significantly larger amount of show storage. With the trusty Genie, you can record up to five shows at once racking up close to 200 hours of shows. With Spectrum’s DVR, you don’t get to choose which DVR you go with (your options are a Motorola or Cisco/SA DVR, and you don’t know which one you will get). In addition to the crazy price jumps after one year for both DIRECTV and Spectrum, at least with DIRECTV the DVR is included and the equipment fee is not that much. With Spectrum, on the other hand, you can only record up to 21-45 hours of shows and movies, and the DVR costs about $20 per month when you add together the service and equipment fee.
The key difference in the pricing aspect for both TV services is the contract. The fact that Spectrum doesn’t have a contract makes it a lot easier to negotiate your price when it hikes up after 12 months, which it definitely will. You can always hold that in your pocket and say, “Hey, I can leave at any time, and I would like to talk about a better price.” On the other hand, DIRECTV has a two-year contract and your price goes up after the first year. So, if you find that your price is too much to handle once that dollar sign racks up you are kind of stuck there for at least another year. For more advice on negotiating with your provider, check out our related post, “Questions to Ask Your Cable TV Provider“.
|Plan||Monthly Price||Channel Count|
|Spectrum Mi Plan Latino||$39.99||145+|
|Spectrum TV Select Signature||$59.99||150+|
|Spectrum TV Select Plus||$69.99||160+|
|DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT via Satellite||$64.99/mo. for 24 mos. + taxes & fees.*||75+|
|DIRECTV CHOICE™ via Satellite||$84.99/mo. for 24 mos. + taxes & fees.*||105+|
|DIRECTV ULTIMATE via Satellite||$109.99/mo. for 24 mos. + taxes & fees.*||140+|
|DIRECTV PREMIER via Satellite||$154.99/mo. for 24 mos. + taxes & fees.*||150+|
Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Bundles
The Double Play options for both DIRECTV and Spectrum work best with the internet service of that provider (AT&T Internet for DIRECTV and Spectrum Internet for Spectrum TV), although you could technically bundle with another provider as well. Bundling is all about convenience and minimizing headaches, and both providers make well in this regard.
|Price||Channels||Internet Speed||Data Cap|
|$109.98/mo. w/ Auto Pay||150+||Up to 300 Mbps||Unlimited|
|Price||Channels||Internet Speed||Data Cap|
|$144.99/mo.||160+||Up to 1000 Mbps||Unlimited with select bundles|
Great Features of Spectrum TV and DIRECTV
HBO*, SHOWTIME, STARZ/ENCORE and Cinemax are available to add on to your service with both Spectrum and DIRECTV. Spectrum TV features many more available add-ons.
DIRECTV offers tons of sports options like NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice and MLS Direct Kick, among others.
Both Spectrum TV and DIRECTV have a few perks to offer new and existing customers.
- Cable TV technology
- Nationwide (46 states)
- $500 contract buyout*
- No contract
- No data caps
- Choose to stream or watch via satellite
- 4K Ultra HD and 3D HD
- Record up to 5 shows at once*
- 200 hours of DVR storage*
- DVR included in price
- Premiums included for 3 months
Is Spectrum TV or DIRECTV Better?
Spectrum TV and DIRECTV are both high-quality options for TV lovers. They each provide tons of channels with crisp resolution, and also offer many packages to choose from.
Ultimately, your decision may come down to availability. Spectrum is widely available across the country, and a Spectrum Internet and TV bundle is very convenient for many families. In non-Spectrum areas, DIRECTV offers a robust TV solution that can be enjoyed via streaming or via satellite. It is best paired with a fiber internet solution such as AT&T Fiber.
Both Spectrum TV and DIRECTV should offer a package that satisfies everyone in your household. If you need more assistance choosing a TV plan for your home, call the phone number on this page and a helpful representative can guide you through options available at your address.
Frequently asked questions
What is Spectrum's cheapest TV package?
The biggest bargain with Spectrum's cable TV packages is the Spectrum Mi Plan Latino package. If you want to bundle internet with it as well, look into Spectrum TV Essentials.
What is the difference between cable and DIRECTV?
Cable comes through a wired connection while satellite is wireless and relies on radio signals, best for rural areas.
Is cable or satellite better?
Cable is better for areas where it is available because it’s a physical connection that won’t cut out or lag when the weather is bad or there is building or tree blockage in the way. Satellite is better for areas where there is not really another option. Rural areas are best, because the connection is the strongest.
Written by: Hayley Abshear
Edited by: Jessica Moore