DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV

Fighting for the future of live internet television

DIRECTV
Directv
DIRECTV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Prices
$59.99-$159.99
Channel Count Max
185
YouTube TV
Price
$72.99
Channel Count Max
100
Michael Archambault
May 28, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

Both DIRECTV and YouTube TV are looking to win that special place in your living room as your live television provider, but which deserves the award?

Some television providers require running special wiring to your home or installing a bulky satellite dish. DIRECTV and YouTube TV both deliver service via your existing home internet connection, making installation easy. You can choose to connect to DIRECTV via satellite if that's your jam, but you'll get fewer channels.

You can watch either live TV service anywhere you have a stable internet connection—no dedicated TV box required with streaming services.

Let’s dive into which option would be best for you—DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV.

How do DIRECTV and YouTube TV compare?

ProviderDIRECTV via InternetYouTube TV
Price$69.99-$159.99*$72.99
Channels90–185100
Max DVR hoursUnlimited HD hrs.Unlimited HD hrs.
ContractNoneNone
Details
Data as of 04/05/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes. Req's purchase of Device. New customers only.
reviews.org next zip logo
Find the best television providers in your area.

How much are DIRECTV and YouTube TV’s packages?

DIRECTV is pricer, but it may be worth the cost

Streaming with DIRECTV and YouTube TV begins at reasonable prices ($69.99/mo.–$72.99/mo.) that won’t make you feel as though you are being fleeced out of your money for no content.

Both services don’t employ the hidden cost game to get more money out of you. For the most part, the price you see is the price you pay.

While DIRECTV offers a more typical package structure, charging you more money for an increased channel count, YouTube TV has only a single offering.

This YouTube TV pricing scheme is great for those who only need the basics, but others looking for more channels may feel wanting.

If you’re not a TV binge-watcher or only want the basics, YouTube TV might be a great option. However, many TV and movie aficionados will gravitate towards DIRECTV's more extensive channel offering.

How much is DIRECTV?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT$69.99/mo. + tax90+
CHOICE™$84.99/mo. + tax125+
ULTIMATE$114.99/mo. + tax160+
PREMIER$159.99/mo. + tax185+
Price subj. to change for new and existing customers.

Compared to its competitors, DIRECTV does appear to be one of the more expensive services available. However, you’ll quickly discover that other providers’ hidden fees rapidly add up to a more expensive bill, and you’ll find yourself paying more than you originally thought.

DIRECTV's cheapest package is $3 cheaper than YouTube TV’s only packages. If you're only interested in an entry-level TV package, we say go with DIRECTV's cheaper option, as you'll only have 10 fewer channels than YouTube TV. But once you want to start reaching channel counts above 100, DIRECTV becomes your only option.

How much is YouTube TV?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
YouTube TV$72.99/mo.100+
Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

There isn’t any decision-making needed once you jump aboard the YouTube TV train.

With only a single package, YouTube simplifies selecting a live television provider at the expense of available content.

YouTube TV’s only pricing option is cheaper than DIRECTV's most affordable streaming option, so if you’re after the basics, YouTube TV might be the option for you.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV no contracts

One of the best aspects of selecting either DIRECTV or YouTube TV is the lack of service contracts. Some providers require you to sign multi-year contracts to get the best pricing at sign-up, but you won’t need to worry about that factor here.

Additionally, breaking service contracts with some providers results in nasty termination fees. If you aren’t happy with either DIRECTV or YouTube TV, you can cancel your service at any time with no pricing consequences.

Not even all of our best TV providers include this option.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV no hidden fees

With DIRECTV and YouTube TV, what you see is what you pay. There are no hidden fees for either service.

YouTube TV does offer a 4K service option, but at $10 a month ($20 a month after 12 months), and a limited selection of channels, we feel that most customers can go without it.

DIRECTV offers a media streaming box that you can purchase to stream the service to your television. Still, it isn’t necessary if you already own a compatible device, including Fire TVApple TV, Chromecast, or Roku.

If you opt to purchase DIRECTV’s media streaming box, it will either cost you $120 upfront or $5 per month over 24 months with no interest.

You can stream YouTube TV via the same streaming boxes that are compatible with DIRECTV, as well as Xbox and PlayStation.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV fees
Fee
YouTube TV
DIRECTV streaming

Each TV box

N/A

Up to $10.00/mo.

HD technology fee

Included

Included

DVR fee

Included

Up to $10.00/mo.

Broadcast fee

Included

Included

Regional sports fee

Included

Included

4K service fee

$10.00/mo. for 12 mos. then $20.00/mo.

N/A

*Data effective 1/31/2024. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV bundles

Save a bit more money with DIRECTV and CenturyLink internet

Bundling is a common practice that allows you to get more services for your home at a reduced price.

If you’re looking to bring down the cost of your monthly bills, you can combine your internet and television services with DIRECTV and CenturyLink Internet for some cost savings.

Additionally, bundling will put your services on a single bill, making tracking your finances all the bit easier.

Comparison of DIRECTV bundles
Plan
Monthly price*
Channels
Download speeds
Details
DIRECTV® ENTERTAINMENT + CenturyLink Internet$114.99/mo.^165+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® ENTERTAINMENT + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$154.99/mo.^165+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® CHOICE™ + CenturyLink Internet$134.99/mo.°200+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® CHOICE™ + CenturyLink Fiber Internet$154.99/mo.**200+Up to 940 Mbps
DIRECTV® ULTIMATE + CenturyLink Internet$159.99/mo.°270+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® ULTIMATE + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$199.99/mo.°270+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® PREMIER™ + CenturyLink Internet$204.99/mo.°340+Up to 100 Mbps
DIRECTV® PREMIER™ + CenturyLink Internet + Home Phone$244.99/mo.°340+Up to 100 Mbps
^ Internet: Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. TV: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
° Internet: Speed may not be available in your area. Paperless billing or prepay required. Additional taxes, fees, and surcharges apply. TV: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.
** Internet: Speed may not be available in your area. Maximum download/upload speed of up to 940 Mbps via a wired connection. Paperless billing required. Taxes and fees apply. TV: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

When it comes to YouTube TV, bundling isn’t an option.

YouTube is owned by Google, which does offer its Google Fiber service to a few select areas in the country, but the company has yet to offer bundles to its customers in those areas.

Active internet service is required for both DIRECTV and YouTube TV, so bundling may be a smart option when taking a look at CenturyLink’s services.

Otherwise, be sure to take a look at the best internet service providers to see what other options may be available to you.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV channels

One service has the clear content advantage

There is no getting past the fact that in comparison to DIRECTV's channel offerings, YouTube TV appears a bit anemic.

However, the provider with the most channels isn’t always the winner. It’s more essential to select a service with the channels you want to watch than paying for hundreds of channels you won’t give a second glance.

That being said, make sure the plan you select from DIRECTV or the service you opt for from YouTube TV includes your favorite channels, so you won’t feel as though you made a wrong decision.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV channels
Channel
DIRECTV streaming
YouTube TV

FOX

Yes

Yes

ESPN

Yes

Yes

Univision

Yes

No

USA

Yes

Yes

MSNBC

Yes

Yes

The CW

Yes

Yes

Hallmark

Yes

No

HISTORY

Yes

No

*Data effective 2/09/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

For more details on channels provided with each package, we recommend you check out our full reviews of both DIRECTV and YouTube TV.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV premium channels

DIRECTV and YouTube TV both allow you to throw an extravagant movie night thanks to available premium channels such as Max and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®.

Neither provider is a clear winner when it comes to package offerings, as both services have cheaper options than the other.

One advantage of streaming with DIRECTV is that subscribers of the service’s Choice or Ultimate packages include three free months of Max.

DIRECTV and Youtube TV premium channels
Channel
DIRECTV prices
YouTube TV prices

Max

$15.99/mo.

$15.99/mo.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®

$11.00/mo.

$11.99/mo.

CINEMAX

$11.00/mo.

$9.99/mo.

STARZ

$11.00/mo.

$8.99/mo.

MGM+

$6.00/mo.

$5.99/mo.

*Data effective 1/31/2024. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV sports channels

If you’re a sports fan, this may be where the deciding factor is made—which sports channels are available on each service.

Remember, sports fans, pick the option that includes the most sports channels that you will actually watch. Don’t merely select the provider with the most selection.

YouTube TV

  • ACC Network (ACCN)
  • Big Ten Network (BTN)
  • CBS Sports
  • ESPN, ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • SEC Network
  • ESPNU
  • FS1, FS2
  • Golf Channel
  • NBA TV
  • NBCSN
  • NFL Network
  • Olympic Channel SNYHD

And now exclusively with YouTube TV, you can bundle NFL Sunday Ticket with your live-streaming service. Add just NFL Sunday Ticket or pair it with the NFL RedZone Channel on top of a YouTube TV subscription or a la carte. 

DIRECTV Entertainment package

  • ESPN HD
  • ESPN2 HD
  • FS1
  • MotorTrend

DIRECTV Choice package

  • ACC Network (ACCN)
  • Big Ten Network HD
  • ESPNews HD
  • ESPNU HD
  • FanDuel TV HD
  • FS1
  • Golf Channel HD
  • MLB Network HD
  • MotorTrend
  • NBA TV
  • SEC Network
  • Tennis Channel HD

DIRECTV Ultimate and Premier packages

  • CBS Sports Network
  • FS2
  • Golf Channel
  • NHL Network
  • TUDN HD

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV DVR

Man pointing remote toward TV and DVR

YouTube TV has your back

A DVR allows you to record your favorite bits of live television so you can watch content on your own schedule. DVRs are perfect for couples who have shows on simultaneously or for those working during their favorite afternoon talk shows.

Sports fans can also take advantage of DVRs, ensuring that they never miss out on their favorite matches.

Streaming with DIRECTV provides 20 hours of HD recording time for no included cost, but new online customers of DIRECTV can get unlimited DVR storage.

On the other hand, YouTube TV includes unlimited recording time in its base price for all plans, making it the best deal for those attached to their DVRs.

DIRECTV vs. YouTube TV DVR
DVR details
DIRECTV streaming
YouTube TV

DVR storage space

Cloud DVR: 20-Unlimited hours

Cloud DVR: Unlimited hours

Set-top box price

Up to $49.99/mo.

N/A

DVR fee

Up to $10.00/mo.

Included

*Data effective 2/09/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

Recap: The future of live TV

One reigns supreme, but both are solid choices

DIRECTV and YouTube TV both know what they are doing when it comes to the future of live television. By getting rid of outrageous hidden fees and sinister contracts, the two services offer a more consumer-friendly service.

Additionally, as both DIRECTV and YouTube TV operate over the internet, they’ve eliminated the need to be tied to your home. Anywhere you can get internet access, you can watch your favorite shows and movies with the tap of a screen.

We love both services, but this is a battle, so let’s pick a winner—DIRECTV.

While both DIRECTV and YouTube TV offer excellent services in their rights, DIRECTV comes through with its outstanding channel selection with over 185+ channels.

You’ll be paying a tad more with DIRECTV, but it’s an excellent choice for those who find themselves living on their couches or favorite recliners in the evening.

That said, YouTube TV is still a spectacular service that offers the basics of television, plus a bit more, at a low monthly cost.

The best choice for your home will depend on what you value most—a large selection of content or a lower monthly TV bill.