DIRECTV Review

DIRECTV will have everything you need, but it does come with a midcontract price increase

Directv
DIRECTV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
  • pro
    DIRECTV has tons of premium channels
  • pro
    Fees are not outrageous like other TV companies
  • con
    Satellite packages have 2-year contract
Chantel Buchi
Jan 30, 2024
bullet6 min read

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DIRECTV is a great TV option for those who want premium channels and a traditional TV feel in their living room.

This satellite TV service has all the channels you'll want—including premium channels like Max, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME® and STARZ. And now, users can even choose to stream DIRECTV via the internet, which gets you more channels than satellite packages.

Although DIRECTV's plans have expensive packages, you're guaranteed a great channel variety for the family, movie buffs, and sports addicts.

You may have to budget wisely to have this great service in your home, but read on to see if this is the provider for you.

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How much does DIRECTV cost?

With each TV plan, DIRECTV includes a fair amount of channels for a price that won't break the bank—especially if you're saving up some money for a beach vacation during the winter. DIRECTV recently slashed its satellite channel counts per plan by more than half. 

Without lowering prices simultaneously, DIRECTV's satellite packages are on the steep side. Less than 80 channels for $70 per month? Or 105 for $85? We don't love those numbers. We recommend DIRECTV via Internet packages, which get you 20 more channels per package.

But if you’re looking for all your favorite channels and a TV service widely available across the US, DIRECTV is the service for you. Users can even choose to connect their DIRECTV service through a satellite dish or internet connection.

But like we said, we recommend the internet plans for more channels, plus you'll dodge signing a two-year contract. 

How much is DIRECTV?
Plan
Price
Satellite TV channel count
Internet TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT $69.99/mo.*75+90+
CHOICE™ $84.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees105+125+
ULTIMATE $114.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees140+160+
PREMIER™ $159.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees150+185+
ÓPTIMO MÁS™$59.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees100+115+
* w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
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.
w/ 24 mo. agmt. 2nd year price currently $98.99/mo. + tax & fees. Price subj. to change.

New approved residential customers, price incl. TV pkg & equip. fees for first TV. Add’l fees may apply to non-qualified customers. Early agmt termination fee applies ($20/mo.) & add’l fee(s) may apply if equip. not returned. Credit card req’d. Restr’s apply. $19.95 activation & equipment lease req’d for satellite customers. Equipment lease req’d for DIRECTV via Internet customers in some sales channels.

Does DIRECTV have a contract?

As we said in our price hike rant up above, yes, DIRECTV's satellite packages have a two-year contract. Most TV services do, but you can choose DIRECTV's internet packages to avoid a contract.

While it's nice to have a set price for two years, it will be a pain to get out of the contract early if you decide to switch. You’ll have to pay an early termination fee if you want out of the relationship. This means you’ll have to pay up to $20 per month that is left on your contract. 

But if you want DIRECTV because of all of the premium channels they offer or because satellite TV is your only TV option in your area, then this pill won't be so hard to swallow.

Sign up for autopay and paperless bill discount

Make sure to sign up for autopay and paperless billing as soon as you sign up for DIRECTV. You’ll get a $5-per-month discount that starts in the first 1–4 billing cycles. This discount only applies for the first year (which is wack, if you ask us).

Does DIRECTV have fees?

Here’s a plus: DIRECTV gives you free installation and free DVR storage. No monthly payment!

But you do have to pay for a monthly regional sports fee and advanced receiver fee. Dang, DIRECTV. There you go hurting us again.

Like most other TV providers, you’ll have to pay a monthly DVR fee for additional TV receivers if your daughter and son want one in their room.

How much are DIRECTV's fees?

Fee
Monthly price

DVR service fee

Included

Installation cost

Included

Additional receiver fee

$7.00/mo.

Advanced receiver fee

$15.00/mo.

Regional sports fee

Up to $15.99/mo.

Data effective 1/17/2024.

Which DIRECTV package should you choose?

First of all, pick out your must-have channels. Then, pick a package based around those channels that’s affordable for you.

But let us help you decide which package might be the chosen one:

  • ENTERTAINMENT: With DIRECTV's starter package, you'll have all of your family's favorites like Disney Channel, HGTV, and CNN. Channels that you miss out on going from CHOICE to ENTERTAINMENT that are worth mentioning are TeenNick and TV Land, but in return, you get ESPN and Lifetime Movie Network. 
  • CHOICE: The CHOICE package tends to the sports-watching families. Not only do you get a few more key sports channels, like NFL Network, but football fans will also get access to ESPN College Extra with DIRECTV. 
  • ULTIMATE: This upgrade adds channels for movie lovers, such as ENCORE Action and ENCORE Drama. If you’re a big fan of Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer, you’re going to want this package for the Tennis Channel. And your kids will love Boomerang and PBS Kids. Plans ULTIMATE and below also get three months free of Max, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, STARZ, Cinemax, and MGM+. Just make sure to cancel after three months if you don't want to pay for them.
  • PREMIER: The biggest package is for the movie buffs and includes 45+ premium channels, including Max, Cinemax, STARZ, and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®. And for international sports fans, the PREMIER package also includes Fox Deportes and Fox Soccer Channel.

Which channels does DIRECTV have?

Luckily, you don’t have to pay for the highest-tier packages to get the channels you want with DIRECTV. You’re likely to find the channel variety you need in the ENTERTAINMENT plan. (All plans include your local channels, as well.) 

But don’t let us stop you if you need a channel lineup that has all the sports or all the movies. We’ll highlight some channels each package includes when you upgrade from one to another. And keep in mind that DIRECTV via Internet plans offer more channels.

DIRECTV'S ENTERTAINMENT plan includes the following:

  • A&E (internet only)
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC America
  • Bloomberg TV
  • Cartoon Network
  • CNN
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN, ESPN2
  • Food Network
  • Fox News
  • Hallmark Channel
  • HGTV
  • MSNBC (satellite only)
  • National Geographic
  • Nickelodeon
  • PBS Kids
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Univision
  • USA Network

DIRECTV CHOICE plan includes the following:

  • A&E
  • Big Ten Network
  • CNBC World
  • Cooking Channel
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • Game Show Network (GSN)
  • Lifetime
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • Nick Jr. 
  • Science Channel
  • Unimás

DIRECTV ULTIMATE plan includes the following:

  • BBC World News
  • Discovery Family Channel
  • FX Movie Channel
  • Golf Channel
  • Lifetime Movie Network
  • MTV Classic
  • NHL Network
  • STARZ ENCORE Action
  • STARZ ENCORE Family
  • STARZ ENCORE Suspense
  • THE MOVIE CHANNEL
  • Universal Kids

DIRECTV PREMIER plan includes the following:

  • CINEMAX ActionMax
  • ESPN College Extra
  • FLIX
  • Fox Deportes
  • Fox Soccer Channel
  • HBO Comedy
  • HBO Family
  • HBO Latino
  • Outdoor Channel
  • SHOWTIME EXTREME
  • SHOWTIME FAMILYZONE
  • STARZ Cinema
  • STARZ Kids & Family
  • CINEMAX ThrillerMax

How much are DIRECTV's premium channels and add-ons?

Guess what? DIRECTV tosses a free subscription to CINEMAX, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, STARZ, and MGM+ for three months on all plans, and you get them all (minus MGM+) included in PREMIER. That's one of the best premium channel perks in the TV industry!

Don't forget to cancel your subscription after the three months is up, or else you'll be charged $54 per month. Or just make sure you budget so you won't have to miss out on Raised by Wolves, Strike Back, or Billions.

How much are DIRECTV's premium channels?

Plan
Price
Details
Max™$15.99/mo.
CINEMAX®$10.99/mo.
Paramount+ with SHOWTIME® $10.99/mo.
STARZ®$10.99/mo.

Which DIRECTV package is best for sports?

To put it simply, the more you can budget for your monthly bill, the more sports channels you’ll get.

You’ll get a complete list of sports channels if you go as high as the ULTIMATE package (especially if you want to watch your O's, D-backs, or Yanks). You can also add MLB Extra Innings to any DIRECTV package.

DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT includes the following sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • FOX Sports 1 (FS1)
  • MotorTrend

DIRECTV CHOICE includes the above sports channels and the following:

  • ACC Network (ACCN)
  • DIRECTV HD SPORTSMIX
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • FanDuel TV
  • Golf Channel
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network

DIRECTV ULTIMATE includes all the sports channels above and the following:

  • CBS Sports Network
  • FS2
  • NHL Network
  • SEC Network

DIRECTV PREMIER includes all the sports channels above and the following:

  • ESPN College Extra
  • Next Level Sports
  • Outdoor Channel
  • Sportsman Channel

DIRECTV used to be it for football lovers with a free season of NFL Sunday Ticket. However, since the fall of 2023, NFL Sunday Ticket has moved to YouTube TV.

DIRECTV offers the following add-on packages:

  • Movies Extra pack: $4.99/mo. (first three months included)
  • DOGTV: $4.99/mo. (first month included)
  • AMC+: $6.99/mo.
  • Outdoor Channel: $4.99/mo.
  • Hallmark Movies Now: $5.99/mo. (or check out other ways to watch the Hallmark channels)
  • Hvault: $4.99/mo.
  • Lifetime Movie Club: $3.99/mo.
  • A&E Crime Central: $4.99/mo.
  • Pantaya: $5.99/mo.
  • Revry: $6.99/mo.
  • Sports Pack: $14.99/mo.

You can also get DIRECTV packages for the following languages ($10.00–$37.99):

  • Italian
  • Filipino
  • Russian
  • Brazilian Portuguese
  • Chinese
  • Korean
  • Vietnamese
  • Spanish
  • Japanese

How much is DIRECTV's DVR?

DIRECTV satellite users will get the Genie DVR.  We appreciate that DIRECTV includes your first DVR, and it’s got plenty of storage. For satellite users, the Genie DVR holds up to 200 HD hours, which falls behind the 500 hours of the DISH Hopper 3, but is still a lot more than other competitors. The Genie also requires installation, which is, thankfully, included in your package.

DIRECTV via Internet users get the Gemini Air DVR device. It offers unlimited DVR hours and storage up to 9 months. Plus, its easy to self-install. 

How much storage do DIRECTV's DVRs have?

DVR
Price
Storage
DVR expiration
Details

Genie

Included ($15/mo. advanced receiver fee)

200 HD hrs.

Never

Gemini Air

Included ($15/mo. advanced receiver fee)

Unlimited

Up to 9 months

The Genie DVR is one of the best brand DVRs out there. You get 4K resolution, the ability to switch between games, and the ability to connect up to eight TVs wirelessly. You can record five programs at once with a single Genie DVR, and you can schedule it on your TV or online.

You can take your DVR recordings on-the-go with the Gemini Air and DIRECTV app, too. So if you start your day with Good Morning America, you don’t have to stop once you get goin’ on your commute.

Recap: Is DIRECTV good?

We’re not gonna lie, we really like how DIRECTV doesn't have second-year price hikes anymore. The pricing is reasonable and we applaud the premium channel perks. Plus, you can choose between a satellite or internet connection.

And although its packages are pricey, you will get everything you want from DIRECTV. DIRECTV includes most of your favorite channels for you and your family to enjoy.

We recommend the ULTIMATE plan to get most of the sports channels DIRECTV offers, and PREMIER includes almost all premium channels plus NFL RedZone.

DIRECTV plans and pricing recap

Chantel Buchi
Written by
Chantel Buchi
Chantel is all about finding the best tv or streaming service to watch as many football games as possible to keep her Fantasy Football team in check. Prior to being a TV and Streaming Tech Reporter for Reviews.org, she worked for NFL Network and The Alliance of American Football. Before that, she received a B.A. of Communication at the University of Utah and an M.S. in Sports Journalism at USC. Go Utes and Fight On. Contact her at chantel@reviews.org

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