DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-Verse

Which are you a bigger fan of: sports coverage or shorter contracts? Between DIRECTV and AT&T, the differences are minimal, but important.
Best for sports
Price: $35–$110/mo.
Channels: 330+
Best for pricing
Price: $35–$110/mo.
Channels: 550+

You may have to look twice and rub your eyes in disbelief at these dopplegangers. While some may think the two companies are the same, DIRECTV and AT&T offer similar services, but with some important differences.

We think DIRECTV is the best choice for most people, especially sports fans, but only if they’re cool with 2-year contracts and a price increase after the first year.  AT&T also has a price increase after the first year, but it requires a one-year contract only. Plus, AT&T has some of the highest channel counts out there, amigos.

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DIRECTV vs. AT&T price comparison

DIRECTV vs. AT&T comparison
FeaturesDIRECTVAT&T U-verse
Price$35–$110/mo.*$35–$110/mo.†
Channels330* 550+
Max DVR hours200 hrs. HD165 hrs. HD
Contract2 yrs1 yr.
Learn moreView plansView plans

Data effective 10/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-yr contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13–24.
†For 12 months with a 1-yr agreement & Autopay

DIRECTV resembles AT&T’s pricing…until after the first year

With a similar price range for the first year of service, DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse are pretty comparable.

With this in mind, DIRECTV CHOICE hits a sweet spot between channels and price. And for the time being, you’ll get one year of NFL SUNDAY TICKET included with your purchase (the price is usually just south of $300, so that’s a big bonus for football fans).

DIRECTV prices and plans
PlanPrice*ChannelsLearn more
DIRECTV SELECT™ All-Included$35/mo.
155+ channels
View plans
DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT All-Included$40/mo.160+ channelsView plans
DIRECTV CHOICE™ All Included$45/mo.185+ channelsView plans
DIRECTV XTRA All Included$55/mo.235+ channelsView plans
DIRECTV ULTIMATE All Included$60/mo.250+ channelsView plans
DIRECTV PREMIER™ All Included$110/mo.330+ channelsView plans

Data effective 10/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 2-year contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.

We like that AT&T’s plans give you a ton of channels, but just make sure the package you want includes the channels you want. We like the U300’s combination price and channels, which includes STARZ and SHOWTIME.

U-verse TV prices and plans
PlanPrice*ChannelsLearn more
U-Family$35/mo.180+ channelsView plans
U200$55/mo.360+ channelsView plans
U300$60/mo.470+ channelsView plans
U450$110/mo.550+ channelsView plans

Data effective 10/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 1-yr agreement & Autopay

DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-verse bundles

Unless you want NFL SUNDAY TICKET—which comes from DIRECTV only—the services are about the same. 

Bundling has a few benefits: You get one bill, you can unlock certain features when you connect TV and internet, and you can save some cash.

Both DIRECTV and AT&T’s bundles will save you about $10 per month, or $120 over the course of a year—that sort of savings can be better spent on treating yourself to a slick new coat or some fine dining.

DIRECTV bundle prices
PlanPriceSpeedChannelsLearn more
DIRECTV + Internet Basic 5DIRECTV package price + $305 Mbps155–330+View plans
DIRECTV + Internet 100DIRECTV package price + $40100 Mbps155–330+View plans
DIRECTV + Internet 300DIRECTV package price + $60300 Mbps155–330+View plans
DIRECTV + Internet 1000DIRECTV package price + $801000 Mbps155–330+View plans

Data effective 10/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* For 12 months with a 2-yr TV and 1-yr internet agreement, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.

AT&T’s internet pricing is the same for both U-verse and DIRECTV and there aren’t any extra internet features between the two services, so when it comes to bundling internet, you’re looking at essentially the same thing. Make sure your TV selection is what you want, and all will be golden.

Check out DIRECTV’s channel lineup and compare it to AT&T U-verse’s channel lineup.

U-verse TV bundle prices
PlanPriceSpeedChannelsLearn more
U-verse TV + Internet Basic 5U-verse package price + $305 Mbps180–550+View plans
U-verse TV + Internet 100U-verse package price + $40100 Mbps180–550+View plans
U-verse TV + Internet 300U-verse package price + $60300 Mbps180–550+View plans
U-verse TV + Internet 1000U-verse package price + $801000 Mbps180–550+View plans

Data effective 10/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*For 12 months with a 1-yr agreement, paperless billing, and Autopay

DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-verse contracts

AT&T requires a one-year contract, but your price might change after that; DIRECTV’s two-year contract includes a price-increase after the first year—ouch.

If you want a shorter contract, go with AT&T U-verse. Just be aware that your offers will still change during the second year—in some cases, you’ll pay double what you were paying for the first year.

DIRECTV’s two-year contract has a similar price increase, but unlike with AT&T, you won’t be able to cancel in that second year without facing early termination fees.

DIRECTV vs AT&T U-verse TV contracts and early termination fees
DIRECTVAT&T U-verse
Contract2 yrs.1 yr.
Early termination fee (ETF)$20 for each mo. remaining on your contract$15 for each mo. remaining on your contract

Data effective 10/05/2018.

DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-verse hidden fees

We like to point out all the fees that aren’t quite obvious, or at least not mentioned in the main advertised price.

DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse are nearly identical. Both include installation and DVR fees, but they also both require a one-time activation fee.

Where DIRECTV charges a regional sports fee, AT&T charges a Broadcast TV fee, so once again, you’ll end up with about the same price with either provider.

DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse fee comparison
DIRECTVAT&T U-verse
Activation fee$19.95$35
Installation fee$20 for each mo. remaining on your contract$15 for each mo. remaining on your contract
DVR feeIncludedIncluded
HD technology feeIncludedIncluded
Broadcast TV feeIncludedUp to $7.99/mo
Regional sports feeUp to $8.49/mo.**N/A
DetailsView plansView plans

Data effective 10/05/2018. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Up to four rooms, $49 per receiver after first four.
**For CHOICE package and above only.

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Premium promotions
DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse both include HBO and CINEMAX for 3 months before going back to regular price (which is a bit higher with DIRECTV than other providers, but only by a few bucks).

DIRECTV also includes SHOWTIME and STARZ in this promotion, so they get some bonus points here because we love Shameless and Homeland.

DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-verse channels

Between AT&T and DIRECTV, you won’t have trouble finding your favorite channels. They both have major players like ESPN, FOX NEWS, USA, The CW, etc. You’ll have to check the availability in your area to get more specifics.

DIRECTV vs. AT&T premium channels

Both DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse include premiums in different packages. For example, to get HBO from either provider, you either have to fork out some extra cash in the form of an add-on or in the form of the top-tier plan (DIRECTV PREMIER and AT&T U-verse U450, respectively).

DIRECTV does have some savings if you pick more than one premium, but the breakdown is kind of strange and only saves you about $1–$2 per month for each premium. We’d prefer a cheaper price for bundling all of ‘em together.

AT&T includes SHOWTIME, ENCORE, and STARZ in its U300, which is a good deal, but doesn’t include HBO until you get the U450 package, which nearly doubles your monthly price for about 80 extra channels.

For the nitty-gritty, you’ll have to view their channel lineups.

DIRECTV vs. AT&T sports channels

Perhaps the biggest advantage for DIRECTV comes into play here: NFL SUNDAY TICKET. If you want to see every out-of-market game, DIRECTV (and DIRECTV NOW in select markets) is the only way to get it. Currently, NFL SUNDAY TICKET is included with CHOICE and above packages for the first season (after that, you’ll be charged the going rate).

DIRECTV also has a general sports package add-on for $13.99 per month. AT&T, on the other hand, charges $10 per month, so save them ducketts.

Sports package add-on pricing:

  • DIRECTV Sports Pack = $13.99/mo.
  • AT&T The Sports Package = $10/mo.

DIRECTV vs. AT&T customer service

AT&T pulls out ahead of DIRECTV with customer service scores, but not by much.

DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-verse ACSI scores
DIRECTVAT&T U-verse
ACSI rating164 out of 10070 out of 100

When it comes to TV and customer service, the industry scores low as a whole. That being said, AT&T’s 70 out of 100 is enough to earn it the ACSI’s top spot for TV providers. DIRECTV isn’t far behind with a score of 64 out of 100.

Both companies have historically ranked well against other service providers, and most issues have to do with billing clarity and installation times—so make sure you know what you’re getting into and you should be good.

Recap—DIRECTV vs. AT&T U-verse

These TV giants have a lot of similarities, but their differences will help you decide between the two.

DIRECTV is available to just about everyone, and AT&T U-verse is spread mostly across major metropolitan areas. However, the biggest deciding factors we see are contract length and the ability to get NFL SUNDAY TICKET—you can get it from DIRECTV, but not from AT&T.

  • Pricing: The price for both companies increases after the second year, in some cases double what you were paying originally, so be mindful.
  • Contracts: If you don’t like long contracts, AT&T’s one-year agreement is an easier pill to swallow than DIRECTV’s two-year agreement.
  • Channels: AT&T wins for high channel counts, but DIRECTV has most of the channels you want even in lower-tier packages—plus, you can’t get NFL SUNDAY TICKET with AT&T U-verse, which may help football fans decide.
  • Customer service: AT&T pulls out a win with the top score from ACSI this year.

If you’re still not sure which provider you want, check out the other options we’ve reviewed:

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