DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV Review

Who would win in a fight? Satellite TV or cable TV?

Best for Maximum Channels
DIRECTV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Monthly price
$64.99$139.99
Available channels
330
Best for Money Savers
Spectrum
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Monthly price
$34.99$49.99
Available channels
125+
Chantel Buchi
Staff Writer, TV & Streaming
Read More
March 22, 2022
5 min read

Is DIRECTV or Spectrum TV a better TV service?

DIRECTV is the only TV provider to have NFL SUNDAY TICKET, you’ll get a sufficient DVR storage space, but you’ll have second-year price hikes. Yikes.

Charter Spectrum TV has an inexpensive starter package, you won’t have to sign a contract, but your DVR storage will be scarce.

The winner is Spectrum TV, but just by the narrowest of margins.

Did you know you could get Spectrum Internet?
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Spectrum is one of the largest cable TV and internet providers in the country. If you're considering Spectrum TV in your area, then Spectrum Internet is probably an option for you too. Check out Spectrum's Internet plans to see if it makes sense to bundle your services. 

Compare DIRECTV and Charter Spectrum TV prices near you.

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV price comparison

You’ll have to decide what’s more important: having more channels or saving money

DIRECTV is for those who want a high channel count, and with that comes more expensive pricing than what you’d see with Spectrum.

The pricing is still fair for the number of channels you’ll receive, but the pricing increases by 30–40% during year two.

We go into more detail below, but you’ll have to sign a 2-year contract with DIRECTV, which includes second-year price hikes (why, DIRECTV, why?).

We like the channel lineups in all of DIRECTV’s plans, but we could do without spending close to double the following year.

How much are DIRECTV’s prices and plans?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT All-Included$64.99/mo. + tax for 12 mos*160+
CHOICE All-Included$69.99/mo. + tax for 12 mos*185+
ULTIMATE All-Included$89.99/mo. + tax for 12 mos*250+
PREMIER All-Included$139.99/mo. + tax for 12 mos*330+
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Offer ends 7/22/22. New approved customers only w/24-mo. agmt. Autopay & Paperless bill reqd. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $11.99/mo. is extra & applies

Spectrum TV doesn’t require a contract, but it’s unclear how much your pricing goes up after your first year of service.

The advertised pricing is what you’ll be paying monthly for year one, and we especially like Spectrum TV® Select’s pricing.

In fact, the TV® Select plan is our favorite cheap cable TV package (that’s a mouthful). For $45 per month, you’ll get a full channel lineup with over 125 channels, including most of the popular channels like Disney Channel and ESPN.

How much are Spectrum TV’s prices and plans?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Spectrum TV® Select$49.99/mo. for 12 mos.125+
Data effective 04/25/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
For the first 12 months.

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV contracts

DIRECTV has the dreaded second-year price hikes that only a few TV service providers still have.

DIRECTV likes to sweeten you up with access to more than 330 channels, NFL SUNDAY TICKET (every NFL fan’s dream), and a 200-hour DVR, and then bam! your monthly bill increases by nearly double.

In fact, if you sign the 2-year commitment for the ULTIMATE package, you’ll be paying $151/year after paying just $85 for the first year.

Spectrum has its own type of game.

No, you don’t have the second-year price hikes, but you do get some kind of hike. Spectrum just isn’t transparent as to how much your monthly bill increase.

At least DIRECTV gives you an idea of how much you’ll need to budget.

But on the upside, since you don’t have to sign an annual contract with Spectrum, you can always cancel your service if you don’t find it worth the inflated price.

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV fees

DIRECTV wins in the fees department.

DIRECTV includes the first set-top box into your plan, and then each additional boxes are $7. So you could be paying $14 for three TV receivers for your living room, bedroom, and kid’s bedroom.

For Spectrum, you’d have to pay $27 per month for three set-top boxes along with $10 for the DVR service fee.

And lastly, DIRECTV’s regional sports fee is significantly lower than Spectrum’s broadcast fee. You can’t get away from these fees if you want to watch sports or the news.

DIRECTV and Spectrum TV fees
Fee
DIRECTV
Spectrum TV

Activation fee

$19.95 (one-time)

NA

First receiver fee

Included

$8.99/mo.

Additional receiver fee

$7.00/mo.

$8.99/mo.

DVR service fee

Included

$4.99–$9.99/mo.

Regional sports fee

$3.00–8.49/mo.

NA

Broadcast TV fee

NA

Up to $21.00/mo.

Data effective 3/22/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV channels

Both DIRECTV and Spectrum have most of your favorite sports, news, lifestyle, kids, entertainment, and movie channels.

You’ll get most of the popular channels in the entry-level packages with both TV providers, but you’ll get more with DIRECTV’s ENTERTAINMENT plan.

Before you commit, check the full channel lineups of DIRECTV and Spectrum to see if this could be your longtime service.

DIRECTV and Spectrum TV channels
Channel
DIRECTV
Spectrum TV

Disney Channel

All packages

All packages

ESPN

All packages

All packages

Food Network

All packages

All packages

Fox News

All packages

All packages

HGTV

All packages

All packages

Investigation Discovery (ID)

All packages

All packages

Lifetime

All packages

All packages

MSNBC

All packages

All packages

NFL Network

ULTIMATE and PREMIER

All packages

Nickelodeon

All packages

All packages

Univision

All packages

All packages

USA Network

All packages

All packages

Data effective 3/22/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV and Spectrum throw in some great freebies, and we’re more than OK with that.

But don’t forget to cancel your subscriptions after your free trials are up. Set a reminder in your phone for when you’ll need to call DIRECTV to cancel your subscriptions before you’re charged (because you know you’ll forget if you don’t).

DIRECTV and Spectrum TV premium channels
Channel
DIRECTV price
Spectrum TV price

HBO®

$14.99/mo.

$15.00/mo.

SHOWTIME®

$13.99/mo.

$15.00/mo.

CINEMAX®

$13.99/mo.

$9.99/mo.

STARZ®

$13.99/mo.

$9.99/mo.

STARZ ENCORE

NA

$6.00/mo.

EPIX®

$7.00/mo.

$5.99/mo.

Data effective 3/18/2022. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV sports channels

The first thing we should mention here is that DIRECTV is the only TV service with NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

NFL SUNDAY TICKET gives you access to every single out-of-market NFL game of the regular season. So if you’re a Kansas City Chiefs fan but live in Salt Lake City, you’ll want this TICKET to watch all of Mahomes’ no-look passes.

With DIRECTV, you could get up to 18 sports channels, but with Spectrum, you could get 26 (including Español sports channels).

DIRECTV includes only three sports channels (ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPN3) in its entry-level package, while Spectrum includes eight (including NBC Sports Network and Big Ten Network).

So we think DIRECTV is best for the NFL fans, and if you’re an all-around sports fan, Spectrum might be your No. 1 pick.

Both have their ups and downs, and you can check out our reviews on DIRECTV and Spectrum to get an idea of which package is best for you.

DIRECTV has the following sports channels:

  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3
  • ESPN Classic
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • Fox Deportes
  • Golf Channel
  • MLB Network
  • NBA TV
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NFL Network
  • NHL Network
  • Tennis Channel
  • Sportsman Channel
  • Universal Sports

Spectrum TV has the following sports channels:

  • beIN Sports
  • beIN Sports Español
  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN, ESPN 2
  • ESPN Deportes
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central, Pacific
  • FOX Deportes
  • Fox Soccer Plus
  • FS1, FS2
  • Golf Channel
  • MLB Network
  • MLB Strike Zone
  • NBA TV
  • NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)
  • NFL Network
  • NHL Network
  • SEC Network
  • Spectrum Sports
  • Tennis Channel

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV DVR

To find the best DVR, we compare storage hours, the number of simultaneous recordings, and price.

DIRECTV’s Genie DVR has more than 4x the storage space, more than double the simultaneous recordings, and it costs $2 less per month. (Enough said, right?)

According to Spectrum, there is a DVR with 150 storage hours available. We couldn’t find this option at checkout online, so if you choose Charter Spectrum TV as your next provider, we’d suggest calling to order the enhanced DVR.

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV DVR comparison
DVR details
DIRECTV
Spectrum TV

Monthly price

First DVR included, then $7.00/mo. for additional

$8.99/mo. each

DVR storage space

200 HD hours

35 HD/80 SD hours

Simultaneous recordings

5

2

Data effective 3/18/2022.

Recap: Spectrum TV is the winner

Spectrum TV came out on top, but just by a sliver
  • Pricing and Contracts: Spectrum TV has better pricing overall. Spectrum’s pricing ranges from $49–$99 for 125+ channels, while DIRECTV ranges from $65–$134 for 160–330 channels. We do suggest getting DIRECTV if you’d like the most channels, but you’ll have to worry about second-year price hikes during your 2-year contract. Spectrum TV doesn’t require you to sign any type of contract, so you can cancel at any time, however it does have a mystery price hike in year two.
  • Fees: DIRECTV’s fees cost less per month than those of Spectrum’s. DIRECTV includes the first set-top box into your plan, and then each additional box is $7. Spectrum charges $9 for each of its TV boxes. You’ll also have to pay a $10 DVR service fee each month.
  • Channels: You’ll get lots of popular channels with Spectrum for a price we like. DIRECTV offers more channels in each of its packages, and that does mean you’ll get more of your favorite channels with this satellite TV provider, but you have to consider if it’s worth the price. Check out DIRECTV’s and Spectrum’s channel lineups to get a better idea of which one could be your next TV provider.
  • Sports Channels: Spectrum offers eight more sports channels than DIRECTV does (including college, soccer, and Español sports channels). DIRECTV may have NFL SUNDAY TICKET, but overall, Spectrum is more well-rounded with its sports channels and will satisfy any type of fan.
  • DVR: DIRECTV’s Genie DVR blows Spectrum TV’s DVR out of the water. The Genie has more than 4x the storage space, more than double the simultaneous recordings, and it costs $2 less per month. If you’re leaning toward cable TV, we just recommend calling Spectrum to get the enhanced DVR with 150 hours of storage space.

If you’re still unsure of either of these providers, check out our more in-depth reviews on DIRECTV and Spectrum TV.

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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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