DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV Review

Who would win in a fight? DIRECTV or Spectrum TV?

Best for Maximum Channels
Directv
DIRECTV
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting from
$69.99-$159.99
Price Range
$69.99-$159.99
Channel Count Range
75–185
Best for Money Savers
Spectrum
Spectrum
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Prices
$39.99-$64.99
Channel Count Range
145-150
Chantel Buchi
Mar 29, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

Is DIRECTV or Spectrum TV a better TV service?

DIRECTV is the TV provider that offers the most channels. You’ll get sufficient DVR storage space, but if you choose a satellite connection, you’ll have fewer channels and a two-year contract with a possible price increase at the end of it. 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.

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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 prefer quality over quantity when it comes to channels, and with that comes more expensive pricing than what you’d see with Spectrum.

We go into more detail below, but you’ll have to sign a 2-year contract with DIRECTV's satellite packages, not with its internet plans. 

We like the channel lineups in DIRECTV’s plans. And we especially like its internet streaming option, since it gets you more channels and we could do without requiring a two-year contract.

How much are DIRECTV’s prices and plans?
Plan
Price
Satellite TV channel count
Internet TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT $69.99/mo. for 24 months plus taxes and fees*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+
* 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.

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.

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. While Spectrum TV® Stream is the cheapest package, keep in mind that it only really offers popular news and entertainment channels. You won't find much in terms of movies or sports. 

That's why the TV® Select plan is one of our favorite cheap cable TV packages (that’s a mouthful). For $65 per month, you’ll get a full channel lineup with over 155 channels, including most of the popular channels like Disney Channel and ESPN. Not to mention that TV® Select gets you a free basic Disney+ subscription

For those interested in getting the most value from Spectrum TV®, we recommend the TV® Select Plus plan. For just $10 more per month than TV® Select, this plan nets you over 10 more channels, including a free subscription to ESPN+ and Disney+.

How much are Spectrum TV®’s prices and plans?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Spectrum TV® Stream$39.99/mo80+
Spectrum TV® Select $69.99/mo. for 12 mos.155+
Spectrum TV® Select Plus$74.99/mo160+
TV Stream Latino24.9945+
Spectrum Mi Plan Latino$39.99/mo. for 12 mos.^170+
* Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum TV Select Signature promotion price is $59.99/mo; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees, and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $23.20/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the promotional period; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.
^ * Limited time offer; subject to change; valid to qualified residential customers who have not subscribed to any services within the previous 30 days and who have no outstanding obligation to Charter. Spectrum Mi Plan Latino: Price is $39.99/mo for yr 1; standard rates apply after yr 1. Taxes, fees and surcharges (broadcast surcharge up to $23.20/mo) extra and subject to change during and after the term; installation/network activation, equipment and additional services are extra.

Did you know you could get Spectrum Internet?

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. 

DIRECTV vs. Spectrum TV contracts

DIRECTV likes to sweeten you up with Max, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, MGM+, STARZ, and Cinemax included with all of its packages for three months. Not to mention a 200-hour or unlimited-hour DVR.

It's worth mentioning that DIRECTV recently slashed its channel counts for each package by almost more than half, without reducing prices. 

Spectrum has its own type of game.

No, you don’t have to pay $100 more for 150 channels, but you could end up paying more than you'd expect. 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. And while DIRECTV includes your first receiver, you'll still be paying a $15 monthly advanced receiver fee.

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

One-time $49 charge for satellite plans

NA

First receiver fee

Included

$8.99/mo.

Additional receiver fee

$7.00/mo.

$8.99/mo.

DVR service fee

$15.00/mo.

$4.99–$9.99/mo.

Regional sports fee

Up to $15.99/mo.

NA

Broadcast TV fee

NA

Up to $21.00/mo.

Data effective 1/17/2024. 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 via Internet 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 11/06/2023. 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®

$15.99/mo.

$15.00/mo.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®

$10.99/mo.

$15.00/mo.

CINEMAX®

$10.99/mo.

$9.99/mo.

STARZ®

$10.99/mo.

$9.99/mo.

STARZ ENCORE

NA

$6.00/mo.

MGM+

$7.00/mo.

$5.99/mo.

Data effective 11/06/2023. 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 used to be the only TV service with NFL SUNDAY TICKET, making it one of our top picks for sports fans. As of 2023, NFL SUNDAY TICKET has moved exclusively to YouTube TV

Without the benefit of NFL SUNDAY TICKET, DIRECTV only offers 19 sports channels. 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?) And its Gemini Air is just as good, offering internet DIRECTV users unlimited storage that lasts up to 9 monhts.

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–unlimited hours

35 HD/80 SD hours

Simultaneous recordings

5

2

Data effective 11/06/2023.

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 $40–$75 for 80–170+ channels, while DIRECTV ranges from $70–$160 for 75–185 channels. We do suggest getting DIRECTV if you’d like premium channels, but you’ll be paying way more per channel than you would with Spectrum TV. 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 plus a $15 monthly DVR fee. 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 fewer channels in each package, though you have more options for premium channels. You'll just 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). Overall, Spectrum is more well-rounded with its sports channels and will satisfy any type of fan. Especially since it includes ESPN+ with its TV® Select and TV® Select Plus packages.
  • DVR: DIRECTV’s Genie and Gemini Air DVRs blows Spectrum TV’s DVR out of the water. DIRECTV's devices have more than 4x the storage space, more than double the simultaneous recordings, and cost 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.

Now that you know more about the best ISPs in the US, check these out next.
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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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