Sling TV vs. DIRECTV

Sling TV is the cheaper option, but DIRECTV has the most channels

Best Price
Sling
Sling
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting from
$40
/mo
  • pro
    Half the price of DIRECTV
  • pro
    Get 50% off your first month
  • con
    Doesn't have Max
Best for Max Fans
Directv stream correct logo (2023)
DIRECTV
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75
Starting from
$69.99
/mo
  • pro
    Premium channels included
  • pro
    Unlimited DVR recordings
  • con
    Expensive
Chantel Buchi
Jan 31, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read

If you’re trying to decide which streaming service to get and you’ve narrowed it down to Sling TV and DIRECTV, then you’re in the right spot. We’re here to help you make that difficult decision. So let’s dive in.

Sling TV doesn’t offer Max, and this is Sling’s biggest downside. But it has lower package prices for those trying to save as much money as possible.

DIRECTV has some premium channels included (you heard me: included) in its plans and has more channels overall.

Although Sling TV doesn’t have the king of premium channels (Max) Sling TV is still our winner.

How do Sling TV’s and DIRECTV's prices compare?

Sling TV has a more affordable price tag than DIRECTV

Sling TV has two inexpensive options if you're OK sacrificing a chunk of channels to keep prices down, but if you want the full suite of what Sling TV has to offer, you'll need the more expensive package.

How much is Sling TV?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
Sling Orange$40/mo.*32
Sling Blue$40/mo.*40
Sling Orange + Sling Blue Services$55/mo.*46
* Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

You can choose to buy DIRECTV via a satellite or internet connection. The price will be the same either way, but you get more channels with an internet connection. You get up to 185 channels. Now, the price tag is pretty high, but you’ll get many popular lifestyle, sports, kids, and news channels.

How much is DIRECTV?
Plan
Price
Satellite TV channel count
Streaming channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT$69.99/mo. + tax75+90+
CHOICE™$84.99/mo. + tax105+125+
ULTIMATE$114.99/mo. + tax140+160+
PREMIER$159.99/mo. + tax150+185+
Price subj. to change for new and existing customers.

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.

Do Sling TV and DIRECTV come with additional fees?

We recommend DIRECTV's internet packages for fewer fees, as its satellite plans have an activation fee for additional receivers. With Sling, expect to pay more in fees for DVR storage space.

Sling TV gives you a 50-hour cloud DVR storage space, and it charges an extra $5 per month for its 200-hour cloud DVR.  It’s absolutely worth the extra $5 if you’re sharing with 3 other roommates. Trust us.

DIRECTV has two different DVRs: the Genie and the Gemini Air. The Genie, DIRECTV's DVR for satellite packages, gives you a 200-hour DVR storage space without expiration and a one-time $49 activation fee for additional devices. The Gemini Air, DIRECTV's DVR for internet packages, gives you unlimited recordings lasting up to 9 months.

If you’d like to record more than just five Supernatural episodes, 10 Teen Titans Go! episodes, and three movies, you’ll want to get DIRECTV's internet packages for the Gemini Air's unlimited DVR storage space.

Get 3 free months of premium channels when you stream with DIRECTV
Deals

When you sign up for DIRECTV streaming, you'll get the first 3 months of Max, Cinemax, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, STARZ, and MGM+ for free. 

Which channels do Sling TV and DIRECTV have?

If you want top channels like the Hallmark Channel, Cartoon Network, and Univision, DIRECTV is your service

Depending on the plan you get, both services have an almost equal amount of popular channels. If you love your Hallmark Channel Christmas movies and your kids love Paw Patrol, DIRECTV is for you. Sling TV offers Hallmark Movies for an additional $6/mo.

Of course, DIRECTV will have more popular channels to stream because of its overall channel count, but check out the channel lineup for Sling TV and DIRECTV, just in case. Price aside, though, DIRECTV wins this section.

Which popular channels do Sling TV and DIRECTV have?
Channel
Sling TV
DIRECTV

CNN

Yes

Yes

Disney Channel

Yes

Yes

ESPN

Yes

Yes

Food Network

Yes

Yes

Fox News

Yes

Yes

Hallmark Channel

Yes

Yes

HGTV

Yes

Yes

Lifetime

Yes

Yes

MSNBC

Yes

Yes

Nickelodeon

No

Yes

TBS

Yes

Yes

TNT

Yes

Yes

USA

Yes

Yes

Data effective 1/31/2024.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV local channels

Back in the day, cable was the most reliable way to get good channels. But times have changed—and if you want to cut the cord and still watch ABC, FOX, CBS, CNN, or CNBC, check out both services to see if they offer them in your area.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV premium channels

An upside to streaming with DIRECTV: Max, Cinemax, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, STARZ, and MGM+ is included in all the packages for free for three months. And in its PREMIER package you can get all those channels (minus MGM+) included for the duration of your service. It’s a solid win for everyone in the family with the variety.

And it can’t be overlooked that Sling TV doesn’t have Max at all (or CINEMAX)!

So if you can live without Succession, The White Lotus or The Last of Us, you’ll do great with Sling TV. But if you and your kids want to catch the cute new Scoob! series, you’ll have to pay a little extra for DIRECTV. (Who doesn’t want to watch Scooby-Doo and the gang?)

How much are Sling TV's and DIRECTV's premium channels?
Channel
Sling TV price
DIRECTV streaming price

Max

Not available

Included with PREMIER, or $15.99/mo.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®

$10.00/mo.

$11.00/mo.

CINEMAX®

Not available

$11.00/mo.

STARZ®

$9.00/mo.

$11.00/mo.

MGM+

$5.00/mo.

$6.00/mo.

Data effective 1/17/2024. Offers are subject to change.

Which sports channels does Sling TV and DIRECTV have?

The section you’ve all been waiting for (*drumroll*): the sports channel lineup. And we must say, DIRECTV is a clear championship winner in this department.

If you’re looking for the most sports channels, DIRECTV offers up to 20 sports channels, whereas Sling TV offers fourteen.

So, it’s not hard to see that DIRECTV is the option for sports aficionados.

Sling TV has the following sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • FS2
  • RedZone
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)
  • NHL
  • Tennis Channel
  • TBS
  • TNT
  • Stadium

And DIRECTV has the following sports channels:

  • ACCN
  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNews
  • ESPNU
  • FS1, FS2
  • Golf Channel
  • Longhorn Network
  • MLB Network
  • MSG, MSG+
  • NBA TV
  • NBC Sports Network
  • NHL Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • SEC Network
  • Tennis Channel

How do Sling TV’s and DIRECTV's DVR compare?

DIRECTV beats Sling TV in the DVR game.

Sling TV comes with 50 hours of DVR storage or you must pay $5 per month for 200 hours of DVR storage.

DIRECTV includes a 200-hour cloud DVR storage with its Genie DVR and unlimited DVR recordings with its Gemini Air DVR. The Genie typically comes with a satellite connection while internet plans include the Gemini Air.

We like how Sling TV comes with a 50-hour DVR storage, but DIRECTV's DVR storage is just better. Plus, you don't have to pay extra for more storage.

How do Sling TV's and DIRECTV's DVR compare?
Service
Sling TV
DIRECTV

DVR storage hrs.

50 hrs., saves indefinitely

200–Unlimited hrs., saves 9 months (internet) to indefinitely (satellite)

Sling TV or DIRECTV: Which gives you a better user experience?

Sling TV’s channel guide is easy to navigate, while DIRECTV's can be a little frustrating

Sling TV’s user experience is smoother than DIRECTV's.

The Sling TV channel guide is similar to that of traditional cable. It has channel scrolling, time scrolling, and channel categories. There’s also a view that lets you see next week’s schedule so you can scope out which action movies you want to watch while cuddling with a glass of wine.

DIRECTV's channel guide is about the same as Sling’s, with some key differences. When you click on one of the genre tabs, you get a listing of only the current showings and what’s on for the next couple of hours. And if you want to exit the genre tab, you have to exit the channel guide altogether.

That’s not very convenient—or intuitive.

Do you have enough internet bandwidth for the family?
Megaphone

DIRECTV suggests a minimum of 12 Mbps for each user, and Sling TV recommends at least 25 Mbps. Get one of the best internet services for streaming to have yourself an uninterrupted movie marathon.

On which devices can you stream Sling TV and DIRECTV?

These days, we want our streaming service to be compatible with our phones, tablets, and TVs. After all, your commute on public transit is the perfect time to catch up on The Expanse.

Download the app on these devices so you can watch your favorite shows anywhere, any time.

You can stream Sling TV on these devices:

  • iPhones, iPads (iOS 9 and up, iPhone 4.0 and up)
  • Android smartphones, tablets, and TVs
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Xbox One
  • Google Chromecast

DIRECTV and its on-demand service is available all day long on these devices:

  • iPhone, iPad (iOS 9 and up, iPhone 4.0 and up)
  • Android smartphones and tablets
  • Roku TV, Streaming Stick, Premiere, Ultra, Express, etc.
  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV, Stick, and Cube
  • Google Chromecast
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Chrome, Safari

Recap: Sling TV is the winner

Sling TV is more affordable, but DIRECTV has more live TV and premium channels

After comparing price, channels, DVR, user experience, and the bonuses, Sling TV comes out ahead. DIRECTV is a great option for the family with its variety of internet or satellite connection, and for premium-channel and sports fanatics. But Sling TV is a great option for anyone trying to save a buck and still watch most of their favorite channels.

  • Pricing: All of Sling TV’s plans ($40–$55) are cheaper than DIRECTV's plans ($70–$160).
  • Channels: DIRECTV is perfect for those who want lots of live TV channels rather than just 50 or less. You’ll just have to make sure Sling TV’s channel lineup will satisfy the family’s watching needs. And don’t forget that Sling doesn’t have Max or CINEMAX.
  • Sports channels: DIRECTV holds the championship belt between the two because it has a great variety of sports channels with major sports coverage. Sling TV offers fourteen sports channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, NBA, NHL, and FS1.
  • DVR: Sling TV includes a 50-hour DVR storage while DIRECTV includes 200 (satellite) or unlimited (internet). Sling TV offers a 200-hour DVR storage space for $5/month.
  • User experience: Sling TV has a simple cable-like channel guide and DIRECTV gives a rough channel guide experience.

If you’re still on the fence, you can dive into the nitty-gritty details in our full reviews:

Now that you know, here are your next steps.
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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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