Sling TV vs. DIRECTV STREAM

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

Best Price
Sling
Sling
3.5 out of 5 stars
3.5
Starting from
$35.00
/mo
Best for HBO Fans
DIRECTV STREAM
DIRECTV STREAM
2.8 out of 5 stars
2.75
Starting from
$69.99
/mo
Chantel Buchi
Staff Writer, TV & Streaming
Read More
September 01, 2021
5 min read

If you’re trying to decide which streaming service to get and you’ve narrowed it down to Sling TV and DIRECTV STREAM, 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 HBO, and this is Sling’s biggest downside. But it has lower package prices for those trying to save as much money as possible.

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

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

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

Sling TV has a more affordable price tag than DIRECTV STREAM

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$35.00/mo.*31
Sling Blue$35.00/mo.*41
Sling Orange + Sling Blue Services$50.00/mo.*50
Data as of 05/09/22. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* Compatible device and internet connection required. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

With DIRECTV STREAM, you can get up to 140 channels. Now, the price tag is a little high, but you’ll get a plethora of popular lifestyle, sports, kids, and news channels.

How much is DIRECTV STREAM?
Plan
Price
TV channel count
Details
ENTERTAINMENT$69.99/mo. + tax65+
CHOICE$89.99/mo. + tax90+
PREMIER$149.00/mo. + tax140+
Data effective 11/11/21. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
Service subject to DIRECTV STREAM terms and conditions (see directv.com/legal/). Requires high-speed internet. Minimum internet speed of 8Mbps per stream recommended for optimal viewing. Compatible device reqd. Residential U.S. only (excl. P.R. & U.S.V.I.).
DIRECTV STREAM Device avail. for $5/mo. on 24-month installment agmt for well-qualified customers. Others pay $120 upfront for device. Taxes due at sale. See details.

Do Sling TV and DIRECTV STREAM come with additional fees?

Neither streaming service has fees that you’re obligated to pay unless you want more 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 STREAM gives you a tiny DVR storage space of 20 hours.

If you’d like to record more than just five Supernatural episodes, 10 Teen Titans Go! episodes, and three movies, you’ll want to pay an extra $10 for DIRECTV STREAM’s unlimited DVR storage space.

YouTube TV is the only service that includes an unlimited DVR storage space in its service, and DIRECTV STREAM is the only service to offer it as an add-on.

For some, it might be nice that the enhanced cloud DVR is optional if you’re not really into recording. DVRs are super convenient, but the more you can customize your service, the better chance you have of getting exactly what you want.

Which channels do Sling TV and DIRECTV STREAM have?

If you want top channels like the Hallmark Channel, Cartoon Network, and Univision, DIRECTV STREAM 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 STREAM is for you.

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

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

CNN

Yes

Yes

Disney Channel

Yes

Yes

ESPN

Yes

Yes

Food Network

Yes

Yes

Fox News

Yes

Yes

Hallmark Channel

No

Yes

HGTV

Yes

Yes

Lifetime

Yes

Yes

MSNBC

Yes

Yes

Nickelodeon

No

Yes

TBS

Yes

Yes

TNT

Yes

Yes

USA

Yes

Yes

Data effective 9/1/2021.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV STREAM 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 STREAM premium channels

An upside to DIRECTV STREAM: HBO Max is included in the CHOICE and above packages for three months. STARZ channels are included in the ULTIMATE and PREMIER packages, and CINEMAX and HBO are included in the PREMIER package. 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 HBO at all (or CINEMAX)!

So if you can live without Succession or The Wire, 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 STREAM. (Who doesn’t want to watch Scooby-Doo and the gang?)

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

HBO®

Not available

Included with PREMIER, or $14.99/mo.

SHOWTIME®

$10.00/mo.

$11.00/mo.

CINEMAX®

Not available

$11.00/mo.

STARZ®

$9.00/mo.

$11.00/mo.

EPIX®

$5.00/mo.

$6.00/mo.

Data effective 9/1/2021. Offers are subject to change.

Which sports channels does Sling TV and DIRECTV STREAM have?

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

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

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

Sling TV has the following sports channels:

  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • NFL Network
  • NBC Sports Network (NBCSN)
  • NBC Sports
  • FS1
  • Stadium

And DIRECTV STREAM 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 STREAM’s DVR compare?

Sling TV beats DIRECTV STREAM 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 STREAM includes a 20-hour cloud DVR storage, but you can upgrade for $10 per month to an unlimited DVR storage space.

We like how Sling TV comes with a 50-hour DVR storage, which makes the case for Sling TV even stronger.

But if you and the fam like to record everything under the sun, we like how DIRECTV STREAM tends to those families.

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

DVR storage hrs.

50 hrs., saves indefinitely

20 hrs., saves for 90 days

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

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

Sling TV’s user experience is smoother than DIRECTV STREAM’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 STREAM’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 STREAM 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 watch Sling TV and DIRECTV STREAM?

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 STREAM 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 STREAM has more live TV channels

After comparing price, channels, DVR, user experience, and the bonuses, Sling TV comes out ahead. DIRECTV STREAM is a great option for the family with its variety, and for premium-channel and sports fanatics, but Sling TV is a great option for anyone trying to save a buck.

  • Pricing: All of Sling TV’s plans ($35–$50) are cheaper than DIRECTV STREAM’s plans ($85–$140).
  • Channels: DIRECTV STREAM 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 HBO or CINEMAX.
  • Sports channels: DIRECTV STREAM holds the championship belt between the two because it has a great variety of sports channels with major sports coverage. Sling TV only offers eight sports channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1.
  • DVR: Sling TV includes a 50-hour DVR storage while DIRECTV STREAM includes 20. Sling TV offers a 200-hour DVR storage space for $5/month and DIRECTV STREAM lets you upgrade to an unlimited DVR for $10/month.
  • User experience: Sling TV has a simple cable-like channel guide and DIRECTV STREAM 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.

Need reliable internet for live TV streaming? Check out our top-ranked providers.

Still looking? Check out our top-ranked live TV streaming services.

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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