DirecTV Stream vs. YouTube TV: What’s the Best Choice?

DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV are two of the most popular streaming services on the market. They both have their pros and cons, so which one is right for you?

YouTube TV vs. DirecTV Stream: Which Should You Choose?

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DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream is a live television streaming platform with a unique plot: for $120, users can acquire a box with a configurable remote control for the service. However, without the box, DirecTV Stream works similarly to Netflix or Hulu, enabling you to broadcast Live TV from any location by downloading the app. You can broadcast on up to 20 devices within your home and up to three from outside your home.

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Like how Youtube Music is equipped with a ton of music, songs, and videos, YouTube TV has almost every substantial channel available, unlimited or unrestricted free DVR, six deals, and up to three concurrent streams. It’s an excellent choice for families. The price is a little high, but cheaper alternatives are available. Still, given the excellent interface, Live TV services aren’t always known for having the most interactive interfaces and widespread accessibility and availability throughout devices. It’s safe to say you’ll get your money’s worth.

Many people prefer YouTube TV over DirecTV for its flexibility and convenience, as it offers on-demand streaming and a vast library of content that can be accessed on various devices. Additionally, YouTube TV often comes with a more affordable price point and doesn’t require long-term contracts, making it a popular choice for those looking to cut the cord and customize their entertainment experience.

DirecTV Stream vs. YouTube TV

DirecTV Stream vs YouTube TV 

Since 1994, DirecTV has already been bringing Television programs, news, films, and sports via satellite. Two years ago, it also started up its streaming TV rival, now known as DirecTV Stream. It is the most highly-priced streaming service available, with four bundle options ranging from $70 to $150 per month. Also, they offer several other regional sports networks (RSNs) in the business, as well as all major broadcast networks and numerous industry-leading features. Premium channels such as Starz and HBO are also included in its total-time executives.

While YouTube TV, on the other hand, provides a single English-language bundle for $65 per month. There are a few channel bundles available, but the majority of segments are added à la carte. Every major broadcasting network and many free-to-air and cable channels, such as Disney Channel, ESPN, and Paramount Network, are included in the base plan.

DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV channels
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Who Takes the Lead When It Comes to Channel Selection?

DirecTV Stream offers far more segments or channels than YouTube TV, in addition to more RSNs compared to any other streaming service, but it will cost you money. More channels are unavailable until you upgrade to the Choice plan, which charges $25/month, much more than YouTube TV.

The DirecTV Stream Premier subscription or plan has 140+ base channels at its highest tier, but many markets get far more. It also has cable networks or channels that are more popular than YouTube TV does not have, such as A&E, History Channel, and Tennis Channel. All of the same broadcast networks are available on YouTube TV as they are on DirecTV Stream, which includes PBS. 

While YouTube TV, on the contrary, also has a lot to say. When comparing the number of live TV channels available in the reference bundles from YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream, YouTube TV provides more than the second. The YouTube TV list includes channels with a sister network, such as Nickelodeon, BBC and BBC World News, Hallmark Drama, and Hallmark Channel. In contrast, DirecTV Stream channels in the base package typically only include the major networks.

Both services include premium channels such as HBO Max and EPIX. On the other hand, YouTube TV includes sports networks such as MLB Network and NFL Network in its base package. On the contrary, DirecTV Stream requires a CHOICETM package or higher to access regional sports networks (RSN). 

Although both agencies provide a Spanish package or add-on, DirecTV Stream also brings Vietnamese, Brazilian, and Korean add-on packages. YouTube TV takes the lead in the channel selection category if you want more options.

DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV sports channel
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DirecTV Stream vs. YouTube TV: Who Is the Premium Choice for Sports

DirecTV Stream does not contain any broadcasting channels in its most basic package, but it does include RSNs in the CHOICETM package and higher that are not accessible on YouTube TV. 

This means that sports fans witness and are able to stream games in their own city or town and cheer on their favorite teams without having to go beyond and be hassled to go to the actual venue for the game since RSNs are frequently deal breakers for sports fans. Hence, DirecTV Stream is the better option for this segment. 

DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV supported devices
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Supported devices

In terms of supported devices, it is not new that YouTube TV takes the lead. With the exception of one patented technology device, individuals can stream or watch YouTube TV on any device that DirecTV Stream supports.

YouTube TV works with PlayStation and Xbox, as well as Google Nest Hub and a more comprehensive range of very up to trend smart TVs than DirecTV Stream. And in terms of interface, YouTube TV has a more straightforward interface than the two. YouTube TV goes out of its way to keep things simple. 

There are three tabs available: Library, Home, and Live. The Library will be where your transmissions are saved, and the Home tab is where you can browse YouTube TV’s recommendations. All live videos play simultaneously without sound as if you were watching numerous compact Television screens on one large screen. The stream guide and what’s currently airing can be found under the Live tab.

Despite YouTube TV’s pros, we cannot disregard DirecTV Streams’ interventions. DirecTV Stream isn’t far behind in terms of usability, though it’s more in line with conventional or standard cable TV navigation. It has four tabs, one of which is geared to its expansive-ranging on-demand Library and pertains to the live Television network lineup as Guide, as seen on cable TV.

Apart from the former, DirecTV Stream only has one prominent screen player that significantly reduces the web app’s corner and does not simply vanish even when you switch to another tab. You’ll have to close the player manually, so it doesn’t distract you while you’re browsing content.

Although YouTube TV allows six accounts to share a single subscription, as a downside, three component streams can only be played at the same time. DirecTV Stream supports up to 20 simultaneous device streams on a single home router, yet only three when watching on the go. YouTube also has a broader availability than the others as it is available on various platforms such as PlayStation, Vizio, Xbox, and many more.

One can experience streaming disruptions on YouTube TV, and the DirecTV Stream functionality was occasionally stagnant. In summary, if you want the most user-friendly option, YouTube TV is better. 

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4K and streaming quality

DirecTV Stream doesn’t exactly open up about the quality of its streams. It is not often made clear what is meant by “poor,” “mid,” or “high” quality streams. My tests showed that 720p was the average, typical for live TV streaming (though some of DirecTV Stream’s competitors provide 1080p).

The quality of DirecTV Stream periodically dropped below HD in my tests. It wasn’t a common issue, but it was consistent with the kind of thing I’d anticipate seeing on slower networks. Although DirecTV Stream’s streaming quality is generally satisfactory, it is not as consistent in remaining in HD as other services like YouTube TV.

DirecTV Stream offers 20 streams per account on the same home network and three away from it. YouTube TV allows three concurrent streams by default, but an add-on lets you watch on any device on your home network. FuboTV and Hulu + Live TV allow three and two streams, respectively, but both offer add-ons to increase those restrictions.

Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV, our top live TV streaming services, support 1080p/60fps live channels on some platforms. DirecTV Stream uses an HD-maximum adaptive bitrate, according to a spokesman. DirecTV Stream’s HD channels didn’t seem to achieve 1080p, and the framerate looked fixed at 30fps on the devices we tested. Only FuboTV enables 4K streaming without add-ons. YouTube TV’s 4K Plus add-on allows 4K streaming on select channels, DVR downloads, and unlimited home network feeds.

Some video streaming services focus primarily on on-demand or original programming, while others are made to totally replace your cable subscription. In contrast, YouTube TV bundles together more than 85 different news, sports, and entertainment channels. It also has high-quality DVR functions and works with various operating systems. With the new 4K Plus upgrade, you can stream in 4K resolution, download DVR shows for offline watching, and watch an unlimited number of shows at once without any buffering issues on your home network. The service has the best channels and streaming specifications, but the monthly cost is costly (and rising).

Not all YouTube TV users have access to the option to stream in the best possible picture quality. Instead, the standard subscription does not include support for resolutions up to 1080p. With the basic YouTube TV plan, you can’t stream at a resolution higher than 1080p.

Those on 4K streaming will need to upgrade to the 4K Plus plan on YouTube TV. This upgrade, for an extra $20 per month, not only boosts the highest resolution to 4K but also enables downloading videos and simultaneous streaming on an increased number of devices within the home network.

Obviously, subscribers will only find the 4K upgrades worthwhile if the rest of their system is ready for 4K streaming. Again, this will necessitate checking that your internet download speed is enough and making sure that your streaming player and/or smart TV (and any additional connections connecting the devices) can handle and deliver a 4K video signal.

DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV DVR
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DVR and on-demand

DVRs trap many individuals in cable contracts. Thankfully, both live TV streaming services provide unlimited cloud DVR, and both DVRs can skip ads on recordings.

YouTube TV’s nine-month DVR is better, while there is a 90-day DirecTV Stream DVR recordings expiration. New subscribers only get unlimited DVR. However, DirecTV transfers are ineligible, which could be unjust for those who also want more extended recording storage.

Thousands of on-demand TV shows and movies are available from both services, but DirecTV Stream has a more extensive selection. Over forty thousand videos are available on demand with the Entertainment package. There are almost 60,000 movies and TV shows on demand with Premier, Ultimate, and Choice, respectively.

Contrast that with YouTube TV, which has significantly fewer features. Potentially contributing to this is that many video-on-demand shows are provided by networks. In most cases, streaming services can only offer the shows and movies that the networks make available.

The lower channel count on YouTube TV compared to DirecTV Stream’s more expensive packages could explain why it doesn’t provide as many movies and TV shows to stream on demand.

Pricing and availability

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YouTube TV

Cost and content are key factors when picking a video streaming service. YouTube TV offers a base plan and monthly fee, including unlimited cloud DVR, over 100+ channels, unlimited DVR space, three screens for streaming, and six accounts to share within the household for $64.99 monthly. If you want to include Spanish channels, you can opt for add-ons at a $14.99 monthly additional fee.

As for discounts, YouTube TV has $30 off for the first three months, which is $54.99 per month for their Base plan and the Spanish-only plan at $24.99 per month.

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DirecTV Stream

There are four DirecTV Stream pricing options, including Genie HD DVR, that vary in pricing, wherein the Entertainment plan is the cheapest, with 165+ channels costing $74.99 per month. Their Choice plan includes 200+ channels, the 2022 season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX included at no extra cost, and Regional Sports Networks priced at $79.99 monthly.

Their Ultimate plan is a bit similar to their Choice plan, but it includes 270+ channels more at $99.99 monthly. The Premier plan also offers identical features to Choice and Ultimate, but it consists of 340+ channels and special access to HBO Max, SHOWTIME, Cinemax, and STARZ.

All of their plans have a $10 discount for the first year, listed as follows:

  • Entertainment – $64.99 monthly 
  • Choice – $69.99 monthly
  • Ultimate – $89.99 monthly
  • Premier – $139.99 monthly

Free Trial

There’s a no-risk trial with DirecTV Stream that lasts for five days. For YoutubeTV, they offer a free trial to new subscribers, wherein the trial duration varies per subscriber.

The Verdict: YouTube TV vs. DirecTV Stream

Although the music streaming service industry is quite dominant, the future of live television is in good hands with DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV. Both businesses put the customer first by doing away with annoying extras like hidden fees and sketchy contracts.

Since both DirecTV Stream and YouTube can be accessed online, they also liberate you from the confines of your home. Watching your most-loved TV episodes and movies is as easy as tapping a screen, wherever you happen to be connected to the internet.

We’re big fans of both services, but since we have to choose a victor, we’ll go with DirecTV Stream. Although both DirecTV Stream and YouTube TV are fantastic options, DirecTV Stream’s superior channel lineup of 220+ channels is what ultimately seals the deal.

DirecTV Stream is an excellent option for individuals who spend their evenings glued to their couches or recliners, but it does come at a higher price.

Still, for its modest monthly fee, YouTube TV is an outstanding service that provides all the essentials of traditional TV viewing and more. Your family’s best option will hinge on whether you care more about having a wide variety of programming options or having a reduced monthly TV cost.

Want more insights? Check out this quick video overview: