If watching NFL games or NBA games are your primary reason for getting live TV, DIRECTV STREAM may be worth the monthly price. With the second-tier package and above, you get access to nearly every regional sports network and most of your local channels. You also get almost all the top networks and thousands of shows and movies on demand, plus solid DVR capability.
The higher-tier packages get very expensive, very quickly. For the top price of around $150, you get more than 150 channels, premium channels like STARZ and HBO, and access to even more regional sports networks. It may be worth it for large families or sports fans who want to catch every game from every team, but we recommend checking out the lineups of competitors Fubo and YouTube TV before you decide.
Disclaimer: Prices and plans are subject to change. Conditions may apply.
Canceling DIRECTV STREAM wasn’t our favorite part of the testing experience, but we were kind of glad to see it go. The service makes it seem like you can cancel online, but it forces you into a chat with a live agent.
After waiting a few minutes for someone to come online, we got peppered with questions about why we were leaving and what we didn’t like. It was an obvious attempt to keep us onboard, but we patiently insisted on canceling. After asking to just cancel and end the conversation several times, we were finally notified that our subscription had ended.
More than a day after our cancelation conversation, we got an email with a confirmation and an offer to reactivate. Based on our experiences testing other streaming services, we weren’t very tempted. According to the company, however, it’s easy to reactivate service but you lose access to your DVR library and promotional pricing.
Nasty cancelation experiences like these are common among traditional cable TV providers, but rare among the streaming services we tested. If DIRECTV wants to compete among streaming services, it really should leave practices like this behind.
DIRECTV STREAM offers four packages. The ENTERTAINMENT package, starting at about $75 per month, gets you local networks and 70 top channels, including ESPN. For the CHOICE option, you get access to dozens of regional sports networks, the MLB Network, and more, but it will cost you about $100 per month. If you love catching your team’s games wherever they play, that’s the package we recommend.
The highest two tiers are not a great value. For about $110 per month, you can get more than 130 channels and a few more sports and entertainment channels, such as NHL Network and STARZ. At the highest tier, which costs about $155, you get access to more than 140 channels, including access to some of the most popular premium channels.
Like DIRECTV’s satellite service, DIRECTV STREAM has lots of available add-ons. STARZ, SHOWTIME, CINEMAX, and Epix are included for the first three months on the first three tiers but then cost $11 per month thereafter. These renew automatically, so we recommend setting yourself a reminder to cancel so you don’t get charged for channels you don’t watch.
Add-ons are also available for HBO Max, Fox Nation, AMC+, Amazon streaming, and more, but we didn’t find significant savings compared to competing services. There are some nice international offerings, but they cost the same as they would with DIRECTV’s satellite offering.
DIRECTV STREAM offers its own streaming box for purchase or rental. As far as we know, it’s the only live TV streaming service with that option. It comes with a Google-powered voice-control remote and apps for other streaming services like Netflix and HBO Max.
If you don’t want to spring for the DIRECTV STREAM box, you can access the service on Apple and Android mobile devices, web browsers, a wide variety of smart TVs, and third-party streaming devices like Roku and Chromecast.
The service really is best on a TV, though. On browsers, we ran into issues with resizing and audio that didn’t play automatically. We also discovered there’s no way to cast or screen mirror from your DVR library. It’s nice that you can hypothetically have three simultaneous streams away from home and an unlimited number at home, but device limitations make this less than practical.
DIRECTV STREAM advertises a 5-day free trial. You can also get a full refund if you cancel within 14 days of signing up. Furthermore, you get savings of about $20 in the first two months with each plan and free add-ons of some premium services for the first three months. Just be warned: you have to interact with a live human either through chat or over the phone to complete your cancelation.