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DIRECTV Review

By SatelliteTV-Deal.com Team
Last updated: 2/21/2024
Our score
9.0/10
Customer rating:
3.9/5
[ add yours ]

In terms of customers, DIRECTV is the largest satellite TV provider on the planet. Nowadays, they also offer their TV service over the internet (no dish required). You essentially get the same programming at the same price regardless of which option you choose. Overall, if you want a FULL lineup of live TV, including locals and sports, DIRECTV is still a solid provider. Let's take a closer look at its services and plans - here's how we analyze all TV plans...

  • Channel value: entertainment value of channel lineups versus plan pricing
  • DVR/Tech: receiver features, DVR storage, program guide, user interfaces and general tech infrastructure
  • Support: if something goes wrong or you need to make change, the general ease of that process

For starters, these are DIRECTV's plans:

Plan
Price /mo
Channels
Cost /Channel
69.99
165
$0.42
84.99
200
$0.42
114.99
270
$0.42
159.99
340
$0.47

Advantages

  • Most Regional Sports Networks (RSNs)
  • 2-year Price Guarantee
  • Above-average DVR (Genie or Gemini)
  • Watch favorite shows even if not recorded

Disadvantages

  • Extra fees on top of base price
  • 2-year contract required

DIRECTV's Channel Value

Over the years, DIRECTV has regularly updated its plans and programming -- it peaked with 6 different plans to choose from years ago. They recently made things easier by compacting everything into four plans (Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate and Premier). Each appeal to slightly different themes and tastes.

What do we mean by "Channel Value"? It's the relative value of their plans' costs and how it stacks up to competitors (like DISH and cable TV). DIRECTV's most popular plan, Choice, costs $84.99/mo for 200 channels. That equates to a cost/channel of $0.42. The rest of their plans are generally in that range as well. Overall, that's fairly good value. DISH has roughly the same channel value while Xfinity's TV plans cost a bit more ($0.40 for the Popular plan).

Regarding channel lineups, DIRECTV has some of the best coverage in the business (decades of license agreements will do that). In particular, DIRECTV still has the best sports coverage around, even after they lost the NFL Sunday Ticket. You'll get all your local team's games via Regional Sports Networks (RSNs). For example, you can watch local MLB, NFL and NBA games on regional networks such as Bally Sports, MASN, etc. A lot of providers, especially via streaming/OTT, don't have RSNs so for most sports fans, this is a big win for DIRECTV.

DIRECTV's pricing and channel breakdown

As discussed, there are four plans to choose from. Their smallest and cheapest plan is Entertainment. It goes for $69.99/mo for 165 channels. If you don't need a huge lineup of channels and can do without some popular channels like History, Travel and the Weather channel, Entertainment is a solid option.

The next two plans, Choice and Ultimate give you quite a few more channel options. Choice amps up the sports coverage with the MLB/NFL Network, NBA TV, Golf Channel, all the college networks (PAC 12 Network, etc) and ESPN suite (4 channels). So, for $15 more per month, you'll get 35 more channels, most of that extra value coming from those new sports channels.

The Ultimate plan costs $30/mo more and gets you 70 extra channels. That's no small upgrade and given the fact Ultimate has a ton more movies, it's probably only worth it if you really dig your flicks.

Overall, here's a visual look at their plans and pricing:

DIRECTV channels by plan

165
200
270
340
340
170
1
Entert. Choice Ultimate Premier Channels

DIRECTV plans by price/mo

69.99
84.99
114.99
159.99
159.99
79.5
1
Entert. Choice Ultimate Premier Price
Bottom Line
Overall, DIRECTV still offers relatively good channel value. The extra fees are on the high side but not outside the range of competitors.

DVR/Tech

With the Genie DVR and its rich history in DVR tech, this is one category where DIRECTV sets itself part. The Genie, while no longer a cutting-edge receiver, still delivers an excellent experience via traditional TV and mobile apps. Some of its best features include:

  • Record up to seven different shows at once - with seven tuners, the Genie lets you DVR whatever you want anytime you want. The Genie was one of the first receivers (along with the Hopper) to allow 7+ simultaneous connections.
  • 72-hour Rewind - one of its cooler features, the Genie automatically records the previous 3 days from a bunch of popular channels. Some of those include: A&E, Lifetime, ABC, E!, TBS, TNT, Bravo, NBC, etc. So, if you forget to record a live program and still within 3 days of its airing, your Genie's own recording is still there waiting for you.
  • Whole-home DVR - years ago, the Genie was one of the first DVRs to let you start a recording, pause, and resume it from a different room or receiver. It was revolutionary at the time and hard to believe some other receivers still don't a have similar feature.

The new Gemini receiver

DIRECTV recently launched a new mini receiver for streaming TV. Called the Gemini, it lets you watch ANY streaming app (Disney+, Netflix, Max, etc.) right from your Genie program guide. No switching devices or remotes. It's a great way to easily watch live and streaming programming, all from one guide.

As an aside, DISH has a similar receiver add-on option called the Hopper Plus. Feature-wise, they're pretty similar and generally work just as well... so no big advantage either way.

Best-in-class mobile apps

Especially before AT&T purchased DIRECTV, they had some of the best mobile apps in the business. Easy, fast and they flat worked... and really well. In the immediate years after, there were plenty of speed bumps with both their iOS and Android apps. Now that they're mostly back on their own technological feet (with AT&T out of the way), their apps have worked better and gotten plenty of positive updates. We slightly prefer the iOS version but during out tests both performed well at scale and even when we intentionally throttled bandwidth.

Bottom Line
DIRECTV has a long and respected history in tech. Their Genie DVR and mobile apps are all easy-to-use and highly rated amongst most users.

Support

Back in the day, DIRECTV generally played second fiddle to DISH in customer satisfaction rates. That included customer support and general help infrastructure. To their credit, they gradually worked on improving the quality of agents and overall culture. After a few years at it, feedback slowly improved and nowadays, it's mostly a pleasant experience contacting DIRECTV support. Yeah, you'll still sometimes wait on hold too long or get a totally unhelpful rep, but in the vast majority of our dealings with the support dept, they hit the mark and right away.

How do I reach DIRECTV's chat or phone support?

Chat can be reached 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Click here and go to the very bottom of the page to start a chat session. They have a full support team via chat - if a particular agent can't help you out, they'll transfer the chat to a different department. As with most support chat these days, you'll first encounter their AI assistant ("Eva"). Type in "agent" or "operator" to get sent to a real person.

If you're tired of typing or need more in-depth help, their phone support is probably the better option. It's nearly available 24 hours a day: 6:00 AM to 3:00 AM ET. Billing & account support is open from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM ET. The toll-free number is 833-359-2326. For new service, call 1-855-239-7313.

Can I walk into an AT&T store for help?

Yes. Even though AT&T sold the majority of their ownership in DIRECTV, they still hold an interest and, over the years, signed up plenty of current customers. That means you can still stroll into any AT&T store and get DIRECTV support. Particularly helpful if hardware like a receiver or your actual satellite dish is having issues. They can try troubleshooting it there or schedule a technician visit.

Bottom Line
DIRECTV doesn't have the smoothest support around but it's still adequate for most needs. Chat and phone support are about as equally helpful.

Wrapping up

DIRECTV, along with most traditional TV providers, have taken a major hit over the past few years. Streaming has shifted the landscape of TV programming and for a lot of folks, the lack of flexibility with contract providers like DIRECTV has turned them off. To DIRECTV's credit, they've evolved with the times. They launched their own streaming / online service that no longer requires a contract. So, new customers can choose between a dish installation (2-year contract) or service via internet (no contract). Both offer the same programming and pricing... including all the regional sports DIRECTV is known for.

Price is still the sticking point for most folks, however. DIRECTV is more expensive than a lot of smaller providers. So, while not for everyone, the primary reasons to go with DIRECTV are access to a full lineup of live channels, regional sports and an above-average program guide and suite of mobile apps. Familiarity also plays a factor. For some, it's kinda hard to move away from a provider you've had for years.

DIRECTV is doing all it can to bridge that pricing gap and, as a result, routinely offers attractive sign-up bonuses for new customers. From Visa gift cards to plan discounts, it's always a good idea to get as much as you can before you order (when you have the most leverage).

If you have questions about this review or want more information about DIRECTV, give us a ring below:

1-855-239-7313

Customer Reviews

For over a decade, we've collected real customer reviews from DIRECTV subscribers. You'll find the latest below. If you have a history with DIRECTV, add your own as well. An email is required to post but will never be shared or used other than to verify your post.




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