It’s official, DIRECTV Stream is finally here. On the surface, DIRECTV Stream is really just a rebrand of AT&T TV (which was a rebrand of DIRECTV NOW). But there are some changes here that you need to be aware of. So we are going to tell you everything you need to know about DIRECTV Stream. And whether it’s worth using as your new Live TV Streaming service.
When did DIRECTV Stream launch?
DIRECTV Stream officially launched on August 26, 2021.
As mentioned, it’s really just a rebrand of AT&T TV (and AT&T TV NOW), and that’s because AT&T kinda sold off DIRECTV. So it needed to branch out its streaming TV service, and get rid of the “AT&T” name from it. But instead of going back to DIRECTV NOW, it’s now DIRECTV Stream.
How much does DIRECTV Stream cost?
Update: Prices for DIRECTV Stream will increase in January 2022. Except for the entry-level “Entertainment” plan which will remain at $69.99.
DIRECTV Stream offers four different tiers, similar to AT&T TV. Their no-contract plans start at $69.99 per month for their Entertainment Plan which includes 65 channels. Then there’s the Choice Plan that begins at $84.99 with Ultimate at $94.99 and Premier at $139.99. So you can really pay a ton for streaming TV service from AT&T.
You can save a bit of money on DIRECTV Stream by going with a contract however. For example, the Entertainment package drops to $59.99 per month. However, the price will go up in the second year of the contract.
What different tiers are available?
As mentioned already, there are four tiers available for DIRECTV Stream. Entertainment will cost you $69.99 per month and includes 65+ channels. If you want to get your regional sports channels (which, DIRECTV Stream is the only streaming service that has these now), you’ll want to get Choice or higher. This includes 90+ channels for $84.99.
If that’s not enough channels, Ultimate is available for $94.99 with 130+ channels and Premier is available for a whopping $139.99 per month with 140+ channels.
Contract vs no-contract plans?
DIRECTV Stream is available as a no-contract streaming TV service, which is honestly how you should sign up for it. While the contract plans are cheaper, they then jump to a much higher price in the second year. It’s also almost impossible to sign up for DIRECTV Stream on a contract. And that’s probably a good thing.
What channels does DIRECTV Stream offer?
So what channels are available on DIRECTV Stream? Well, most of them, to be quite honest. In the table below, you can see how the channel lineups stack up for each tier.
And here’s how DIRECTV Stream stacks up against the competitors.
|Hulu + Live TV|
|Disney Channel||✓||✓||✓||Orange only||✓|
|Fox News||✓||✓||✓||Blue only||✓|
|truTV||✓||X||✓||Blue or +$6||✓|
|USA Network||✓||✓||✓||Blue only||✓|
What sports channels does DIRECTV Stream have?
Given the fact that a number of streaming TV services have been forced to drop regional sports networks, you may be interested in seeing which ones DIRECTV Stream actually has. Let’s see how they stack up in both national and regional sports networks.
|Hulu + Live TV|
And these are the regional sports networks that DIRECTV Stream currently has.
|Hulu + Live TV|
|AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh||$85||✓||X||X||X|
|AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain||$85||X||X||X||X|
|AT&T SportsNet Southwest||$85||✓||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Arizona||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Carolinas||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Detroit||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Florida||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Indiana||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Kansas City||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Midwest||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports New Orleans||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports North||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Ohio||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Oklahoma||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Prime Ticket||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports San Diego||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports South||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Southeast||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Southwest||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Sun||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Tennessee||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports West||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Bally Sports Wisconsin||$85||X||X||X||X|
|LA FC Sports Network||X||X||X||X||✓|
|Marquee Sports Network||$85||X||X||X||X|
|NBC Sports Bay Area||$85||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|NBC Sports Boston||$85||✓||✓||X||✓|
|NBC Sports California||$85||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|NBC Sports Chicago||$85||✓||✓||X||✓|
|NBC Sports Northwest||X||✓||✓||X||✓|
|NBC Sports Philadelphia||X||✓||✓||X||✓|
|NBC Sports Philadelphia+||X||✓||✓||X||✓|
|NBC Sports Washington||$85||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|NBC Sports Washington+||X||✓||✓||X||X|
|Root Sports Northwest||$85||X||X||X||X|
|Spectrum SportsNet LA||$85||X||X||X||X|
What local channels are available?
While local channels are indeed free, and you can get them just by buying an antenna for your TV, it is definitely convenient to have it included in your TV service. And DIRECTV Stream does have all of your locals. Here’s how it stacks up to the competition.
|Hulu + Live TV|
What features are included with DIRECTV Stream?
The features available on DIRECTV Stream are very similar to AT&T TV (NOW). That includes DVR support, a ton of simultaneous streams, and more. Let’s go over the features that DIRECTV Stream has.
Is there DVR included in DIRECTV Stream?
All new customers will get unlimited DVR with DIRECTV STREAM. If you are on a grandfathered plan, you will stick with your current DVR plan – that could be as little as 20 hours.
Unlimited DVR is included in the price, and recordings will remain on your account for up to 9 months. However, there is a caveat. In a series, DIRECTV STREAM will only keep the most recent 30 episodes. Deleting the oldest recordings. So you won’t be able to keep episodes of something like Friends on your account, to watch whenever.
How many simultaneous streams are included?
Get ready to be blown away. DIRECTV Stream allows you to have 20 simultaneous streams. That’s pretty crazy. As most services only offer 3-5 simultaneous streams. And you can pay more for more streams.
But there is a caveat, as you might expect. It’s 20 simultaneous streams in the same home and on the same WiFi network. However, it’s only three if you are on different WiFi networks. So if you are sharing DIRECTV Stream with others that are not in your home, you’re still limited to just three streams at a time.
What devices work with DIRECTV Stream?
DIRECTV Stream works on pretty much every device you would expect it too. But if for some reason you don’t have any of these devices, you can “rent” a box from AT&T, which is essentially an Android TV box with DIRECTV Stream pre-loaded on it. And they will happily charge you $5 per month for it. If you don’t have one of the devices below, we recommend buying the Chromecast with Google TV or even a Roku which can be as cheap as $20.
These devices work with DIRECTV Stream:
- Amazon Fire TV (2nd generation and newer)
- Android TV
- Apple TV (4th and 5th generation)
- Chromecast with Google TV
- Chromecast Built-in TV (select models)
- DIRECTV Stream device
- iOS (devices running iOS 11 and later)
- Samsung Smart TV (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 models)
What is the DIRECTV Stream device?
The DIRECTV Stream device is essentially an Android TV box that AT&T is renting to customers. It has the DIRECTV Stream app pre-installed of course. But you can also install other apps from the Google Play store. It also has Google Assistant available, and it’s super easy to set-up. There’s no need to have someone come and install it for you.
AT&T will “rent” this to you for $5 per month. Or you can pay $120 upfront. This is pretty overpriced for what it is. When the Chromecast with Google TV will likely perform better for less than half the price.
Can I keep my existing plan & price from AT&T TV?
Existing DIRECTV Now, AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now customers are grandfathered in. So you can keep your current plan and price.
However, you may find that these plans are better than what you currently have. Even though the prices are now higher. But the bottom line is, if you had DIRECTV Now, AT&T TV or AT&T TV Now, you won’t be moved to one of these new plans. Which is a good thing.
Do AT&T TV customers need to do anything to use DIRECTV Stream?
Nope. Like with most service rebrandings, the current AT&T TV app will be rebranded to DIRECTV Stream. That update will likely begin rolling out on August 26. All you need to do is update the app on all of your devices, and you’re good to go. It’s very likely that the update will happen automatically. So there’s even less to worry about here. Which is really nice.
Is it worth it to switch to DIRECTV Stream?
This really depends on what channels you need and what content you watch. And if you really want your regional sports networks back. As DIRECTV Stream is the only service with the regional sports networks right now. And that is also why it is more expensive than other services like YouTube TV.
However, DIRECTV Stream is becoming a very competitive service with this rebrand. Offering more channels, and also offering an unlimited DVR option. It has me looking twice at the service, considering that was the biggest reason I was sticking with YouTube TV – that unlimited DVR. But it is quite a bit more expensive than YouTube TV when you add the DVR and regional sports. Looking at $95/month plus tax. While YouTube TV is still $65. Are sports really worth an extra $30? Perhaps to some people.
This is what we need in the streaming live TV space, though. We need more competition, and forcing these services to compete with each other is going to either drive the price down, or give us more channels and features to justify that price. Because cable is indeed dead.