December 1, 2022

What Is DIRECTV Stream? New Streaming Service from AT&T

Most people have a favorite way of watching TV, but many of us prefer to access both live TV and streaming. Streaming lets you watch your favorite shows whenever you want, but the caveat is that you have to wait for the shows to become available on the streaming service first.

For example, American Idol is available for streaming, but not until the next day. Many people would prefer to watch competitions like this live.

This level of versatility is one of the many reasons customers choose to use both traditional TV and streaming services. This is where DIRECTV Stream comes in.

The Basics

DIRECTV Stream is essentially a combination of live TV and streaming services. By using the stream box, you can flip through local and national channels or use popular apps for streaming.

You may know this service by the names AT&T TV or DIRECTV Now. DIRECTV Stream is the newest name for the same platform. The only difference between DIRECTV Stream and the previous service names is an updated website.

DIRECTV Stream vs. DIRECTV

DIRECTV itself has been around since 1994, but adding streaming options is relatively new.

The following are some basic differences between DIRECTV Stream and DIRECTV:

FeatureDIRECTV StreamDIRECTV
How to get access?Requires an internet connectionUses a satellite subscription
Equipment needed?Power adapter, HDMI cableSatellite dish, receiver
Access to apps?YesNo
Access to channels?Yes, but less than DIRECTVYes, the most access
Save content?Yes, with DVRYes, with Cloud DVR for limited hours
Contract required?Yes, 2 yearsNo
Where is it available?EverywhereEverywhere

How to Watch DIRECTV Stream

There are specific devices designed for use with DIRECTV Stream, but you can also link it to compatible devices, such as those by:

Samsung

  • Certain models of 2017 and newer TVs

Roku

  • Select Roku Streaming Stick and Streaming Stick +
  • Select Roku Express and Express +
  • Select Roku Premier and Premier +
  • Select Roku Ultra and Roku LT
  • Roku 1 SE (2710X)
  • Select Roku 2
  • Select Roku 3
  • Roku 4 (4400X)
  • Select Non-4K Roku TV
  • Select 4K Roku TV
  • Roku Smart Sounbar (9100X)

Apple and iOS

  • Apple TV and fourth generation
  • Safari browser (version 13 and higher is recommended)
  • iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches running version iOS 11 and up (iOS 12 and up is reccommended

Amazon

  • Amazon Fire TV (second generation or higher)
  • Amazon Fire Stick (second generation or higher)
  • Amazon Fire TV Edition Smart TV (second generation and higher)
  • Amazon Fire TV Cube

Google

  • Chrome browser version 68 or higher
  • Certain models of Chromecast built-in TV
  • Chromecast (second generation and higher)

Android

  • Phones and tablets running version 7.1 and up (OS 8 and up is recommended)

Microsoft

  • Select Edge browsers

You can connect up to three devices to a single home account. However, there is also an exclusive streaming option that allows you to connect up to 20 devices that are all in your home.

Benefits of DIRECTV Stream

With DIRECTV Stream, buyers can access 140 channels or more, as well as all 65,000 on-demand titles. Keep in mind that the number of channels you receive depends on the package selection, but apps are available in every package.

With so many streaming services, why do customers choose DIRECTV Stream?

Channels

The number of channels available will depend on the package you purchase with DIRECTV Stream. Below are some of the most popular channels provided with each package.

Entertainment

With 65 or more channels, the Entertainment package is the most basic and least expensive.

You can access family essentials like Disney, PBS Kids, and Nickelodeon (but not Nick Jr.). Sports fans can also tune in to ESPN and Motor Trend. To get the news, you can tune into CNN, CNBC, and Fox News, among others. Other channels include Discovery, the Food Network, HGTV, and TNT.

Choice

The Choice package provides 90 or more live channels, and it is $20 more expensive per month.

With this package, you will find the Cooking Channel, Fuse, the Game Show Network, and the Travel Channel for entertainment. Nick Jr. and Up TV are available for kids. Buyers can get their news from CNBC World and Justice Central, and they have access to additional sports networks, such as the MLB Network, NBA TV, and the Big Ten Network.

Ultimate

As the second-highest package, Ultimate offers many additional channels without increasing the price too steeply.

The Ultimate package includes the American Heroes Channel, Discovery Life, FYI, and MTV Classic. Families can access the Discovery Family Channel, National Geographic Wild, and Universal Kids. Movies are available on FX Movie, and BBC World News is available for keeping up with international news. Sports fans may enjoy the Golf Channel, the NHL Network, and the Olympic Channel.

Plus, some premium channels are available, such as Starz Encore channels.

Premier

The main difference between the Premier package and others is the availability of premium channels. With Premier, buyers can watch Cinemax, Epix, HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

Pricing

This pricing guide breaks down the features available on each package of DIRECTV Stream.

PackagePriceChannelsOn-Demand TitlesRegional Sports NetworksHours of DVR StoragePremium Channels
Entertainment$59.99/mo65+40,000No20 hoursShowtime, Epix, and Cinemax are free for 3 months, then available for a fee
Choice$79.99/mo90+45,000YesUnlimitedHBO Max, Showtime, Epix, and Cinemax are free for 3 months, then available for a fee
Ultimate$94.99/mo130+55,000YesUnlimitedHBO Max, Showtime, Epix, and Cinemax are free for 3 months, then available for a fee
Premier$139.99/mo140+65,000Yes20 hoursHBO Max, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime for free, plus 3 free months of EPIX

As you can see, the price jump from the Ultimate package to Premier is significant. This may seem unreasonable at first, but Premier is the only package that offers streaming from HBO Max and additional premium channels for free. Thus, buyers won’t need to worry about any additional fees. They may find that the Premier package covers all of their needs for one, set price.

DIRECTV Stream vs. Similar Providers

Let’s take a look at how DIRECTV Stream measures up to other providers offering similar services.

DIRECTV Stream vs. Xfinity

DIRECTV Stream offers more channels than Xfinity, and it is available in more locations. Plus, DIRECTV Stream offers more options for plans.

However, it is significantly more expensive than Xfinity.

DIRECTV Stream vs. YouTube TV

Both DIRECTV Stream and YouTube TV are similarly priced, and both provide add-on options for premium sports and movie channels.

Unfortunately, DIRECTV Stream offers limited storage with Cloud DVR unless you pay a fee. On the other hand, YouTube TV provides unlimited video storage that remains saved for nine months.

DIRECTV Stream vs. Hulu + Live TV

While DIRECTV Stream has no original content and a limited on-demand library, Hulu + Live TV provides a great deal of on-demand content.

However, DIRECTV Stream has a variety of price tiers and no commercials. Customers have to pay an additional fee to avoid commercials with Hulu + Live TV. Plus, DIRECTV Stream offers many more channels.

DIRECTV Stream FAQ

Are you interested in DIRECTV Stream? Here is some additional information to keep in mind.

What Should My Internet Speed Be?

Technically, DIRECTV Stream only requires high-speed internet. However, 8Mbps per stream will provide the optimal viewing experience.

What Is the Video Quality of DIRECTV Stream?

Live TV streams at 720p HD. On-demand content is available in 1080p. 4K Ultra HD is not supported.

What Is the Audio Quality of DIRECTV Stream?

Most of the audio feed is 2.0 stereo, but you can find some in Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound.

How Do I Set Up DIRECTV Stream?

Setup is easy, and you can do it yourself. Plug the HDMI cable into your TV, and plug the DIRECTV Stream device into a power outlet. Then, turn on your TV and follow the instructions that appear on the screen.

How Do I Use Google Assistant With DIRECTV Stream?

Google Assistant can be used to activate voice control on a DIRECTV Stream remote. Press and release the MIC button on the remote and speak your request into the microphone when the blue light shows up on the remote.

With Google Assistant, you can access live TV, movies, shows, and games. You can even change channels and turn on closed captioning as needed.

Final Thoughts

DIRECTV Stream offers the top channels in every category for the base option, and more are included with each package upgrade. Additionally, buyers have access to a variety of apps. They can also combine HBO Max with your DIRECTV purchase with the Premier package.

DIRECTV has proven itself to be reliable through the years, as one of the top satellite providers along with DISH Network. and it is expanding its scope with DIRECTV Stream. This service is a comprehensive option for those who want the convenience of live TV and streaming services in one place.

Photo by Nenad Stojkovic licensed under CC BY 2.0

Eric Anderson

Writer and owner of CATV.org. Eric covers the latest happenings in the world of cable TV: deals, reviews, previews, new tech gear & more.

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