AT&T TV rebranded to DIRECTV STREAM in August 2021. The shift ushered in more than a new logo — customers can now sign up for the service without locking themselves into a contract. And, you still don’t need a satellite dish to gain access to this DIRECTV service. Existing customers have been automatically transitioned to the new streaming platform. If you’re not already on board, read on to learn more about DIRECTV packages and what equipment you need to get started.
How Does DIRECTV STREAM Work?
DIRECTV STREAM marries elements of traditional cable with streaming platforms. While you can stream live content over the internet like with Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV, users are recommended to use an equipment box like with traditional cable. That being said, since AT&T TV became DIRECTV STREAM, renting a company device is optional. Users can also stream their content using their own device; Roku and Chromecast are both compatible with DirecTV Stream.
DIRECTV STREAM offers
The service uses your internet connection to let you stream live and on-demand shows and movies. Even if you don’t have AT&T internet, you can still sign up for the service, with access to the same content as AT&T internet subscribers.
Since the TV streaming box — either the DIRECTV STREAM box or your own device — requires an internet connection, your viewing experience depends heavily on your internet speed. You need a minimum of 8 Mbps internet connection to use DIRECTV STREAM and even more for 4K viewing. For example, to watch Netflix in 4K quality, you need a speed of at least 25 Mbps. DIRECTV STREAM suggests signing up for AT&T internet plans with at least 80 Mbps for the optimal streaming experience, but again, it’s not compulsory.
How Much Does DIRECTV STREAM Cost?
DIRECTV STREAM has four options for plans, ranging from $70 to $140 per month. As with most services, the more you pay, the more you have access to. The most expensive plans include a lot of premium channels with your service, which helps you consolidate your streaming. For instance, the Premier Plan includes HBO Max, Showtime, and STARZ. Plus, you get a free 3-month trial of EPIX.
If you choose one of the more affordable plans, you can add premium networks piece-meal based on your preferences. All streaming packages come with the option to add premium channels, including Cinemax, Epix, HBO Max, Showtime, and Starz.
DIRECTV STREAM also offers two Spanish language add-ons. The Deportes add-on is $5/mo. and the Español package is $15 per month. Three other international add-ons are also available: Vietnamese, Korean, and Brazilian. Each run between $20-30/mo.
How Do the DIRECTV STREAM Packages Compare?
|Number of channels||65+||90+||125+||140+|
|Popular channels||ESPN, TNT, Nickelodeon, HGTV, TLC||Cooking Channel, Comedy.tv, BTN HD, Cheddar, ESPNU HD||FXM, Golf Channel, National Geographic, CBS Sports, Cartoon Network||NHL Network, Starz Encore, Destination America, FS2, LMN|
|Number of on-demand titles||40,000||45,000||55,000||65,000|
What Packages and Channels Does DIRECTV STREAM Include?
As with most live streaming platforms, a more comprehensive package comes at a cost. However, the base DIRECTV STREAM package comes with enough channels to replace your traditional cable. If you want a lot of live sports or premium movie channels, consider the Ultimate or Premium packages. Since DIRECTV STREAM now operates on a month-to-month basis, you can always upgrade your package if you decide you’re not getting enough content.
The basic package, Entertainment, offers 65+ channels. This includes popular channels such as AXS TV, Comedy Central, CNBC, Disney, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, HGTV, National Geographic, NBC Sports, Nickelodeon, TNT, TLC, and Vice. It offers a good mix of entertainment programming, kids channels, and sporting networks — to cover all bases at the most basic price. However, you’re still missing out on some key sports channels like ESPNU, FOX, FS1, and FS2.
Choice comes with everything in the Entertainment package apart from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Ovation, and Revolt, with even more lifestyle, comedy, news, and sporting channels. You have over 90 channels with the Choice plan, including BTN, Cheddar, Cooking Channel, Comedy.tv, ESPNews, ESPNU, Game Show, MLB Network, Nicktoons, NBA TV, Tennis Channel, Travel Channel, and WGN America. You’ll also get 5,000 additional on-demand titles when you upgrade to Choice from the Entertainment package.
The Ultimate plan adds even more sports and entertainment, alongside everything available in the Choice package. You get over 125 live channels, including Cartoon Network, CBS Sports Network, Discovery Life, Fox Sports 2, FXM, FX Movie Channel, Golf Channel, National Geographic Wild, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, and Sportsman Channel. It’s a good choice if you’re into movies and specific sports that you can only watch on certain regional channels. You also get every STARZ ENCORE channel with this package, a major advantage for movie lovers.
The most expensive tier, Premier, has just about any premium channel you may love, including HBO Max and Showtime. You’ll also get Cinemax and Action Max for even more movies on demand. You have 140+ channels in total, which includes all Ultimate channels, apart from Cartoon Network West. Other popular channels include Destination America, Discovery Family Channel, FS2, LMN, Logo HD, and NHL Network.
What Add-Ons Does DIRECTV STREAM Offer?
DIRECTV STREAM lets you add entertainment and Spanish channels, as well as international packages for an extra fee each month. If you already know you love to watch all the things, you may want to upgrade your DVR space. The standard storage space is just 20 hours, but you can get unlimited space for just $10/mo. You can always stream across 20 devices at once with all packages. As a result, it’s no big surprise that there is no add-on to increase your number of simultaneous streams.
Entertainment Channel Add-Ons
For premium entertainment, you can choose from Cinemax ($11/mo.), Epix ($6/mo.), HBO Max ($15/mo.), Showtime ($11/mo.), and Starz ($11/mo.). You can also add on the Spanish channel, Deportes, for an extra $5/mo. If you’re looking for extra movies, comedy, and entertainment, the service’s add-ons definitely deliver. However, they don’t bring any extra sports, lifestyle, or news channels.
Spanish and International Channel Add-Ons
There’s the option to add Brazilian ($30/mo.), Korean ($30/mo.), and Vietnamese ($20/mo.) channels, too. This gives you extra viewing from channels like EBS, KBS World, MBN, SBS Plus, SBTN, TV Globo, and VIETV. The Korean plan comes with the most channels, with 12 in total. But the Brazilian package costs the same price and only has 2 channels.
While you already have access to ESPN and other sports networks across most packages, you may need to get your eyes on even more hoops. DIRECTV STREAM lets you add the NBA League Pass Premium to your service for $40/mo. during the NBA season.
Since DIRECTV STREAM is designed to act like cable, it also lets you watch local channels, including news and regional sports networks. These vary depending on your region, but DirecTV Stream covers various ABC, CBS, FOX, FOX Sports, and NBC networks so you can watch live local sports and news.
You can use the search function on the site to see which channels are available in your region. If DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t offer local coverage in your area, you could use an antenna such as Tablo DVR or HDHomeRun instead. The antenna connects to your router, which means you can watch live local channels using your Wi-Fi connection.
Does DIRECTV STREAM Have Commercials?
DIRECTV STREAM has commercials. It’s impossible to have no ads while watching live TV anyway, but all on-demand content also has commercials. Some streaming services let you pay an extra fee to skip ads or go ad-free, but that’s not an option with the DIRECTV STREAM service. You can only skip commercials if you record something.
Does DIRECTV STREAM Have a DVR?
DIRECTV STREAM offers 20 hours of DVR space by default, and unlimited storage with the add-on, which means you can record live TV to watch back.
There are no limits on how many shows and movies you can record at once until you use up all of your storage hours. You can also record on different devices at the same time, such as your smart TV and desktop.
Other features include the ability to schedule recordings for a later time, and record on one device then watch on another. You can even schedule recordings from mobile devices and online.
The DIRECTV STREAM service also includes thousands of on-demand movies and shows alongside live TV. Most new shows are available soon after they’ve aired. You can also use the Autoplay feature, so the next episode plays automatically after you’ve finished without heading back to the dashboard.
Which Devices Are Compatible with DIRECTV STREAM?
You can access DIRECTV STREAM across most major streaming devices. This includes Apple and Android phones and tablets, Fire TV devices (2nd generation or higher), Chromecast (2nd generation or higher), Roku, and Samsung Smart TVs (2017-2020 models). You’ll need to add the DIRECTV STREAM app to these devices and log in using your credentials before you can begin streaming. If you choose to rent the DIRECTV STREAM device instead, it costs $5/mo. You’ll need to return it when you cancel your service.
Should You Cut the Cord with DIRECTV STREAM?
DIRECTV STREAM lets you enjoy live and on-demand programming without cable. If you want to enjoy local sports and news, as well as thousands of live and on-demand channels, DIRECTV STREAM is a good choice. It’s especially suited for movie lovers thanks to the wide variety of movie channels and premium add-ons available. As long as you have a reliable internet connection and don’t need more than 20 simultaneous streams, you’re all set.