DIRECTV Satellite TV Review

Directv
  • pro
    Starts at $69.99/mo.
  • pro
    Comes with up to 150+ channels
  • pro
    Solid sports programming
  • pro
    Price guaranteed for two years

Kristin Cooke
Feb 07, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 min read

With dozens of sports channels to choose from, DIRECTV’s lineup is hard to beat when it comes to catching your favorite sports. The main catch with DIRECTV is the two-year contract. It's a longer commitment, but pricing for those 24 months is locked.

DIRECTV prices and plans

Package
Channels
Price*

ENTERTAINMENT

75+

$69.99/mo.

CHOICE

105+

$74.99/mo.

ULTIMATE

140+

$104.99/mo.

PREMIER

150+

$149.99/mo.

Data effective 11/15/2023. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Pricing guarenteed for 24 months plus taxes and fees w/ 24-mo. agmt. New approved residential customers, price incl. TV pkg & equip. fees for first TV. Add’l fees may apply to non-qualified customers. Early agmt termination fee applies ($20/mo.) & add’l fee(s) may apply if equipment not returned. Credit card req’d. Restr’s apply. $19.95 activation & equipment lease req’d for satellite customers. Equipment lease req’d for DIRECTV via Internet customers in some sales channels.

The best part about DIRECTV plans is the introductory price you get your first two years. Sure, your bill does go up (a lot) after 24 months. But it’s worth noting that the initial prices are even lower than DISH’s prices. Not to mention that you’ll never pay more than an average of $0.50 cents per channel, which is fairly average across cable and satellite TV providers.

Our favorite DIRECTV plan is CHOICE because of its affordable pricing and decent selection of popular channels, such as ESPN. If you bundle internet with your TV package, you can get DIRECTV CHOICE for $84.99 per month. CHOICE also comes with three months of premium channels like HBO® included. Not too shabby, eh?

DIRECTV Fees

As with any subscription service, there are a few fees to keep an eye out for with DIRECTV.

DIRECTV fees

  • Activation fee: $19.95 one-time payment
  • Installation fee: None
  • Cancellation fee: $20 for each month remaining on your contract (up to $240)

Compared to other TV providers, DIRECTV’s fees are more than reasonable. If you’re a fan of fewer fees (and more football), DIRECTV is a score.

Pro tip:
Pricetag
When you call to sign up for DIRECTV service, ask your sales rep about current deals and promotions like free premium channels and gift cards.
What’s fixed wireless?
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Fixed wireless uses transmitters to send your internet signal from one point to another. Usually you’ll find these transmitters attached to poles, buildings, or towers to create a wireless network. But, heads up, unlike a cellular network, fixed wireless relies on an ISP to deliver those signals.

DIRECTV Contract

This is where we steer you away from fixed wireless bundles. Unless fixed wireless is your only option, go with DSL or fiber. Why? Because if you’re like most people, you’ll blow through the monthly 215 GB data cap and get slapped with $10 overage fees for every 50 GB you go over the limit. And nobody wants that.

If you’re new to DIRECTV, you’ll sign a two-year contract to get service. But after two years, you’ll need to sign only a one-year contract to keep the entertainment flowing. We wish DIRECTV wouldn’t raise prices so much after the second year, but at least you can save some bucks and get some free premium channels during that startup period.

DIRECTV channels

With more than 330 channels to choose from, the chances of you spending Sunday afternoon with nothing to watch just got slimmer.

Here’s a breakdown of available channels from each DIRECTV package.

DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT

Channel count: 75+

Cost: $69.99/mo.

Channel highlights: All SELECT channels plus ESPN, ESPN2, FOX Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network

Best for: Sports on a budget

Need your sports fix without the high price tag? ENTERTAINMENT might be a good fit. It comes with ESPN and ESPN2, as well as FOX Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network. That means less time spent at noisy sports bars and more time enjoying the game from the couch. Score!

Our Pick

Channel count: 105+

Cost: $74.99/mo.

Channel highlights: Most ENTERTAINMENT channels plus ESPNEWS, ESPNU, MLB Network, NFL Network, Nicktoons, OWN, Travel Channel, and UniMás.

Best for: Channel variety

In addition to a ton of sports channels, DIRECTV CHOICE comes loaded with lifestyle channels like OWN, Nicktoons, and the Travel Channel. That’s perfect for those times when you need some inspirational Oprah moments during halftime of the big game.

DIRECTV ULTIMATE

Channel count: 140+

Cost: $104.99/mo.

Channel highlights: All XTRA channels plus DTV4K, STARZ, and Univision Televisa Deportes. 

Best for: 4K viewing

Put your 4K TV to work with the DTV4K channel, featuring lush nature documentaries and vibrant live events in ultra-high definition. You’ve also got the wide world of sports at your fingertips along with the untamed areas of the Earth with Discovery Family Channel and Nat Geo WILD. Oh, and did we mention STARZ? Don’t plan on leaving the house anytime soon.

DIRECTV PREMIER

Channel count: 150+

Cost: $149.99/mo.

Channel highlights: All ULTIMATE channels plus beIN Sports, CINEMAX, DTV4K, ESPN Classic, HBO, Outdoor Channel, and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®.

Best for: Premium channels

Enjoy HBO, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, and CINEMAX without paying for an add-on package. PREMIER includes all your favorite premium channels and shows. And you’ll get extra sports with beIN Sports and ESPN Classic, plus some wild sports with the Outdoor Channel.

En español

Channels/canales: 100+

Cost/precio: $35–$110/mo. 

Packages/paquetes: ÓPTIMO MÁS, MÁS ULTRA, MÁS LATINO, LO MÁXIMO

Curl up on your couch and binge-watch telenovelas or cheer like you’re in the stands at the fútbol match. That’s what weekends are made for, right?

DIRECTV add-on channels

Don’t forget about those add-ons. From quirky to sporty, DIRECTV offers some exceptional extras for those who like to pick and choose.

HBO + STARZ + CINEMAX + Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

Channel count: 33

Cost: $53.99/mo. (free for your first 3 months)

Don’t miss an episode of Silicon Valley or Homeland with this premium channel package.

DIRECTV SPORTS PACK

Channel count: 7 plus 30+ regional sports networks

Cost: $14.99/mo.

Does your family have a mega sports addiction? Huddle around the TV for slow-motion replays on channels like CBS Sports, ESPN Classic, and several regional networks.

MLB EXTRA INNINGS

Channel count: 3

Cost: $25.00/mo for 6 mo

MLB EXTRA INNINGS is the best way to follow pro baseball throughout the season.

NHL CENTER ICE

Channel count: 19

Cost: $23.33/mo. in season

No need for a body check—NHL CENTER ICE is the best way to watch your favorite team skate through the season.

NBA League Pass

Channel count: 17

Cost:
$22.99/mo. in season

Watch your favorite team bring the house down. NBA League Pass treats you to up to 40 out-of-market games each week.

DIRECTV installation and equipment

No surprise here: you’ll need a satellite dish and a Genie DVR installed to watch DIRECTV.

Here’s what to expect in terms of installation, payment, and your new DIRECTV equipment.

Installation price

Aside from a $19.95 activation fee, DIRECTV installation doesn’t cost extra. So unless you want it installed in more than four rooms or need more than four receivers, you won’t have to dig into your pockets for more cash. (Heads up: DIRECTV also charges a $99 fee to set up your wireless Genie Minis.)

It’s worth mentioning that if your installation tech needs to change your telephone line, set up audio/visual equipment, or finish other specialized work, you might be charged a “custom work fee.”

If this happens, the technician should provide you with a Custom Work Rate Sheet that details what work they completed and how much it cost. The technician will collect payment for the specialized work right when they finish—don’t worry, this is to be expected!

DIRECTV installation process

  1. Once you order your DIRECTV package, you’ll receive an installation appointment notification.
  2. Your technician visits within two days of placing your order, and installation will take about five hours.

To make sure your installation goes as smoothly as possible, here are some things you can do before the tech arrives.

  1. If you rent, get the Landlord Approval Form signed by your landlord or HOA. This gives DIRECTV permission to install your dish—and helps you avoid any nasty cease-and-desist letters in the future.
  2. Make sure your internet or phone service is active.
  3. Plan for someone who’s at least 18 years old to be home when the tech comes.
  4. Move TVs away from the wall if you want DIRECTV set up there.
  5. Clear away anything that might get in the way of your tech climbing onto your roof.

Payment and equipment lease options

Your DIRECTV payments will start at an introductory price that lasts for 24 months. But remember, you’ll be on a contract for two years, and after the introductory period, you’ll see your bill go up.

Here’s how much you’ll pay each month by channel package.

DIRECTV package prices

Package
Channels
Price*

ENTERTAINMENT

75+

$69.99/mo.

CHOICE

105+

$74.99/mo.

ULTIMATE

140+

$104.99/mo.

PREMIER

150+

$149.99/mo.

Data effective 1/18/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Entertainment: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.
Choice: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.
Ultimate: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.
Premier: w/ 24-mo. agmt. AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. and Regional Sports Fee up to $13.99/mo. are extra & apply.

And what about your DIRECTV equipment fees? Here’s how your leasing options shake out.

DIRECTV equipment fees

  • No additional cost for your first Genie DVR
  • $99 setup fee for wireless Genie Minis (a single fee for all receivers)
  • $49 per receiver for any receivers after your first four
  • $7/mo. for additional Genie Minis

Genie DVR

Your DIRECTV package comes with a Genie HD DVR—no extra monthly fees required. It’s one of the best out there as far as DVRs go, and it comes with some pretty hefty features. We highly recommend the Genie because it comes included with your package (no $10 per month rental fee—yes, we’re looking at you DISH) and plenty of storage for most folks.

Genie DVR features

Storage
Simultaneous channels
Simultaneous recording
Max # of TVs

1 TB (up to 200 hours of HD)

Up to 8 channels on 1 screen

Up to 5 shows

Up to 8 (with Genie Minis)

Customer satisfaction

The latest report from the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) gives DIRECTV an above-average score for customer satisfaction.

DIRECTV ACSI 2018 Score

64/100

While we’d like to see DIRECTV move closer to a perfect score, it’s still leaps and bounds beyond the satisfaction scores of other TV providers.

If you need to talk to DIRECTV customer support, give them a call at 1-800-288-2020 on any day of the week from 8:00 a.m. to midnight EST. Or see if you can troubleshoot it yourself with our DIRECTV FAQ.

Our verdict: DIRECTV is worth tuning in to.

With a huge lineup of sports channels, 4K options, and first-year prices that are lower than DISH, we think DIRECTV is a match made in heaven for most folks. Just remember that your price will likely increase after two years of your contract. Is that a price worth paying for loads of awesome programming (especially sports) in one convenient spot? We’d say so, but we’ll let you decide.

Directv
  • pro
    Starts at $69.99/mo.
  • pro
    Comes with up to 150+ channels
  • pro
    Solid sports programming
  • pro
    Price guaranteed for two years

*Data current as of 5/4/2020, when bundled with another service such as TV or home phone. Standalone price is $10 more for any service. Pricing and availability vary by location.

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Methodology

Our SatelliteInternet.com editorial team bases our analyses on research, results from our speed test tool, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. We dig deep to get hard-to-find information on internet plans, fees, and upcoming brand developments. We make this information easy for you to find in one place via our in-depth reviews, and we use our satellite internet industry expertise to analyze the options to help you make the most informed decision for your household.

Kristin Cooke
Written by
Kristin Cooke
After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Utah, Kristin learned to geek speak while working as a technical recruiter, interviewing software developers and tech companies. For over 20 years, she has created award-winning content for technology, health, and finance companies. Kristin is an advocate for affordable internet for all and writes about rural internet solutions, satellite internet news, and tech products at SatelliteInternet.com. Her work has been featured in New York Post, PCMag, Forbes, Business Insider, Telecompetitor, Space.com, and The Benton Institute for Broadband & Society.