What is DirecTV Stream: plans, pricing, channels, and more

DirecTV Stream is the latest name for what once was AT&T’s live tv and on-demand streaming service, previously called AT&T TV, among other names. It’s now jointly owned by AT&T and private equity firm TPG Inc., if you’re concerned about such things. That new venture means that we no longer have insight into how many subscribers DirecTV Stream has, but it’s believed to be the smallest of the live streaming services in the United States. (The last time we got numbers was at the end of 2020, when the service was at about 656,000 subscribers, or about half that of Fubo, or no bigger than 13 percent of YouTube TV’s base.)

In any event, you’re looking to cut the cable cord, DirecTV Stream is on more service to consider among others such as Hulu With Live TV, Sling TV, and the aforementioned YouTube TV.

Let’s break it down.

DirecTV Stream app icon on Apple TV.
Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

What channel options does DirecTV Stream have?

DirecTV Stream’s lineup has always been pretty extensive, buoyed by the fact that it’s one of the only services that offers multiple tiers that adds more channels the more you pay.. DirecTV Stream has a full channel lineup guide so you can check which specific channels are included in each package and what certain channels can be added on for an additional fee. It’s an impressive lineup when compared to other options like Hulu With Live TV and Sling TV.

Is DirectTV Stream different from DirecTV?

Yes, it is, and it’s important to know the difference. DirecTV refers specifically to the satellite subscription, which requires a satellite dish and doesn’t use internet-based streaming. DirecTV Stream is the internet version where you stream channels over your home network, or on your mobile device. The channel lineup is very similar, but you may run across small differences since they’re completely separate services.

DirecTV Stream and DirecTV now share a site so you can make quick comparisons — just make sure you don’t get them confused. Also, note that they both support recording content via DVR, but Stream uses cloud-based recording to store shows.

What are the pricing and packages for DirecTV Stream?

They are very similar to AT&T’s packages and even have the same names. Let’s take a look:

  • Entertainment — $80 per month: This is the base package with the fewest channels (75-plus) at the lowest cost. It includes live TV, most on-demand titles (more than 40,000 of them), and unlimited recording. Showtime, Starz, Epix, and are all included free for the first three months, but you will get charged for them after that. This is one of the only upgrades from AT&T TV, which did not offer any free subscription months in this package.

  • Choice — $109 per month (currently available for $84 for the first two months): Choice is a significant upgrade that adds more channels (105-plus), such as additional ESPN channels, the Cooking Channel, and more. You also get access to 5,000 more on-demand titles on the service (over 45,000 in all), and access to regional sports networks that make it easier to watch local games. It offers three free months of Max (new users only for this deal, not previous subscribers), Showtime (you’ll need a separate subscription for this one), Starz, MGM+, and Cinemax.

  • Ultimate — $120 per month (currently available for $95 for the first two months): This includes everything that the Choice package has, plus a further 35 more channels (140-plus) that include things like the NHL Network and FXM, and even more on-demand titles (now up to 55,000). With this package, you get three free months of Max (again, new users only), Showtime, Starz, EPIX, and Cinemax.

  • Premier — $165 per month (currently available for $140 for the first two months): The Premier package bumps up the price significantly to throw in subscriptions for Max, Starz, Cinemax, and Showtime, and you get three free months of MGM+, too. You’ll still have to pay for entirely separate apps with no AT&T partnerships, like Netflix or Hulu. The number of channels is also increased to more than 150, and you have access to the full list of 65,000-odd on-demand titles.

You are also able to sign up for a free five-day trial period as a new subscriber. Previously, DirecTV Stream required an extra fee for unlimited cloud storage for TV recordings. Now unlimited cloud DVR storage is automatically included in every package. However, note that additional taxes may apply to all packages, as may periodic discounts AT&T offers. AT&T also recommends an internet speed of at least 24Mbps and limits users to three concurrent out-of-home streams at a time. Additionally, DirecTV and U-Verse TV customers cannot apply for AT&T TV: You’ll have to contact an AT&T rep and discuss stopping those older subscriptions and switching over to this service.