Spectrum TV vs DIRECTV Stream: Which Live TV Streaming Service is Better?

Affiliate Disclaimer: SmartTvs is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Written by

Jason Lin
Jason Lin

Published on

All ArticlesDirecTV, Review, Spectrum
Spectrum Tv Vs Directv Stream

Live TV streaming services like Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Stream offer cable-like channel lineups without contracts or hidden fees. But which one is the best option for replacing cable TV in 2024?

In this comprehensive guide, we compare Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Stream across price, channel lineup, DVR features, availability, and more to help you decide.

Key Differences Summary

  • Price: DIRECTV Stream starts at $69.99/month; Spectrum TV Choice starts at $25/month
  • Channels & Sports: DIRECTV Stream has more channels overall and more sports; Spectrum focuses on popular cable channels
  • DVR: DIRECTV Stream includes 20 hours; Spectrum offers cloud DVR service for extra fee
  • Availability: DIRECTV Stream available nationwide; Spectrum TV only available to Spectrum internet customers
  • Bundle Options: DIRECTV Stream can be bundled with AT&T or other internet; Spectrum bundles well with Spectrum internet

Below we explore these key differences in-depth to help you determine if Spectrum TV or DIRECTV Stream better meets your budget, channel lineup, equipment, and other TV streaming needs in 2024.

Pricing & Plans Compared

The most basic plans of Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Start offer these prices:

  • Spectrum TV Choice: $25/month for 20+ channels
  • DIRECTV Stream Entertainment: $69.99/month for 65+ channels

Clearly, Spectrum TV Choice offers the lowest price point if you just want a small lineup of popular cable channels.

However, most customers will want a larger channel package. Here’s how pricing shakes out for mid-range plans:

Spectrum TV EssentialsDIRECTV Stream Choice
Price$70/month$89.99/month
Channels90+130+

Spectrum TV Essentials includes 20+ more channels than the base package for $45 more per month. Meanwhile, DIRECTV Stream Choice offers about 40 more channels for a $20 step up from the base DIRECTV Entertainment package.

Winner: Spectrum TV offers better savings on popular channels. DIRECTV Stream costs quite a bit more but does have more channels overall.

For those considering alternatives, see how Spectrum TV stacks up against live TV services like FuboTV and Dish TV on factors like price, channels, and features.

Fees & Taxes

An important pricing consideration beyond the base package rates are fees and taxes, which can really add up.

Spectrum TV doesn’t charge regional sports fees or HD fees. However, you may face broadcast TV fees and taxes.

DIRECTV Stream includes most taxes and fees except a $2 regional sports fee for their Choice package or higher. They also offer discounted 1-year contract pricing.

Winner: DIRECTV Stream bundles more fees to simplify billing.

Channel Lineups: Sports, Entertainment & More

When it comes to channel selection for a cable TV replacement, DIRECTV Stream clearly has a stronger overall lineup, especially for sports:

  • 650+ channels on DIRECTV Stream Premiere
  • 16 sports channels on lower packages like Entertainment and Choice
  • Access to pay-per-view sports and events
  • Regional sports networks available based on location
Directv Stream Channels
DIRECTV Stream

Meanwhile, Spectrum TV focuses more on popular cable TV entertainment, news, and lifestyle channels rather than niche sports networks. Local channel availability can also vary significantly by location.

SpectrumDIRECTV Stream
PremiumsHBO, Showtime, STARZ (add-ons)34 premium channels
NewsCNN, Fox News, MSNBC330+ news channels
EntertainmentA&E, Bravo, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV8 movie packages
Local ChannelsABC, CBS, NBC, FOX (select markets)NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC (most markets)
SportsESPN, NFL NetworkNFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass, MLB Extra Innings

However, Spectrum TV Choice also has lower pricing to match the more mainstream entertainment offering. So if you just want those household favorites and local channels, Spectrum is the more affordable option.

Winner: DIRECTV Stream for the extensive sports offerings and premium channels. Spectrum better meets basic cable TV needs.

For access to sports networks like ESPN beyond just local channels, DIRECTV Stream is one way to go. Learn more about getting ESPN on DIRECTV Stream.

For sports fans looking for more in-depth comparisons, see how DIRECTV Stream stacks up against alternatives like FuboTV and Dish TV.

DVR & Device Features

For recording your favorite cable shows and accessing on multiple screens, here is how the DVR and streaming capabilities compare:

Spectrum TV DVR: Offers cloud DVR service starting at $5.99/month for 50 hours of storage. You can record multiple shows simultaneously and fast forward through commercials.

Spectrum Tv Cloud Dvr
Spectrum TV

DIRECTV Stream DVR: Includes 20-hour DVR with their packages, with option to upgrade to unlimited storage for $10/month. Pause, rewind and record two shows at once.

Directv Stream Cloud Dvr
DIRECTV Stream

For streaming, both Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Stream support:

  • Apps for iOS, Android, web, Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku
  • Stream on 3 mobile devices out-of-home, unlimited at home
  • Downloads for offline viewing
  • Voice control with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa

One advantage of DIRECTV Stream is streaming is included on all AT&T wireless plans, saving mobile data.

Winner: For serious TV streamers, DIRECTV Stream offers better DVR features built-in, while Spectrum TV provides the basics.

Availability & Bundles

Since Spectrum TV delivers channels over cable internet, availability is limited:

  • Only available in select areas
  • Requires signup for Spectrum internet plan
  • Top speeds up to 1000 Mbps available

Meanwhile, since DIRECTV Stream delivers live TV streaming over the internet:

  • Available nationwide no matter your location
  • Easily bundles with any AT&T internet plan
  • Most AT&T fiber connections offer speeds up to 1 Gbps

So DIRECTV Stream offers more flexibility if you want fast internet bundles or live in an apartment/condo. However, if fiber internet from AT&T is available in your area, their services bundle very attractively.

Verdict: DIRECTV Stream availability and bundles beat Spectrum TV.

However, some users report issues like DIRECTV Stream freezing that can interrupt viewing experiences.

Final Recommendation

  • Spectrum TV Choice is the winner for cost-conscious streamers who mainly want those popular cable channels and shows without breaking the bank.
  • DIRECTV Stream is the better option for sports fans and households wanting a wider selection of entertainment, news and premium channels. The higher but competitive pricing brings far more overall, especially if you want NBA, NFL, or other sports programming.

Hopefully weighing the Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Stream costs, channels, features and availability for 2024 helps narrow down the right live TV streaming service for replacing cable in your home!

FAQs About Spectrum TV and DIRECTV Stream

Does Spectrum or DIRECTV Stream offer better DVR features?

DIRECTV Stream includes a 20-hour DVR with their packages and lets you upgrade to unlimited storage for $10/month. This provides more robust recording abilities out-of-the-box versus Spectrum’s add-on cloud DVR service.

What sports channels and packages air on DIRECTV Stream vs Spectrum?

DIRECTV Stream shows more national mainstream sports and NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL packages. Spectrum TV focuses more on national entertainment channels and has limited regional sports coverage.

How fast is Spectrum’s internet for bundling services?

Spectrum can bundle internet speeds up to 1000 Mbps, depending on your location and capacity. They leverage high-speed cable internet delivered over coax.

Why choose Spectrum TV Choice plan?

At only $25/month for 20+ channels, Spectrum TV Choice appeals most to streamers wanting those basic cable favorites at competitive pricing, especially to bundle with Spectrum internet.