DIRECTV Reviews: Should You Have It?

Over the years, DIRECTV has always adapted to home-based modern entertainment for the whole family.

With over more than a hundred channels even just from its starter package, countless HD-supported channels plus an HD DVR, all under reasonable prices with no hidden fees, DIRECTV is a couch potato’s haven with no channel that you’d want to miss out on.

If you’re looking for the widest variety in sports and movies, you’ve come to the right place. DIRECTV is outstanding when it comes to its packages of the best sports you’ll ever find as well as housing the biggest bundles for movies.

Starting at just $40 a month for an astonishing 155+ channels, who wouldn’t be attracted to those numbers?

Compared to our reviews on Dish Network, Sling TV, and even DIRECTV Now, DIRECTV offers the most variety of channels and in HD-quality more than anywhere else.

Also, check out our Top 5 Best TV Providers if you want to see an overall view of America’s best television networks.

So is the price worth it for a casual TV viewer like you? We’re here to let you find out.

Let’s check out the packages and their prices first.

Plans & Pricing

155 channels are already a lot for some but for the ultimate TV geek, 330 channels and more will cut it.

All plans are under a 2-year contract but can be changed at anytime if you feel like upgrading to a swankier plan or downgrade it if you’re finding it difficult to keep up with the monthly payment.

When it comes to perks, DIRECTV has you fully-covered with them especially if you’ve subscribed to at least DIRECTV CHOICE.

Each plan has its own preferences for the type of viewers; if you’re a sports freak, you should get CHOICE. If you’re a well-rounded viewer, then XTRA is for you. If movies are what you crave for, then ULTIMATE and PREMIER should be on your mind.

DIRECTV XTRA is their best-seller as it has enough good channels along with HD-quality streams to support all that.

Everything else is honestly great until you get to DIRECTV PREMIER and realize you’re paying too much for something you couldn’t get yourself to control over.

For the average man, all he needs are ESPN, HBO, Discovery or Nat Geo, and probably Travel Channel or Food Network. But are the other plans worth it?

Let’s find out starting with DIRECTV SELECT:

DIRECTV SELECT is the tv provider’s most basic plan. However, unlike most basic plans from other tv service providers, this one offers so much generous stuff, especially for a $35 monthly price.

Truly, the best part of this plan is that all 155+ channels are nowhere near trash.

You get the basic goods like children’s channels (Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, etc), food and travel (Food Network, TLC, etc) and general entertainment (Nat Geo, History, Bravo!, TBS, etc).

For the first 3 months after subscribing to SELECT, you get free HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and Cinemax.

Sports aren’t included in this package yet as you have to buy the 35+ Sports Package separately if you want sports in your SELECT although it’s much better to upgrade to at least the DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT.

But if you’re not into all those athletics at all, this is quite generously a good entry. You still get to keep that Genie DVR too if you want to record up to 5 HD channels at once but we’ll get back to that later on in this article.

Also in this package includes the DIRECTV app so you can watch live TV anywhere with your mobile device.

Now little Temmie can do nail art while watching the latest episode of Sofia the First.

However, if you’re a sports fan, you should consider taking the pricier plans, particularly with DIRECTV CHOICE as a good…well, choice.

If you just want to savor the glory of DIRECTV’s good tv quality without breaking out the big bucks that much, this is not bad at all.

Don’t blame it on the plan if your dad starts to go haywire knowing that his neighbor, Mr. Donklebern, is comfortably sitting on his recliner drinking beer and watching the New York Yankees win the Major League.

The DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT package is just a slight one-up over SELECT for its two biggest add-ons: ESPN and ESPN2.

This right here is a great starter for sports fans who only trust ESPN, which, on a debatable scale, is a channel that some sports fans do not like much due to limited viewing and out-of-reach sports schedules.

But hey, at least it’s a much better deal than SELECT for just 5 additional dollars and 5 more channels.

Yes, HBO, STARZ, and SHOWTIME, with the addition of CINEMAX are also included here for the first 3 months at no extra cost “with SELECT through ULTIMATE packages.”

As usual, you get the same goodies as DIRECTV SELECT: the good choice of channels, HD DVR and the mobile app.

At least this time your dad isn’t going to be jealous of Mr. Donklebern.

What is considered to be daddy’s ideal pick, DIRECTV CHOICE is going to wow a lot of interested users. With over more than 185 channels and a free pass to the NFL SUNDAY TICKET, who wouldn’t want to lay down extra cash for some good bundle of entertainment?

As in the usual case, you still get 3 months of HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and Cinemax.

However, the main dish here is the NFL SUNDAY TICKET for the whole first season.

“What’s that,” you ask? Let us make a quick elaboration:

What is NFL SUNDAY TICKET?

Football fans rejoice as this perk is included from the CHOICE plan and above. Initially, if you want to pay for it separately, you’ll need to pay $293.94 per season.

It’s quite expensive, yes, but pigskin fans think it’s worth every penny. Here are the things you get for acquiring the NFL SUNDAY TICKET:

  • Go beyond the highlighted games by having access to spectate out-of-market Sunday NFL games
  • Watch the match anywhere on your device
  • Ability to watch up to 8 games at the same time with the help of its Game Mix Feature
  • Replay the whole game minus the commercials 30 minutes after the live coverage has ended
  • With the Player Tracker, subscribers can become nosy and track their favorite NFL players. 20 at max.
  • Real-time scores and statistics

However, once the NFL season is over and you still can’t get enough of American football, you’ll need to pay the regular fee on the next.

Is it recommended to buy the next? Only if NFL is your main passion that cannot be replaced with anything else.

Now going back to CHOICE, it truly is a sports fanatic’s ideal choice for the right amount of sports channels without blowing too much budget.

But if you want an EXTRA balance of both entertainment and sports, wait till you see DIRECTV XTRA

What is considered as DIRECTV’s best-selling plan, the DIRECTV XTRA has enough entertainment and sports to keep you satisfied all day and night with its astonishing 235+ channels 24/7.

It surpasses the already-great CHOICE by having 235 channels and more. With additional permanent channels like NBA TV, MLB Network, Sundance TV, and a plethora of entertainment channels, it’s a dream come true for the whole family.

There’s always something to watch for Mommy, Daddy, the teenagers, and the toddlers. That’s what makes this the most popular plan in the group.

Of course, the HD DVR is included here along with the 3-month subscription to HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and Cinemax. 

NFL SUNDAY TICKET is inserted in here as well that is good for one whole season.

If you happen to be a family who loves to watch tv together or even individually in the household, there’s a reason why this is the most popular for large groups.

If you think XTRA was enough, wait till you find out about DIRECTV ULTIMATE.

For $60 you get 250 channels and more. What’s not to love here?

You still get a 3-month subscription of HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and Cinemax at no extra cost. The same thing goes with the NFL SUNDAY TICKET for one full season.

ULTIMATE is more in favor of the movie geek as this has the most access to a wide variety of movie channels such as AMC, The Movie Channel, Encore, and the 3-month subscription of the previously said channels above.

If you’re not the Netflix and chill type of person that thinks there are more quality movies in ULTIMATE than the internet streaming stations, then you should take this into consideration.

Not to mention you get your HD DVR that can record up to 100 hours of HD shows too.

If you’re a movie freak, get this one. Don’t hesitate, don’t get the lower plans, get this one.

And then there’s the DIRECTV PREMIER: the final boss of the tv service provider that has a massive number of 330+ channels. This makes it the most number of channels compared to any other tv service provider.

Its price is a giant leap too: from ULTIMATE’s $60/mo, PREMIER suddenly catapults into $110/mo. Does that make it a YES or a YIKES?

You should ask yourself, “Do I want this? Do I NEED this?”

If TV is life, then by all means, take it. That’s 330 channels, complete from A to Z, covering all types of genres and niches ever known to television.

Will HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and Cinemax still be just a 3-month subscription? Not anymore.

You get to have it all the time as long as your contract still withstands.

And yes, the NFL SUNDAY TICKET (yet only good for one whole season) is still in here too along with the Genie HD DVR with 1 TB storage.

If you’re the TV junkie, this should be worth every penny.

But that is if and only if you have no other means of entertainment but watching television. No internet, no gaming, no outdoor activities, no telling bedtime stories to the kids (okay that was a joke) just television.

This plan has always been up for discussions as some criticize this for being too much for so little time plus the additional activation fees and midyear bill increase too. Oh right, we haven’t discussed that one haven’t we? We’ll talk about it later on in the article.

But first, let’s talk about all the channels provided in each plan.

Other Channels and Availability

Besides the provided channels in each plan, they also have DIRECTV channel packages that are considered to be convenient for subscribers with a cheap plan like Select or Choice but still wants the big deal of HBO or a slew of sports channels.

PREMIER Package

When you purchase the DIRECTV PREMIER plan, you’re getting the most number of movie channels among all of them including 10 HBO channels, 7 STARZ channels, 8 SHOWTIME channels, and 8 Cinemax channels.

Sports Package

If you love more than just football, you might want to consider getting the separate Sports Package which includes 35 exclusive sports channels, and optional access to NFL SUNDAY TICKET MAX.

Also included here are NBA LEAGUE PASS, MLB EXTRA INNINGS, FOX SOCCER PLUS, and NHL Center Ice.

Local Channels

If you want to spend your time watching the weather report or sappy low-budget buy & sell car commercials, of course, DIRECTV has you covered. But what they can’t guarantee is your cover of every available local channel.

If you need to know if the channels are available in your area, consider checking out their coverage availability.

Now that we’ve covered the channel highlights, let’s move on to the equipment.

Equipment

Every plan gets three major features: the Genie DVR, the DIRECTV app, and the Restart/72-Hour Rewind.

Genie DVR

If there’s an example of a DVR done right, it’s certainly the Genie. A lot of provided DVRs tend to be either laggy or clunky to use that you’d wish Tivo was back since it’s better.

But for DIRECTV, they’ve brought justice for the DVR. This is a major perk for any plan as this makes it a major selling point too for any potential DIRECTV subscriber.

If you’re asking what the upfront price and monthly fee of the Genie DVR are, it’s $49 for the 5th and 6th receiver with a monthly fee of $7/mo for each additional receiver.

As for the storage, you’re getting 1 TB no matter what plan you pick. That’s approximately 100 to 200 hours of HD shows and 800 to 900 hours of SD flicks.

It responds very quickly too and shows no delay of action at all once you hit record. Yes, it’s the little things that make this great too since every second of recording your favorite show counts.

Now there’s no need for you to panic at all if you need to watch the next episode of Game of Thrones but you’re scheduled for a hot date on that day.

This also comes free for any household with a DIRECTV subscription. Simply put it, you’ll be able to watch any channel with whatever supporting device you have.

No more of that family conflict where each member’s own favorite show airs at exactly 7 pm and everyone has to fight for the remote.

This comes quite handy if you were looking forward to watching the latest Family Feud to laugh at Steve Harvey’s reactions but you were so caught up on your phone, laughing at a meme that your friend retweeted about a face-swapped Steve Harvey face on a Mr. Potato Head body, you suddenly remember to watch tv and missed halfway through Family Feud.

Luckily, DIRECTV has a provided Restart mode that stores memory of the channel’s schedule within 72 hours. It’s reliable and that’s what makes DIRECTV worth it for anyone that frequently miss out those crucial minutes of their favorite show.

Customer Service

Apparently, DIRECTV’s customer care is as good as their network quality which is something very rare these days.

Representatives are very informative, tech support will help you out any way they can and will even send someone to your home if the self-remedy doesn’t work, and they respond calls very quickly.

Not bad at all. In fact, it’s much better than Spectrum or Xfinity, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Is DIRECTV Good?

Despite all the mishaps, is DIRECTV still good? Of course it is.

Wait, did we just say mishaps? Yes, you may think DIRECTV is the perfect tv service but there is a dark side to all these great plans. We need to have a real talk about the “other” side of DIRECTV.

Yes, the prices look good and all but if there’s anything they never told you about those are the price hikes within the 2-year contract and activation fees. Yes, the damn activation fees that cost $19.99.

It’s natural for providers to do a sudden price hike halfway through the contract usually at the end of the first year. Depending on your plan, the price hike can go as much as double.

As for the 3-month subscription to HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and Cinemax, you must absolutely have to call your rep in advance to disconnect the subscription before the subscription ends.

Failing to do so will add $53.99 to your bill as long as you haven’t said a word about unsubscribing to the 3-month freebie.

There is also another downside to all DIRECTV plans: as of the start of 2018, a lot of people have been complaining about the overall user interface for the DVR.

The icons and shapes are very big but the texts are too small to read unless you have 20/20 vision. Nobody really likes the new format and DIRECTV hasn’t addressed this issue yet.

But despite all these extra payments, at least DIRECTV is tax-inclusive. Not to mention it still is one of the best tv service providers in the country with selections you wouldn’t be taking your off of.

No other cable can compare to how much it offers to TV fans of all shapes and sizes from all walks of life.

We believe DIRECTV is going to handle the small font issue soon and if you don’t mind the 2-year contract and the one-time activation fee, then you’re good to go with this one.

We highly recommend trying any of the plans but if you were to ask us which is the most all-around plan, it has to be DIRECTV EXTRA.

PROS

  • Outstanding starter plan with a good number of channels especially for its price
  • Each plan caters to a more specific type of viewer
  • Has the strongest reception among all tv providers
  • Includes a Genie HD DVR with 1 TB per plan
  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET good for one season for CHOICE subscribers and up
  • Tax-inclusive prices

CONS

  • Activation fees
  • Mid-year price hike
  • Questionable tv menu format

FAQs

Does DIRECTV SELECT have any sports channel?

Unfortunately, it does not. SELECT serves as a starter pack for DIRECTV’s quality network.

You can have access to ESPN and ESPN2 starting with DIRECTV ENTERTAINMENT, however.

But if you want the best plan with enough sports channel, it’s DIRECTV CHOICE.

If you need to add more sports channels, you can ask for their optional sports package that includes 35 different sports channels plus an all-access pass to your favorite sports.

Do all the plans support HD channels?

Yes they do from DIRECTV SELECT up to PREMIER.

You may still opt for SD versions with just a few clicks of a remote control.

Does every plan have an HD DVR?

Indeed, every plan does. The Genie HD DVR has 1 TB of storage which is enough for 100 hours of recorded HD shows.

Is DIRECTV available nationwide?

DIRECTV has the widest coverage in America so yes, it is very available throughout the country.

However, you will need to check the availability of the Genie DVR and local channels based on where you live.

Sources

 

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Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill is the founder and editorial in chief at Daily Wireless. He has spent more than 2 decades blogging about all forms of wireless communications.

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Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill is the founder and editorial in chief at Daily Wireless. He has spent more than 2 decades blogging about all forms of wireless communications.

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