Each year, more people cut ties to their cable provider in search of a better deal. With that in mind, we’re going to take a closer look at two of those services in our DirecTV Stream (AT&T TV) vs. YouTube TV comparison.
Both have comparable offerings with similar price points, but there’s a big difference between these services once you get past the initial channel lineup.
Which one comes out on top? That all comes down to your budget, and what you’re looking for out of a streaming TV provider.
Let’s break down the two to give you the full picture.
DirecTV Stream (AT&T TV) vs. YouTube TV: Side-by-Side Comparison
|DirecTV Stream||YouTube TV|
|Launched||March 2, 2020||April 24, 2017|
|Channels||70 – 150+||100+|
|Pricing||$74 – $154 per month||$64.99|
DirecTV Stream (AT&T TV) vs. YouTube TV: What’s the Difference?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most people have heard of and probably used YouTube. The popular service has rolled out plenty of additional features over years, and while many have never tried YouTube TV, it’s been around since 2017. While the streaming service started off small, they’ve grown considerably over the years and now have exclusives like the NFL Sunday Ticket.
AT&T TV, or DirecTV Stream, hasn’t been around quite as long in its current format. The service has undergone numerous transformations over the years but is currently known as AT&T TV. It provides a more traditional approach to cable companies when compared to YouTube TV, although both companies have similar channel lineups for their basic package.
The type of service you get when you sign up for DirecTV Stream or YouTube TV will vary by your zip code to a degree. It can have an impact on what sports are shown in your region as well, regardless of the package you choose from these streaming services.
This is also an area where the companies differ in their approach. YouTube TV has one basic plan that provides more than 100 live channels for one price. With AT&T TV, you can also buy an entry-level package, but you won’t get quite as many channels.
Familiar networks on both platforms include Discovery Channel, FX, Disney, MTV, Hallmark, National Geographic, and Nickelodeon. You can watch the news from both sides of the aisle through Fox and CNN or get your sports fix through ESPN and ESPN 2. There’s something for everyone, but some channels are missing from the services once you dig a bit deeper.
If you want to watch ESPN U on AT&T TV, you’ll need to upgrade to a better package. The same goes for FXM, NBA TV, and Nick Jr. Alternatively, you’ll find History Channel, HGTV, and Lifetime missing from YouTube TV’s lineup. The table below gives you a rough idea of what to expect from the most affordable plan each company offers.
|DirecTV Stream (Basic Plan)||YouTube TV (Basic Plan)|
You can check to see which channels are provided in your area from YouTube TV, but with DirecTV Stream, you’ll need to choose a plan. The table outlines its most basic offerings that come in the “Entertainment” package. The Choice plan brings the channel count to more than 100, while the Ultimate package adds another 40 or so channels.
You’ll get a little more access with each tier but won’t get any premium channels like HBO or Starz without the Premium package. It includes HBO Max, Cinemax, Showtime, and STARZ along with all the channels from the previous plans.
As more people move away from traditional cable companies, we’ve seen premium channels like HBO and Cinemax launch their own streaming services. While that’s great if you’re a fan of a channel’s original programming, it can make matters even more complicated when you’re trying to cut the cord from a company like Xfinity, Cox, or Spectrum.
YouTube has more than 40 premium channels you can add to any YouTube TV subscription. Some of the more popular options include Showtime, STARZ, HBO Max, AMC+, Shudder, and MLB TV. There are also “add-on” plans that bundle several channels into one package. The Sports Plus add-on is one example and includes content from Fox Soccer Plus, Billiard TV, NFL Redzone, and VSiN.
There is also a 4K Plus add-on from YouTube which has received a lukewarm response. That’s due to the price and the fact many streaming services don’t charge for 4K content –- Netflix excluded. As for DirecTV Stream, things are more straightforward. The same premium channels are available as an add-on through the account overview section of your account.
There aren’t many flagship features with streaming services, but DVR certainly counts as one. Both YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream provide users with unlimited cloud DVR storage. You’ll also have the ability to stream on unlimited devices within your home. YouTube TV gives allows you to share the service with up to 6 accounts in your household but you can only stream on three devices at once.
While you can find content in Spanish through standard YouTube TV, they have a Spanish plan that’s half the price of their basic package. It comes with the same number of household accounts and unlimited DVR space, along with more than 28 Spanish networks. DirecTV Stream has the ÓPTIMO MÁS package, which includes more than 55 channels in Spanish and 40 in English.
Both services allow you to stream content through smartphones, smart TVs, and a variety of other ways. DirecTV offers something extra, however. They have a DIRECTV STREAM Device, which is a small cable box with a voice-enabled remote control. The device brings 4K to the mix through services like Netflix and gives you access to the Google Play store as well.
YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream may have comparable channel lineups and add-on stations, but there is a price difference between the services. While both companies offer discounts and deals throughout the year, you might be surprised at the cost compared to a basic cable plan.
YouTube TV’s base plan is priced at $64.99 a month and the Spanish package is $34.99. The price of add-ons varies, but you can check out the service during a trial beforehand. The cheapest package from DirecTV Stream AT&T TV is $74.99 a month while the next step up is $99.99. Their lowest premium package is the Ultimate plan with Stars at $109, and the decked-out Premier plan is priced at $154.99.
DirecTV’s Spanish plan is $74.99, and they also have a free trial to check out. The prices with both services are subject to change throughout the year and are given before taxes, which can be pricey in some states.
DirecTV Stream vs. YouTube TV: 4 Must-Know Facts
- AT&T NOW, WatchTV, and U-Verse are some of the options AT&T has offered over the years.
- YouTube TV dropped the MLB Network in 2023 when they failed to reach a new agreement.
- AT&T Watch TV was a skinny streaming bundle launched in 2018.
- YouTube TV replaced DirecTV as the exclusive streamer for the NFL Sunday Ticket in 2023.
DirecTV Stream (AT&T TV) vs. YouTube TV: Which One is Better?
YouTube TV and DirecTV Stream have more in common than other live TV services from their channel lineups to pricing. There are some key differences between the two, especially if you have a large family or love sports.
YouTube TV has a better selection of sports through their basic plan, and we love the fact they have user profiles. This allows various family members to watch what they like without affecting your streams. Unfortunately, you can only stream to three devices simultaneously with YouTube TV whereas you can stream on unlimited devices from your home network with DirecTV Stream.
Pricing is close with both companies’ basic plans which come with unlimited DVR. The add-ons are also comparable, but you’re getting more channels with YouTube TV at the entry level. Add-ons could bring the price closer to AT&T TV’s Ultimate and Premier plans, but we feel YouTube TV is the best choice overall for most consumers.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©PixieMe/Shutterstock.com.