YouTube TV vs DIRECTV
Last updated: May 24, 2023
Skinny bundles have been launching an all-out attack (figuratively) on traditional cable TV, claiming victory to customers who decide to cut the cord. Among the big names are YouTube TV and DIRECTV, but which one reigns supreme is ultimately up to preference. YouTube TV has an impressive and complete channel lineup, while DIRECTV via Internet is the go-to for sports networks and large bundles. How do you decide which one is right for your live TV palate? Our in-depth comparison of YouTube TV and DIRECTV via Internet will show you the way to your final decision.
YouTube TV and DIRECTV via Internet Side by Side
Not everyone has the time to pore over every detail, so we put together all the numbers you need for both streaming services.
|Detail||YouTube TV||DIRECTV via Internet|
|Base package starting price||$64.99 per month for 3 months||$64.99 per month for 2 years|
|Free trial||Yes (10 days)||No|
|Number of live TV channels||100+||150+|
|Premium channels||Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ||Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and Cinemax|
|On-demand titles||2,000+ (Varies)||40,000+|
|Simultaneous device streams||3||Unlimited (on home network) or 3 (on the go)|
|Cloud DVR storage||Unlimited||Unlimited|
YouTube TV Takes the Lead, but DIRECTV via Internet Dominates Channel Selection
Looking at the number of live TV channels in base packages from YouTube TV and DIRECTV via Internet, the former offers more than the latter. The YouTube TV channel list includes channels with sister networks — Nicktoons and Nickelodeon, Hallmark Drama and Hallmark Channel, BBC and BBC World News — while DIRECTV via Internet base-package channels are typically just the major networks.
When it comes to DIRECTV’s larger packages, it pulls into the lead versus YouTube TV. All these packages, however, cost more than YouTube TV’s base package. You can get more channels with DIRECTV via Internet, but it will raise your monthly rate considerably. For some people, the extra channels may not be worth it.
Both services offer premium channels such as Max and STARZ, but YouTube TV’s base package throws in sports networks such as MLB Network and NFL Network. DIRECTV via Internet, on the other hand, requires you to choose a CHOICE package or higher for regional sports networks (RSNs). Both services offer a Spanish package or add-on, but DIRECTV via Internet also offers Vietnamese, Brazilian, and Korean add-on packages.
If you want more variety to choose from with your base package, YouTube TV wins the race in the channel selection category. If you want more channels than you know what to do with, you’ll want to go with DIRECTV via Internet.
YouTube TV Offers More Value for Live TV and On-Demand Content in the Base Package
One of the main reasons people become cord-cutters is because skinny bundles are more affordable and manageable. Streaming services have increased prices on their plans over the years, though, and YouTube TV and DIRECTV via Internet are no different. YouTube TV pricing is straightforward, since you have only two plans to worry about: Base and Spanish. DIRECTV via Internet’s pricing is a little more complex, since it has multiple tiers and the highest-priced package offers the most content.
YouTube TV offers more channels and includes sports networks in its base package, while DIRECTV has fewer in its initial lineup and no sports networks in its cheapest plan. We think YouTube TV gives you more bang for your buck. YouTube TV’s on-demand content pales in comparison to DIRECTV via Internet, but it still has the opportunity to grow its library with popular titles and YouTube Originals.
YouTube TV also comes with a free trial, while you’ll just have to dive in with DIRECTV via Internet. You can even get a free 20-minute preview of the service. That’s 20 minutes in total, so you can come back on another day for 10 minutes if you’ve only watched it for 10 minutes today.
YouTube TV Offers a More User-Friendly and Minimalist Interface
We checked out usability in both our YouTube TV review and DIRECTV via Internet review. Both services are straightforward in navigation, but YouTube TV goes the extra mile to keep it super simple. You have three tabs: Library, Home, and Live. Library is where your recordings go, and Home is how you browse YouTube TV’s recommendations. All live videos play at the same time without sound, as if you have multiple mini TV screens on one big screen. When you head to the Live tab, you’ll see the channel guide and what’s currently airing.
DIRECTV via Internet doesn’t fall far behind in user-friendliness, but it aligns more with traditional cable TV navigation. It refers to the live TV channel lineup as Guide, which is what you typically see on cable TV. It also has four tabs, one of which is dedicated to its extensive on-demand library. Unlike YouTube TV, DIRECTV via Internet has only one big video player that minimizes in the corner of the web app and won’t disappear even when you click on a different tab. You’ll have to manually close the player so it doesn’t distract you while you’re browsing content.
YouTube TV allows six accounts to use one subscription, but only three device streams can be played simultaneously. DIRECTV via Internet allows unlimited simultaneous device streams on one home network, but only three when you watch on the go. We’ve experienced streaming delays on YouTube TV, and the DIRECTV via Internet interface was sluggish at times. If you want to go the simplest route in terms of usability, YouTube TV is the way.
DIRECTV Via Internet Is the Premium Choice for Sports Fanatics
DIRECTV via Internet doesn’t include any sports networks in its cheapest package, but it does include RSNs in the CHOICE package (and higher packages) that aren’t available on YouTube TV. That means sports fans can watch games in their local area and cheer on their teams without going to the stadium. RSNs are often deal-breakers for people who watch sports religiously, so DIRECTV via Internet is the clear winner in this contest.
The Verdict: YouTube TV vs. DIRECTV via Internet
If you’re looking for the cream of the crop in live TV and on-demand content, DIRECTV via Internet offers plenty and then some. YouTube TV isn’t a bad choice either, especially when affordability is the name of the game. Neither service requires annual contracts, so you can cancel at any time or take advantage of free trials to test them before you commit.
If sports are your bread and butter, DIRECTV via Internet has RSNs to get you in the cheerleading spirit. If you prefer the familiarity of YouTube’s interface, however, you’ll be right at home with YouTube TV. Both YouTube TV and DIRECTV via Internet are top contenders in the highly competitive skinny bundle market. It just comes down to preference when choosing one that suits your live TV palate.