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Last updated: November 14, 2023

Starts at $72.99/mo
Starts at $69.99/mo

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 via the Internet, 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 $69.99 per month for 24 months
Free trial Yes (10 days) 5 days
Number of live TV channels 100+ 150+
Premium channels Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and MGM+
Local channels Yes Yes
On-demand titles 2,000+ (Varies) 90,000+
Simultaneous device streams 3 Unlimited (on home network) or 3 (on the go)
User profiles Yes No
Kids’ profile No No
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.

YouTube TV home page on the web app
YouTube TV home page as seen on the web app.
YouTube Live TV page on the web app
YouTube Live TV page as seen on the web app.

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.

DIRECTV via Internet library on the web app
DIRECTV via Internet library as seen on the web app.
DIRECTV channel guide menu on the web app
DIRECTV via Internet channel guide menu on the web app.

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.

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.

4 thoughts on “YouTube TV vs. DIRECTV via Internet: Which Should Cord-Cutters Choose?

  1. Jeff Alan Wolf says:

    Way to go out on a limb picking a winner. Lol

    Of course you need to change your results since YouTube now has The NFL Ticket.
    The only reason most of stayed with direc tv was football. Now that it is gone there is zero reason to stay a direc tv customer.

  2. Mallory Walker says:

    YouTube TV has its greatest problems with PBS. I have my selected station set to Maryland Public Broadcasting but often watch it at homes in Idaho and Montana. Sporatically it will not allow me to view The Evening News Hour in Idaho and Montana.

  3. John Falcone says:

    Presently my Directv has 1080 resolution does You tube have 720 or 1080

  4. Paul A Wagner says:

    Do you have a side by side listing of the channels offered by both? I may have 200 on my DTV but, probably only watch 25.
    What are the basic channels for both? I haven’t seen a $64 bill from DTV EVER!

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