With its best-in-class selection of regional sports networks, DIRECTV STREAM is a must-have for local MLB, NHL, and NBA fans who want to watch their favorite team’s regular seasons live without cable.
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DIRECTV STREAM is a popular live TV streaming service. Although DIRECTV remains the satellite service, DIRECTV STREAM has replaced the former “AT&T TV, AT&T TV NOW, and DIRECTV NOW” products.
Users who sign up for a monthly subscription can stream content from DIRECTV STREAM from a host of different devices, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, Android, and Samsung Smart TVs, to name just a few.
DIRECTV STREAM Pros
DIRECTV STREAM Cons
- Regional sports networks require an upgrade to the more expensive “Choice” package
- Premium college sports channels, like Big Ten Network, also require an upgrade to “Choice”
- Uninspired user interface
- Lacks 4K streaming
Our experience with DIRECTV STREAM
As part of compiling this review, we signed up for DIRECTV STREAM’s Entertainment Package, which is the base option starting at $69.99 per month.
This out of the box package comes with “unlimited” Cloud DVR storage and a nice selection of 65 channels, including FS1, HGTV, most cable news providers, ESPN, and more. The DIRECTV STREAM unlimited DVR feature caps episode storage at 30 episodes, but nothing should prevent sports fans from recording a team’s entire season. For a more critical review of DIRECTV STREAM’s upgraded DVR, see this post.
The Entertainment package also comes with over 40,000 on-demand titles, which makes DIRECTV STREAM a formidable “hybrid” option which combines live TV streaming and on-demand Amazon Prime style content.
The sign-up and setup process
The DIRECTV STREAM sign up process is elegant and simple, which is especially important for sports fans looking to get a game on in a hurry. I initially signed up from my iMac in my home office.
Customizing settings flow through the “Account settings” tab. This is where you would go to cancel, or upgrade a subscription, and order a streaming device from DIRECTV STREAM, which are sold for $120.
Streaming DIRECTV STREAM on the Web
The DIRECTV STREAM default interface is straightforward and easier to use than the mobile app.
Content is accessible from Watch Now, On Demand, and Guide tabs, and users have the choice of creating a library of saved content.
The DIRECTV STREAM Mobile App
One of the first features I wanted to explore first was the DIRECTV STREAM mobile app. The app was easy to access and use, and is available on iOS and Android phones. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of both college and NBA basketball I had access to, even with the basic package. However, keep in mind that for access to the DIRECTV STREAM lineup of regional sports networks, an upgrade to the “Choice” plan is required.
Navigating the various options for TV viewing was easy, and I am a fan of the DIRECTV STREAM scrollable TV guide, which allows you to access the entire upcoming schedule with a left or right swipe. You can scroll through content options for later in the day, or upcoming week, add favorite shows to a personalized queue, and record shows you might miss to the cloud. This is very convenient for the holiday season if you wanted to create a playlist of Thanksgiving or Christmas movies.
Users can select streaming quality
On mobile devices, DIRECTV STREAM users can select streaming quality preferences. The options are:
Our DIRECTV STREAM favorite channels
Immediately upon using DIRECTV STREAM for the first time, I was glad to have access to FS1 on my mobile device. It was easy for me to “check in” on a number of NCAAB games, including the Michigan State vs. Butler, and Ohio State vs. Xavier games, without sitting down to watch a full game. When you have a small baby at home like I do, having the ability to access live “bite-sized” pieces of my favorite game is much better than ESPN Gamecast for example.
My favorite DIRECTV STREAM channels were:
- FS1 – for watching Big Ten sports
- Free Form – for watching Family Guy
- History Channel HD – for watching Ancient Aliens
- ESPN HD – for watching comprehensive sports programming
Other noteworthy channels available with the basic DIRECTV STREAM Entertainment channels:
- AMC HD
- BBC America
- Comedy Central
- Food Network
- Fox News
- Motor Trend
- TV Land
Direct TV Stream for sports fans
The real star of the show for DIRECTV STREAM is the access in market subscribers get to regional sports networks, or “RSNs.” These channels are best for watching NBA, NHL, and MLB. If you live in a market that is serviced by a Bally Sports RSN, DIRECTV STREAM “Choice” is the only current live streaming option.
For example, as a kid growing up, we would watch the Red Wings on Fox Sports Detroit, a local Detroit RSN. Fox Sports Detroit is now Bally Sports Detroit, and you need cable, or a streaming provider who carries RSNs to watch those games. The drawback here is for out of market fans. When you sign up for DIRECTV STREAM, you will gain access to RSNs, but your access will depend on your zip code, you won’t get all RSNs as part of a DIRECTV STREAM package.
Note that DIRECTV STREAM doesn’t carry NFL network for any of its packages. This isn’t a demerit in my mind because football fans can’t watch entire games on the NFL Network. It’s more important for most sports fans to know they can watch their favorite team in actual games, and for fans in the same market as their teams, DIRECTV STREAM offers all the local affiliates you need to watch your team every week.
DIRECTV STREAM Sports Channel list
|DIRECTV STREAM – Choice
|DIRECTV STREAM – Ultimate
|ACC Network Extra
|Big 10 Network
|CBS Sports Network
|ESPN College Extra
|Fox Soccer Plus
|MAVTV Motorsports Network
|AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
|AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
|AT&T SportsNet Southwest
|Bally Sports Arizona
|Bally Sports Carolinas
|Bally Sports Detroit
|Bally Sports Florida
|Bally Sports Great Lakes
|Bally Sports Indiana
|Bally Sports Kansas City
|Bally Sports Midwest
|Bally Sports New Orleans
|Bally Sports North
|Bally Sports Ohio
|Bally Sports Oklahoma
|Bally Sports San Diego
|Bally Sports SoCal
|Bally Sports South
|Bally Sports Southeast
|Bally Sports Southwest
|Bally Sports Sun
|Bally Sports Tennessee
|Bally Sports West
|Bally Sports Wisconsin
|Marquee Sports Network
|NBC Sports Bay Area
|NBC Sports Boston
|NBC Sports California
|NBC Sports Chicago
|NBC Sports Northwest
|NBC Sports Philadelphia
|NBC Sports Philadelphia+
|NBC Sports Washington
|NBC Sports Washington+
|Next Level Sports
|Root Sports Northwest
|Spectrum SportsNet LA
|Some ESPN programming
$74.99 / month
$99.99 / month
$109.99 / month
DIRECTV STREAM features
Lookback and Restart
With the DIRECTV STREAM Lookback feature, users can watch programs that aired up to 3 days ago.
Restart allows users to play a live TV program from the beginning when you missed the beginning of a show.
DIRECTV STREAM Parental controls
Kudos to DIRECTV STREAM for making parental controls easy and intuitive to manage. As a new parent, I particularly appreciate this feature, and for some families, the ease of setting up parental controls, even for live TV, maybe the reason they stick with this platform over others. For example, it’s very easy for parents to block kids from watching all movies that have a rating above PG-13. Or if you have little kids at home, only allow movies with a G rating.
How many devices can I use with my DIRECTV STREAM account?
Up to 20 devices can access Direct TV Stream content from the same home network. We learned the hard way that those streaming from a web browser can’t use multiple tabs to watch different programming. Only one tab can stream DIRECTV STREAM at a time.
Does DIRECTV STREAM offer 4K streaming quality?
No, 4K picture quality is not currently available through Direct TV Stream, however, users can access many channels in 1080p HD.
Do I have to watch ads on DIRECTV STREAM?
Yes, you will have to see some ads when watching DirectTV content. When you use DVR to save shows to the cloud, you can skip through the ads.