DIRECTV Review

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Meg Cannistra

By Meg Cannistra Contributor

Meg Cannistra is a former senior editor for Reviews.com. She has researched and written about so many subjects that intersect with our daily lives, from smart homes to streaming to the safest cities in America.

DIRECTV Review

DIRECTV offers six TV packages, 330 channels, and no installation or equipment fees for your first two rooms. Like most TV providers, you have to sign a two-year contract, but while some lock in your rate for the entire term, DIRECTV raises your rates after the first year unless you bundle with AT&T’s internet and phone service. So if your budget’s tight, you may want to consider a cheaper option like DISH Network. But if price isn’t a big concern, DIRECTV is the way to go. It consistently outscores DISH Network and most other major cable providers in customer satisfaction surveys.

DIRECTV Packages at a Glance

Package Price Number of Channels Popular Channels
Select $60/mo.* 155+ Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, USA, HGTV, TNT
Entertainment $65/mo.* 160+ ESPN, ESPN2, NBCSN
Choice $70/mo.* 185+ NFL, OWN, Nicktoons
Xtra $80/mo.* 235+ NBC Universo, Oxygen, Golf
Ultimate $85/mo.* 250+ Starz Encore, Boomerang, El Rey Network
Premier $135/mo.* 330+ HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz
*Package availability depends on location, prices may vary

DIRECTV’s Claim

DIRECTV has been rated highest in customer satisfaction above cable TV providers for 18 years running.

Is it true?

Yes. According the 2019 ACSI Telecommunications Report, DIRECTV ranks fourth in customer satisfaction — coming in behind Fios and U-verse. However, because Fios and U-verse use fiber-optic rather than coaxial cables to transmit television into homes, DIRECTV is rated higher than all cable TV providers. Additionally, DIRECTV garners the highest J.D. Power rankings in the South (749) and West (713) regions in customer satisfaction.

There are many reasons DIRECTV consistently ranks high in customer satisfaction. Sports fans will love it for NFL Sunday Ticket, a DIRECTV-exclusive package that gives you access to every live out-of-market game. We also like that it offers 4K programming and lets you stream TV from any device with the DIRECTV app. With such a high rating, DIRECTV is a good bet if you’re looking for a huge channel selection and impressive tech.

The Competition

DIRECTV DISH Network Xfinity Fios
Best for Sports packages Hi-tech equipment Flexible bundling Custom TV packages
States served 50 states 50 states 39 states 9 states
ACSI Customer Satisfaction Rating 66/100 67/100 57/100 68/100
Connection type Satellite Satellite Cable Fiber
Contract options 24 months 24 months No contract 12 months 24 months No contract 12 months 24 months
4K channels 4K compatible
Free installation
Google Play Rating 3.7/5 3.9/5 3.6/5 4.1/5
App Store Rating 4.7/5 4.4/5 3.6/5 4.5/5
How it compares to DIRECTV More cost effective over time, fewer sports channels Cheaper packages, lower customer satisfaction More reliable connection, expensive base plans
View Plans View Plans View Plans View Plans

Product Overview

DIRECTV Pros

✔ Sports fans ✔ Avid TV watchers ✔ 4K channels

DIRECTV Cons

✘ Significant price hike after first year ✘ Potential signal interruptions

Standout DIRECTV Features

DIRECTV app

With 4.7 out of 5 stars in the iTunes store, DIRECTV’s app is one of the best for streaming entertainment on the go. You can watch live TV, shows you’ve recorded on your DVR, and on demand titles anywhere with an internet connection. Forget to DVR your favorite show? Schedule a recording in the app, and it’ll be waiting for you when you get home.

NFL Sunday Ticket

DIRECTV is the exclusive provider of NFL Sunday Ticket, a sports package that gives you access to every live, out-of-market game, every Sunday. The NFL Sunday Ticket 2019 season is free for new customers with the Choice package and above. Existing customers can either pay per month or pay upfront for the entire season.

HD and 4K channels

DIRECTV offers over 200 live HD channels as well as many 4K movies and shows available on demand. 4K Ultra High Definition is the latest revolution in TV, offering the best picture quality currently available. DIRECTV includes HD and 4K programming with all of its packages, but the number of HD channels varies by package. You will need to upgrade to a higher tier to access a larger variety of HD channels. (Note: To access 4K channels, you need a 4K TV.)

72-Hour Rewind

If you miss your favorite show, you don’t have to wait for it to be posted online. With your HD DVR, you can immediately start any program that aired within the last 72 hours on over 60 networks. And, with the Restart feature, you can restart a live show with one click instead of waiting to catch the beginning later.

Advanced equipment

A major perk of going with a satellite TV provider is the high-tech equipment that comes along with it. DIRECTV sends out a professional technician that will provide and set you up with all the necessary equipment including the remote, receiver, and of course, the satellite. Although the satellite can be somewhat of an eyesore, DIRECTV makes up for it through free installation and its cutting-edge DVR. DIRECTV’s Genie HD DVR lets you record up to five shows at once and store up to 200 hours of HD TV and movies. If you have more than one TV in your home, you can start a program on one TV and finish it on a different one. And if you have the DIRECTV app, you can access your recorded programs wherever you are.

Bundle plans

If you’re in the market for a new wireless plan, you can bundle your DIRECTV service with an eligible AT&T Unlimited Plus Enhanced plan. This is a convenient option if you want to keep your utilities on a single bill. Plus, bundling services is easier on the wallet — it can save you up to $15 per month.

Solid customer service

DIRECTV has maintained a steady reputation over the years for having industry-leading customer service. As stated on the company’s website, DIRECTV is enjoying its 18th year running in leading customer satisfaction over every cable provider — an impressive feat in an industry that’s typically lacking in this regard. However, it’s worth noting that DIRECTV did take a slight dip this year in J.D. Power’s Satisfaction Study in Customer Service, falling from a 4/5 last year to a 3/5 in 2019.

Possible drawbacks

Cost

DIRECTV can be more expensive than other TV providers. Like DISH, all of DIRECTV’s offers require a two-year agreement. As you would expect from any lengthy contract, there are some hefty early termination fees attached: $20 per month for each remaining month on the agreement. With early termination fees being fairly standard in the industry, this isn’t the biggest red flag; however, DIRECTV has a steeper price hike than most of the industry. Though pricing for new customers is competitive for the first year, you will see your bill go up in your second year of service. For example, if you choose to go with DIRECTV’s entry-level Select package, your monthly price will double after the first 12 months. And because you’re locked into a two-year contract, you can’t cancel after your first year without paying that early termination fee. It’s also worth noting that you’ll likely see some additional taxes and regional fees on your bill. These fees can exceed $15, especially if you purchased a more expensive package. If cost is a concern, you may want to check out AT&T NOW, the company’s new streaming service that lets you access live and on demand TV with no annual contract.

Service interruptions

All satellite TV service is at risk of interruption during major storms. This doesn’t mean you’re going to lose service every time there’s a little bit of rain, though; DIRECTV advertises 99% signal reliability.

DIRECTV FAQ

The Bottom Line

Though it can be more expensive than other providers, DIRECTV is worth the investment for sports fans and TV buffs, thanks to its huge channel selection, access to out-of-market NFL games, and advanced DVR. Its highly rated app is an added bonus, perfect for watching your favorite shows anywhere.