Live TV streaming services allow you to watch your favorite shows and sports for less than you’d pay for cable.

However, the streaming space is crowded, and choosing the best cable replacement can be challenging. 

We compared DIRECTV STREAM vs. YouTubeTV to help you decide which platform is right for you.

YouTube TV vs. DIRECTV STREAM: How Do They Compare?

Both alternatives to cable TV offer similar features. For example, they let you watch local channels without cable. 

Each service has 4K content, live TV, a live guide, and a long list of compatible devices. They also let you watch live sports without cable.

But, the available channels, plans and pricing, and cloud DVR features are different.

Choosing the best streaming service requires cord-cutters to analyze the details. We spent hours testing and comparing each service to help you pick the best option for your needs.


Cost and content are two of the most important factors when choosing between video streaming services.

YouTube TV is simple. It has just one plan and one monthly price.

That plan includes an unlimited cloud DVR, more than 85 channels, and three simultaneous screens for $64.99 a month.

DIRECTV STREAM has four plans, all at different price points.

Entertainment, the base plan, is the cheapest option. At $69.99 a month, its channel lineup includes 65+ stations. 

The Choice plan, which costs $79.99 per month, is closest to YouTube TV. There are more than 90 networks in its list of channels. But, it’s more expensive than YouTube TV.

The remaining two plans, Ultimate and Premier, cost $104.99 and $149.99 per month, respectively.

They offer more channels, including some premium ones. The Premier plan, for instance, includes all the HBO Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ channels.

All DIRECTV STREAM packages include unlimited cloud DVR storage for new subscribers. However, recordings are automatically deleted after 90 days.

When you compare the price of each service, there’s no contest. YouTube TV offers the best mix of channels and features for a better monthly price.

DIRECTV STREAM is just too expensive for most people.

Price winner: YouTube TV

Free Trial

DIRECTV STREAM offers a five-day free trial. YouTube TV provides a free trial occasionally, though it varies.

Additionally, it does extend deals from time to time, such as getting your first month for $14.99.

Free trial winner: DIRECTV STREAM

Channel Lineup

After price, nothing is more important than content when you cut the cord. Comparing the DIRECTV STREAM vs. YouTube TV channel lineup is critical.

While both services include all your local networks and a fair selection of on-demand content, there are major differences.

YouTube TV’s channel lineup offers about 90 channels, including 32 of the top 35 cable networks.

On the other hand,  DIRECTV STREAM’s channel lineup includes 34 of the top 35 cable channels in its Entertainment package. Below is the base package channel lineup.

Read our DIRECTV STREAM review for a full breakdown of the available channels.

The Choice plan includes all the channels in the Entertainment package plus regional sports networks (RSNs). Those channels are critical for some sports fans.

YouTube TV is missing A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime, and Univision. DIRECTV STREAM’S Entertainment plan lacks the Travel Channel.

Unless you need RSNs, YouTube TV offers the most well-rounded channel lineup for the best price. While DIRECTV STREAM may have more channels, you’ll pay for them.

Channel lineup winner: YouTube TV

What Sports Channels Does DIRECTV STREAM and YouTube TV Carry?

Sports channels are a big reason why people stay with cable and satellite tv providers. Thankfully, you no longer need a cable package to watch your favorite teams.

Professional sports fans will love that YouTube TV includes MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, and Turner channels. Plus, it offers all of the ESPN networks along with your locals.

DIRECTV STREAM is pricier, but it offers a competitive lineup of sports channels. 

Here are the sports channels you’ll receive in each package:

Entertainment: ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, and Motor Trend

Choice: ACCN, BTN, ESPNU, ESPNews, MLB Network, NBA TV, SECN, and Tennis Channel

Ultimate & Premier: CBSN, FS2, Golf Channel, NHL Network, and Olympic Channel

Keep in mind that when you choose one of the higher-priced plans, you get all the channels in the lower-priced packages as well.

Sports channels winner: YouTube TV


While YouTube TV and other platforms like fuboTV offer some regional sports networks (RSNs), DIRECTV STREAM has more of them.

RSNs with the Choice package and above include:

  • Altitude
  • AT&T SportsNet
  • Fox Sports RSNs
  • NBC Sports RSNs
  • MSG
  • NESN
  • Spectrum SportsNet

If catching all of your local team’s games requires an RSN and that’s important to you, DIRECTV STREAM is your best bet. Otherwise, go with YouTube TV.


Do YouTube TV and DIRECTV STREAM Carry Local Networks?

Being able to watch local affiliates is important to many cord-cutters.

You’ll get access to your local ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and the CW networks with both streaming services.

Local channels winner: Tie

*Feeling overwhelmed about which streaming service is best for you? Take our free quiz and find out in 30 seconds!

Premium Channels and Add-ons

YouTube TV is simple. It has only one plan and one price. It keeps add-ons simple as well by only offering two.

The YouTube TV 4K Plus upgrade costs $9.99 per month for the first year and $19.99 per month after that.

Subscribers receive 4K content, unlimited screens at home, and the ability to watch DVR recordings offline.

However, we think the price tag is steep for the content and features offered.

They also offer the Sports Plus add-on. It costs $10.99 per month and includes roughly 15 channels. NFL Redzone is the package’s main draw.

DIRECTV STREAM is different. With this service, you can add a Movies Extra Pack, Latino channels, and International TV packages with Brazilian, Korean, and Vietnamese channels.

If having access to international language channels is important to you, DIRECTV STREAM is your best bet.

Premium channels and add-ons winner: DIRECTV STREAM

Who Has the Better Cloud DVR Between DIRECTV STREAM and YouTube TV?

A DVR keeps many people unwittingly locked in cable contracts. Thankfully, both live TV streaming services include an unlimited cloud DVR in their plans.

Fast-forwarding through commercials on recordings is a big plus for both services’ DVRs.

YouTube TV’s DVR is a bit better since recordings can be kept for nine months.

DIRECTV STREAM DVR recordings expire after 90 days. Plus, its unlimited DVR is available for new subscribers only.

So, if you’re transferring from DIRECTV, you won’t be eligible. That seems unfair to us.

Also, we’d like to see them increase the length of time you can store recordings.

Cloud DVR winner: YouTube TV

What are the Supported Devices?

The list of streaming media players that you can use to watch both the YouTube TV app and DIRECTV STREAM app is quite long.

Both streaming services are available everywhere. You can stream either cable alternative on Amazon Fire TV devices, Roku devices, Chromecast, Tivo Stream, and more.

You can also watch on smart TVs, iOS and Android devices, tablets, smartphones, and gaming consoles.

DIRECTV STREAM even offers its own streaming device. 

For an additional $5 per month per device, you can purchase DIRECTV STREAM’s streaming device and remote.

However, it requires a 24-month plan. Furthermore, if you cancel before that time period is up, you have to pay the entire device balance.

Since DIRECTV STREAM’s streaming device is cable-like and confusing, we give the edge for this comparison to YouTube TV.

Supported devices winner: YouTube TV

Which Service Has More On-Demand Content?

While both services have thousands of on-demand shows and movies, DIRECTV STREAM has more.

The Entertainment plan has 40,000+ on-demand titles. Choice has 45,000+, Ultimate offers 55,000+, and Premier advertises 65,000+ titles you can stream anytime.

By contrast, YouTube TV has far less. This might be because many on-demand titles are made available by networks.

Streaming providers are often limited to titles that networks make available along with their own original content.

YouTube TV has fewer channels than DIRECTV STREAM’s more expensive plans, which may partially explain why it has fewer on-demand titles.

On-demand content winner: DIRECTV STREAM

How Many Simultaneous Streams Do the Services Offer?

YouTube TV includes simultaneous streaming on three screens in its plan.

DIRECTV STREAM lets you stream on up to 20 devices at once. However, when you’re away from your home network, you are limited to streaming on up to three screens at a time.

Simultaneous streams winner: DIRECTV STREAM

How Many User Profiles Can You Create?

The ability to create multiple user profiles is a fixture of the streaming space. Most services offer it.

YouTube TV lets you create six user profiles. This is nice because you can personalize your viewing and recording experience.

Unfortunately, DIRECTV STREAM does not allow you to create user profiles.

The clear winner here is YouTube TV.

User profiles winner: YouTube TV

Which Service Has Parental Controls?

Both services offer parental controls, which is nice for families.

Each platform lets you block content and create settings for what kind of content is streamable.

However, since DIRECTV STREAM does not allow you to create separate user profiles, parental controls apply across the board.

With YouTube TV, you can create different permissions for different profiles. This is a clear advantage.

Parental controls winner: YouTube TV

Which Service Offers 4K Capability?

Neither service is great when it comes to 4K content. There’s not a lot of 4K content available to stream.

YouTube TV offers an extremely small number of titles from just seven networks, including Discovery, ESPN, Fox Sports, FX, Nat Geo, NBC Sports, and Tastemade.

Additionally, you have to pay $9.99 per month extra for the first 12 months (and $19.99 extra after that) to get it.

Read our review of YouTube TV to learn more about this feature.

If you purchase a DIRECTV streaming device for an extra fee, it will support streaming 4K content when available.

Still, at least as of now, DIRECTV STREAM does not offer any 4K content aside from what’s available through the proprietary device.

If 4K content is important to you, fuboTV is worth considering. With 130+ 4K sporting events and other content, fubo is currently the best option for streaming 4K content.

4K content winner: Tie

What are DIRECTV STREAM and YouTube TV’s Internet Speed Requirements?

Insufficient internet speeds can lead to a frustrating streaming experience. But, with proper speed, you can avoid pixelation and buffering.

YouTube TV recommends the following internet speed requirements:

DIRECTV STREAM suggests the following:

Like all internet TV providers, the speeds listed are per stream and should be multiplied by the number of streams running at once.

Read our guide on the minimum internet speed requirements for streaming services to learn more.

Internet speed requirement winner: DIRECTV STREAM

Is DIRECTV STREAM Better than YouTube TV?

If cost is your most important consideration, YouTube TV is the better choice.

However, if you’re an avid sports fan whose team’s games are aired on RSNs, DIRECTV STREAM’s Choice plan is better.

While both services offer a fantastic selection of pro and college sports networks, YouTube TV gives you what you need for a lower price (unless you need RSNs).

Better yet, YouTube TV’s plan and setup are simple. All features other than 4K content are included with the one monthly price.

Even though both have parental controls, the ability to set them by user profile is something only YouTube TV can offer.

DIRECTV STREAM has more on-demand content, but again, it comes at a higher price tag. At the end of the day, it feels too much like cable.

Overall, for its channel selection, price, features, and ease of use, we give the nod to YouTube TV.

Overall winner: YouTube TV

Other Cable Alternatives

The streaming space is filled with excellent options. Other platforms worth considering are listed below.

You can try any of these services to find the best option for your viewing needs.

Bottom Line

In the DIRECTV STREAM vs. YouTube TV battle, YouTube TV is our top choice. Its channels and valuable features like account profiles and the ability to record unlimited content are attractive.

YouTube TV’s solid sports offering and selection of top entertainment, lifestyle, and news cable networks make it an excellent option for anyone who wants to cut the cord.

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