Spectrum TV vs. DIRECTV — Which Reigns Superior?

Although there are many TV services today, and the competition among them is fierce, it’s not that challenging to declare a winner here. Whether you’re a complete newbie on the subject or not, just one glance at the features will tell you which one is the true winner.

The clear champion in this battle of TV services is DIRECTV. As you will see in the comparison, Spectrum TV comes close to DIRECTV in some aspects. However, when you take everything into account, it doesn’t really stand a chance.

You can still collect valuable information from a one-on-one comparison, though. Further details can point you in the right direction so that you know exactly what to look for in a network. Besides, if you’re indeed looking for a new provider, and you’re trying to decide between Spectrum TV or DIRECTV, you’ll be able to finalize your decision.

The feature that will definitely tip the scales in favor of DIRECTV is the DVR. DIRECTV’s DVR is worlds away from Spectrum TV’s. To put it bluntly, it easily outshines it.

Basic Difference

To begin with, you should find out more about the basic features. The first thing that most people who’re looking for a new provider ask about is the pricing.

At first glance, DIRECTV seems quite affordable — you can get the Select All-Included package at a reasonable price of $49.99 every month. On the other hand, if you want the most luxurious package DIRECTV offers, your bank account will be $124.99 lighter each month. Considering that you’ll be able to enjoy over 330 channels, that doesn’t sound like a bad deal.

However, there’s a reason people steer clear of DIRECTV — the prices that were just mentioned are not permanent. Pay attention to the fine print when you’re signing the contract; your bill will increase after the first year. To enjoy DIRECTV in the comfort of your home, you will have to sign a two-year contract. Therefore, there’s no way to avoid higher bills.

Interestingly enough, Spectrum TV’s most basic offer is not so different from DIRECTV’s. Even though the provider offers around 200 channels in total, the most affordable package is $44.99 for 125+ channels.

Unlike with DIRECTV, you won’t be obliged to pay more after 12 months of service — you don’t have to put your signature on that contract. However, Spectrum TV’s prices also increase after the first year.

Keep in mind that prices and contract conditions may differ depending on your location. For that reason, make sure to contact your local provider before making a decision. Perhaps you’ll be able to enjoy the perks of a great promotion if you contact the company of your choosing at the right moment.

Spectrum TV vs. DIRECTV

Now, let’s put the packages under the magnifying glass so that you can get a clearer picture of what to expect from the two providers.

Spectrum TV

You’ll get to choose from three different packages at Spectrum TV:

  • TV Select — $44.99 a month
  • TV Silver — $84.99 a month
  • TV Gold — $104.99 a month

As you can see, the choice is not what you’d call extensive. But, if you don’t like to be bound by a contract, perhaps you’ll like Spectrum TV.

You can stay with the company for as long as you like, no contract needed. However, the fact that you don’t have to sign it might be the reason the package prices are a bit high.

If you decide to go with the most prestigious option that Spectrum TV has to offer — TV Gold — you will be able to enjoy more than 200 channels. The next best option is TV Silver, which will hook you up with over 175 channels. In the end, the most affordable option is TV Select, which will provide you with more than 125 channels.


DIRECTV offers six packages. To compare, that’s double than what you can see at Spectrum TV.

  • Select — $49.99 a month
  • Entertainment — $54.99 a month
  • Choice — $59.99 a month
  • Xtra — $69.99 a month
  • Ultimate — $74.99 a month
  • Premier — $124.99 a month

You’ll agree that the choice is much more interesting with DIRECTV. With this number of fairly affordable packages, you can take your pick according to your earnings and needs. However, in spite of this temptation, remember that the prices won’t be the same once the first year of your contract passes.

Until that happens, you can enjoy Select, which has over 155 channels, for only $49.99. If you decide to go with Choice, for example, your list of channels will go over 185. And in case you want the finest that DIRECTV can offer — Premier — you’ll have over 330 different channels at your fingertips.

*Providers often change their pricing, so make sure you check their official websites for the latest offers.

Fees and Fine Print

Some clients are just so happy when they find a good offer that they don’t go through the fine print. That is how you find yourself trapped in a legally binding relationship with a sneaky provider. To prevent that from happening, you should find out if there are any unexpected moves that carriers will try on you.


As far as DIRECTV goes, the only sneaky thing you can expect from their side is the one that was already mentioned. The prices will go up once the first year of your contract passes, and you’ll be obligated to pay for the service because you’ve already signed a contract.

For example, if you decide to treat yourself with the most prestigious package DIRECTV offers, the first year will cost you $124.99 a month. The cost of this pleasure will jump significantly after twelve months, and more money will be taken from your account each month during the second year. 

Worrying about a DVR or a broadcasting fee isn’t something you will have to do with DIRECTV — both are included in the price, provided that you sign a contract.

However, if you want to enjoy DIRECTV on more than one TV in your home, you will have to get an additional receiver. This convenience will cost you $7 each month for every additional TV.

Spectrum TV

A good thing about Spectrum TV is that although the prices become steeper after the first year, you won’t be limited by a contract. So, even if you decide to sign up for the most luxurious package, you won’t have to pay for additional fees if you decide to switch providers.

While talking about Spectrum TV, you should know that the price of the package, whichever you choose, won’t be what you were expecting. If you decide to go with Spectrum TV, you’ll also have to pay for the broadcasting fee.

In addition, Spectrum TV’s DVR doesn’t come free of charge. To increase the quality of your home entertainment with a DVR, you’ll have to pay extra on a monthly basis. 

Another reason Spectrum TV isn’t ranked high according to the criteria is all about the company’s receiver fees. A receiver for an additional TV will cost you $6.99 each month, but that’s not all. There’s something called a service fee, which will increase your bill for $12.99 for one receiver.

The price will also climb up to $19.99 if the number of receivers is up to four. It’s not a one-time fee — it’s on a monthly basis.

Equipment Comparison

Now that you know about the package options, the number of channels, and the fees, it’s time to talk about equipment. In this section, you’ll find out how powerful both DVRs are and what to expect.

Spectrum TV

As mentioned at the beginning, Spectrum TV’s DVR is quite outdated when compared to the one you can get with DIRECTV. To begin with, Spectrum TV will charge you if you want to use their DVR. Other than that fee, you’ll also be paying for a service fee, and your bill will increase for almost $20 a month. This expense wouldn’t be that staggering if the DVR in question were any good. Nevertheless, it’s not.

As a matter of fact, Spectrum TV has two DVRs, but strangely enough, you can’t really take your pick. When you order your DVR, you will get either Cisco/SA or Motorola — but you can’t choose. The way Spectrum TV operates is a bit unclear. It seems to be completely random.

All in all, you’ll end up with a DVR that can record anywhere from 21h to 45h. With this amount of hours, you won’t be able to really make a collection of your favorite shows and movies. However, you will be able to record two shows at the same time.


DIRECTV has its Genie, which you will certainly love. A device this clever is a must-have piece of equipment — it will enrich the quality of your home entertainment.

For starters, contrary to what you’ll have to pay for a DVR to Spectrum TV, Genie comes free of charge. And this is one powerful DVR box — Genie can record up to 200h. This kind of storage can fit more than one full show and all of its seasons.

To put it in layman’s (and TV show fanatic) words, to watch Game of Thrones from start to finish, you need 70 hours. As you can see, you wouldn’t even be able to use Spectrum’s DVR to store all eight Game of Thrones seasons. It’s disappointing, isn’t it?

Apps on Both Ends

Most people nowadays won’t settle for a provider that doesn’t offer an app. This is completely understandable considering how many people lose hours on the commute, for example. You’ll agree that having an app is useful — you never know when you might need it.

Luckily, both Spectrum TV and DIRECTV come with their respective apps.  You’ll be able to use your personal device to watch your favorite shows on the go, wherever you might be.

It’s also good to know that on-demand content is available on both ends as well. Both providers will supply you with a decent amount of on-demand titles. You’ll be able to watch over 10,000 shows and movies whenever you feel like it.

The Verdict

Well, it’s not that difficult to choose the winner — it’s quite clear that DIRECTV is superior when compared to Spectrum TV for multiple reasons.

If money is the most important factor — most people find it quite relevant — a contract with DIRECTV will cost you slightly more than being a free agent and using Spectrum TV. However, even though DIRECTV will increase its prices after the initial 12 months, the whole experience will still be less turbulent than using Spectrum TV.

As mentioned, DIRECTV doesn’t charge you for its DVR, and there won’t be any unexpected fees coming from this company. Although they will bind you for two years and make you pay more for the second one, you won’t have to think about service fees, for example.

Other than that service fee, your monthly bill will also contain a broadcasting fee if you decide to go with Spectrum TV. Remember — the company also charges for additional receivers.

If money isn’t a factor for you, then think about the number of channels and package options. While Spectrum TV has only three packages on offer, DIRECTV has six, all priced reasonably (in the first year). Besides, Spectrum offers only around 200 channels, while DIRECTV will supply you with over 330.

In the end, you should have in mind that your location might play a role when it comes to prices. For that reason, make sure to check what you can expect with your local provider. In any case, chances are that Spectrum TV won’t be able to make you a better offer.

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