At a Glance
Type of Service
550 channels/ 200 in HD
$50-$125 per month
$99, Internet; $49 TV
Yes (1 year)
Data effective 1/17. Pricing is subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.
Should you choose AT&T U-verse or DIRECTV as your TV service provider?
Get AT&T U-verse for more reliability, more channels and HD selection, as well as faster internet.
AT&T leads the industry for reason, with a solid performance in reliability. While its Whole Home DVR and TV service may fall behind the features and functionality of other providers, AT&T gives you plenty of bang for your buck with robust channel selection and lots of HD options. If you have AT&T as a wireless provider, you’ll be able to score some very affordable bundles by rolling in your phone, internet, and home security services. If you’re lucky enough to reside in one of AT&T’s zippy Fiber service areas, you’ll have get the bonus of faster internet speeds, too. This all comes at a cost, however, with a one-year contract and aggressive data caps enforced in some areas.
Get DIRECTV for its superior DVR, sports programming, wide availability, and better customer service.
DIRECTV presents clear advantages for those looking to get the most sports programming, especially when it comes to football. As the home of NFL SUNDAY TICKET and the owner of several local sports networks, DIRECTV is the undisputed leader in sports coverage. DIRECTV’s Genie also presents a better value than AT&T’s Whole Home DVR, with larger storage and the ability to record more shows at once. Despite being part of the same parent company, DIRECTV’s superior customer service reputation edges out AT&T’s for customer satisfaction. The downside? A two-year contract is a must and you’ll get fewer channel selection and fewer HD offerings than U-verse.
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Important Note on the Providers
As we look at side-by-side comparisons of these two TV providers, keep in mind that they are both owned by the same parent company, AT&T. This review is geared toward whether or not satellite TV is a good fit for your needs and how it differs from the traditional TV service offered by AT&T U-verse. If you’re looking for more information about AT&T’s DIRECTV streaming package, aimed at cord-cutters who are looking to stream live TV without a subscription, see details here. This review will focus solely on DIRECTV satellite TV service versus AT&T’s U-verse TV subscription as provided by AT&T.
Customer Satisfaction Ratings
Overall Customer Rating
(3.57 / 5)
- More HD, channel selection
- Faster internet speeds where AT&T Fiber is available
- Bundle with home security, internet, phone, and wireless for increased savings
- Considered more reliable than satellite
- Data caps enforced in some areas
- Limited fiber availability
- Expensive, hidden fees
- Inferior DVR equipment
Overall Customer Rating
(3.63 / 5)
- Widely available
- More sports programming
- Superior DVR equipment
- Free installation
- Superior customer service
- Contract required
- Some weather-related outages
- Limited channel selection and HD
Installation & Setup
AT&T(3.77 / 5)
U-verse turns in lower satisfaction ratings in this category, probably due to that hefty installation fee. AT&T’s installation costs may be pricey, but plenty of customers have reported being able to get fees waived with a long-term contract. It never hurts to ask.
Installation fee: $99
DIRECTV(3.85 / 5)
DIRECTV leads in customer satisfaction for this area of service, and it’s due to two factors. As a provider with a reputation for excellent customer service, DIRECTV excels at the new-customer experience. Secondly, installation is free, free, free. Enough said.
Installation Fee: None
AT&T(3.63 / 5)
AT&T has a greater channel selection, but apparently, greater is not better. It doesn’t matter how many channels you stuff in if it’s programming no one is watching. DIRECTV has twice the package options of U-verse, and traditionally, customers prefer choice over quantity.
Channels: 550 channels, 225 in HD
DIRECTV(3.69 / 5)
DIRECTV may offer less, but what it does offer is highly desirable. Premium movies, sports, and more as well as a very capable DVR to store programming makes DIRECTV’s packages a better value for the average customer. Score one for DIRECTV!
Channels: 315 channels, 200 in HD
AT&T(3.94 / 5)
AT&T gets better ratings for reliability with its U-verse network, but keep in mind that the fiber-based portions of this service aren’t widely available. AT&T doesn’t have plans to expand it anytime soon, either, and will focus on developing fixed wireless for the next few years.
Type of Service: Fiber
DIRECTV(3.91 / 5)
DIRECTV is a satellite provider, so weather-related outages can come with the territory. But all things considered, these interruptions are pretty rare and involve nothing more serious than dusting the snow off your dish. If you live in an area that experiences frequent, extreme weather, it may be a deal-breaker.
Type of Service: Satellite
AT&T(2.86 / 5)
AT&T customers get to enjoy some affordable bundling, including the ability to roll wireless service into its TV packages. But data caps and complaints about excessive fees affect many customers who give AT&T mediocre reviews on cost and billing.
Price: $50-$125/month with one-year contract
DIRECTV(2.92 / 5)
While none of the providers—satellite, cable or otherwise—get rave reviews when it comes to billing, DIRECTV performs a bit better than telecomm giant AT&T. This could be due to more variety and choice in packages that allows customers to dial into something that better fits their finances.
Price: $50-$125/month with two-year contract
Tech Support & Customer Service
AT&T(3.67 / 5)
While AT&T doesn’t have the abysmal customer service reputation of other cable providers, it’s not great either. While DIRECTV is part of the AT&T family, there seems to be a significant difference in the customer experience when it comes to service and support. Part of the issue might also be a clunky, dated website and a lack of social media savvy on the part of AT&T.
DIRECTV(3.77 / 5)
DIRECTV is a leader in customer satisfaction, and our survey results support that, putting the satellite provider second for tech support and satisfaction in our survey. Satellite providers like DISH and DIRECTV enjoy better service reputations in general than cable providers and big telecoms like AT&T, who often get tarred with the same proverbial brush as the rest of the troubled industry.
- Simultaneous Recording: 4
- Storage: *NA (422 SD, 155 HD)
- Price: $9/month (Fees for DVR & up to 3 add’l receivers included)
- Approximate Dimensions:* NA
- # of TVs per DVR: 8
- Additional Features: Manage & Watch Anywhere
- Simultaneous Recording: 5
- Storage: 1 TB (800 SD, 200 HD)
- Price: Free/$107.99 (Fees for DVR & up to 3 add’l receivers included)
- Dimensions: 13.1 (width) x 9.69 (depth) x 1.8 (height)
- # of TVs per DVR: 8
- Additional Features: 4K HD, 3D capable, Sports Score Bar
AT&T + DIRECTV
Internet Service Satisfaction Rating:
(3.71 / 5)
- DSL widely available, slower speeds (6 Mbps-75 Mbps)
- Fiber available in select metro areas, faster speeds (100 Mbps-1000 Mbps)
- DIRECTV bundles with AT&T for internet service
- 99%* reliable signal
- Installation fee: Self-install or $149
- Modem rental fee: $7/month
*Claim based on U-verse High Speed Internet service.
More About the Providers
AT&T is a multi-national telecommunications giant based in Texas and serving over 365 million customers in North America alone. In addition to TV, internet, and home security services, AT&T is the largest provider of phone service and the second-largest provider of mobile phone service in the United States. AT&T delivers TV, internet, and phone utilizing DSL and, in select regions, fiber networks. AT&T also partners with DIRECTV to provide TV in rural areas that are better suited to satellite service.
DIRECTV is a broadcast satellite network that serves over 19.98 million subscribers in the United States and more than 17 million in Latin America. Based in California, DIRECTV became a subsidiary of AT&T in 2015 for a handy $49 billion. The company primarily offers TV subscriptions, but it also partners with several brands—including Verizon—to sell bundles with internet and phone service. DIRECTV is considered the home of football because, in addition to owning several regional sports networks, it is the exclusive TV provider for NFL’s SUNDAY TICKET.
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