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DIRECTV VS. Optimum

From contracts to channel counts, we break down everything you need to know about Optimum and DIRECTV plans.

Best for sports
DIRECTV
Channels:
75–150+
DVR storage:
Up to 450 hrs. ($15.00/mo.)
Channels:
75–150+
DVR storage:
Up to 450 hrs. ($15.00/mo.)
LIMITED OFFER: $50 off 1st mo. internet service w/ promo code COZY50 (1/20-3/31)
Optimum
Channels:
50–420+
DVR storage:
25–150 hrs. ($8.00–$20.00/mo.)
Channels:
50–420+
DVR storage:
25–150 hrs. ($8.00–$20.00/mo.)

Data effective as of post date. Offers may vary by location and are subject to change.
†for 24 months plus taxes and fees w/ 24-mo. agmt.; AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.

5-day free trial: Tired of cable and satellite TV but not quite sure if you wanna cut the cord? DIRECTV STREAM is a good streaming alternative for folks who want the look and feel of old-school TV without the installation requirements, equipment fees, and other headaches that come with cable.

Is DIRECTV or Optimum better?

If you can stomach the higher prices, DIRECTV offers a superior DVR, larger availability, and better customer service compared to Optimum.

Optimum’s TV prices are lower than DIRECTV and its plans are contract-free. But you’ll be required to get an internet plan and you’ll have to settle for less than stellar customer service.

Interested in cable TV service?

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DIRECTV vs. Optimum TV pros and cons

DIRECTV

2-year price guarantee (no more second-year price hike)
Genie DVRs (up to 450 hrs.)
Best sports programming
99% availability
2-year contract
Expensive plans
Hidden fees

Optimum

No required contract
Many channels
Limited availability
Bundling requirement

Deals and promotions

DIRECTV TV deals

  • DISH Switchers: Sign up for DIRECTV & get up to a $400 VISA® Reward Card.
  • Free premium channels: If you’re new to DIRECTV, you’ll get three free months of Max™ (formerly HBO Max), Cinemax®, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and MGM+™ when you sign up. Don’t forget to cancel after the trial period, otherwise the deal auto-renews at $54.95 monthly. (Note: DIRECTV’s PREMIER All Included package already has these premium channels—but no MGM+. Don’t fret: you’ll still get MGM+ free for three months).

Check out our DIRECTV deal guide to learn more about DIRECTV savings.

Optimum TV deals

Optimum’s best deals are for its internet plans, but Optimum TV customers can still get bundle deals like free Optimum Mobile for 12 months. Visit our Optimum deals page for more information.

Compare DIRECTV and Optimum head-to-head

DIRECTV vs. Optimum

Price Channel count DVR hours Details
DIRECTV
Best for sports
$69.99–$159.99/mo.† 75–150+ Up to 450 hrs. View Plan
Optimum
No contract
$35.00–$125.00/mo.** 50–420+ 25–150 hrs. View Plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers may vary by location and are subject to change.
†for 24 months plus taxes and fees w/ 24-mo. agmt.; AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.

DIRECTV is mainly a nationwide satellite TV provider, while Optimum provides internet, cable TV, and phone service throughout the greater New York City region.

If you’re shopping for TV service around New York and split between either provider, we’d recommend focusing on your budget and home internet needs.

With DIRECTV, you’ll pay a premium for TV service, but you’ll also enjoy excellent channel lineups, including robust sports offerings. Optimum’s prices are lower, but the provider forces you to bundle cable TV with internet service—and Optimum’s customer service is mediocre.

DIRECTV vs. Optimum packages and pricing

DIRECTV and Optimum offer a mountain of channels, but take unique approaches when it comes to divvying them up. Let’s break down what you’ll get with each provider.

DIRECTV TV packages

Package Price† Channel count Notable channels Details
ENTERTAINMENT All Included $69.99/mo. 165+ ESPN, FXX, Hallmark Channel, and TNT View Plan
CHOICE™ All Included $84.99/mo. 200+ NFL Network, NBA TV, Cooking Channel, and regional sports networks View Plan
ULTIMATE All Included $114.99/mo. 270+ BBC World News, CBS Sports Network, and Magnolia Network View Plan
PREMIER All Included $159.99/mo. 340+ HBO®, CINEMAX®, and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME® View Plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers may vary by location and are subject to change.
†for 24 months plus taxes and fees w/ 24-mo. agmt.; AutoPay and Paperless Bill req’d. Advanced Receiver Service Fee $15/mo. is extra and applies.

Even though ENTERTAINMENT All Included is DIRECTV’s starting package, we appreciated that DIRECTV didn’t skimp on the plan’s channel lineup. Most TV providers will split second-tier basic cable channels like DisneyXD and FXX across their mid-tier plans, but ENTERTAINMENT All Included includes a strong selection of channels within a single plan.

With DIRECTV’s CHOICE All Included and ULTIMATE All Included plans, you’ll get channels like the ACC Network and the Cooking Channel. They’re nice add-ons if your family’s into sports or the latest Joanna Gaines’ shiplap tips. PREMIER All Included gets you premium cable channels like HBO and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME.

But DIRECTV’s prices are a doozy, but the satellite TV provider finally introduced a two-year price guarantee this year—which means no more gnarly second-year price hike.

Optimum cable TV packages

Package Price Channel count Notable channels Details
Basic TV $35.00/mo. 50+ ABC, CBS, FOX View Plan
Core TV $75.00/mo. 220+ ESPN, CNN, TNT View Plan
Select TV $95.00/mo. 340+ FXX, TV Land, NFL Network, Cooking Channel View Plan
Premier TV $115.00/mo. 420+ HBO®, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME®, Outdoor Channel View Plan

Data effective as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Our longstanding policy is “avoid local channel packages,” and Optimum’s Basic TV plan doesn’t change our minds. It’s cheap, but only has broadcast networks like ABC and NBC. If you add an over-the-air antenna to your TV, you can watch these channels for free.

Optimum’s other plans have channel counts that look good on paper, but we’d recommend reviewing their channel lineups beforehand if you’re looking for specific channels. Core TV includes basic cable channels like Cartoon Network and ESPN, but you’ll have to upgrade to Select TV for channels like the Discovery Channel or A&E.

That said, Optimum’s TV plans do have some upsides. Optimum offers contract-free service, and its upper-tier TV plans are far more affordable than DIRECTV’s. But, with Optimum, your monthly payment rises sharply after the first year. At least you’re not locked into a contract.

But Optimum’s biggest cable TV downside—you can get it only with an Optimum internet subscription. Unfortunately, few cable internet providers offer standalone TV packages these days. If you don’t want internet, DIRECTV is the way to go.

Optimum vs. DIRECTV features

TV plans aren’t simply limited to your channels and monthly bill. Here’s everything else you’ll need to know about Optimum and DIRECTV service.

Equipment

DIRECTV wins here thanks to its superior Genie DVRs ($15 a month), which include up to 450 hours of DVR storage and 7 simultaneous recordings. DISH’s Hopper 3 DVR technically has better DVR features (500 hours, 16 simultaneous), but it also costs $10.00 monthly.

Optimum cable TV customers get one free Altice One Mini cable box, which includes 4K support and access to Optimum’s streaming TV apps. But if you want Cloud DVR service, you’ll need to pay an additional $8–$20 per month for up to 150 hours of storage.

Optimum’s DVR offerings fall in line with competitors like Xfinity and Spectrum. But Optimum’s free cable box offering is a nice add-on, since many providers will still charge you for your first cable box.

Customer satisfaction

DIRECTV took second place out of 10 providers in our annual TV customer satisfaction survey thanks to its strong marks in areas like channel lineup and user experience. (Verizon finished in first place, while Cox came in third.)

By comparison, Optimum earned a dismal 10th-place overall finish and consistently landed in the bottom half of our polling among providers like RCN (now Astound Broadband powered by RCN). When customers had problems with Optimum, things didn’t tend to go well.

Internet service

Optimum landed in a similarly dismal 15th place (out of 19 providers) on our internet customer satisfaction survey. Optimum customers weren’t fans of the provider’s average speeds and customer support.

DIRECTV doesn’t offer internet service, so your options will be wide open if you want to bundle DIRECTV with an internet plan. Enter your zip code below to see what internet options are available in your neighborhood.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Final take

Even though DIRECTV is pricier than Optimum, we’d still recommend the satellite TV provider over Optimum for most households. With DIRECTV, you’ll get better customer service, robust channel lineups, and a superior DVR.

That said, if price is your biggest concern and you’re also looking for a new internet provider, Optimum’s lower TV prices are hard to turn down. But the provider’s lackluster customer service is one of its biggest downsides.

DIRECTV vs. Optimum FAQ

Is DIRECTV better than cable?

DIRECTV is better than cable in some areas. It has more sports channels compared to cable TV providers, but its prices are generally larger than cable TV providers. But on satellite TV providers like DIRECTV, you may experience signal loss during heavy storms or major weather events.

Does Optimum use satellite dishes?

Optimum does not use satellite dishes because it’s a cable TV provider. Cable TV providers deliver their signal through in-ground cables.

Can I negotiate with Optimum?

,You can negotiate with Optimum, although you’re not guaranteed to successfully land a better deal. Check out our bill negotiation guide for the best ways to get a new deal from Optimum.

Is Optimum the same as DIRECTV?

Optimum is not the same as DIRECTV. Optimum and DIRECTV are two different TV providers.

Methodology

We spent a week analyzing all eight DIRECTV and Optimum TV plans to see how they stacked up in areas including price, channel count, and equipment fees. We also used our annual TV customer satisfaction survey to see what actual Optimum and DIRECTV customers had to say about each provider.

For more information on our methodology, check out our How We Rank page.

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