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

Price: $74.99/mo.–$149.99/mo.
Channels: 160–330+
DVR storage: 200 hrs. included
Contract: 2 years

No contract TV and internet

Optimum

Price: $30.00/mo.–$115.00/mo.
Channels: 50–420+
DVR storage: 25–150 hrs.
Contract: n/a

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.

DIRECTV vs. Optimum TV pros and cons

DIRECTV

Wide availability
Exclusive sports programming like NFL SUNDAY TICKET
A required two-year contract

View Plan

Optimum

No required contract
Many channels
A requirement for internet service

View Plan

Interested in cable TV service?

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Deals and promotions

DIRECTV TV deals

Top DIRECTV deals have included free streaming service subscriptions and gift cards worth up to $100. 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 $74.99–$149.99/mo. 160–330+ 200 hrs. View Plan
Optimum $30.00–$115.00/mo.* 50–420+ 25–150 hrs. View Plan

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

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 be paying a premium for TV service, but you’ll also get add-ons like a free DVR and excellent channel lineups. Optimum’s prices are lower compared to DIRECTV, but you can only get cable TV with internet service and the provider’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 Starting price Second-year price Channel count Notable channels Details
ENTERTAINMENT $64.99/mo.* $102.00/mo. 160+ ESPN, FXX, Hallmark Channel, and TNT View Plan
CHOICE™ $69.99/mo.** $122.00/mo. 185+ NFL Network, NBA TV, Cooking Channel, and regional sports networks View Plan
ULTIMATE $84.99/mo.** $151.00/mo. 250+ BBC World News, CBS Sports Network, and Magnolia Network View Plan
PREMIER $134.99/mo.** $206.00/mo. 330+ HBO®, CINEMAX®, and SHOWTIME® View Plan

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

*for 12 mos. plus taxes. AutoPay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year.

** for 12 mos. plus taxes. AutoPay & Paperless bill req’d. Prices higher in 2nd year. Regional Sports Fee up to $9.99/mo. is extra & applies.

Even though ENTERTAINMENT 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 includes a strong selection of channels within a single plan.

With DIRECTV’s CHOICE and ULTIMATE 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 gets you premium cable channels like HBO and SHOWTIME.

But DIRECTV’s prices are a doozy any way you slice it. Once you reach the second year of your agreement, DIRECTV’s prices nearly double across the board. With regular second-year prices that start at $102.00 monthly and a mandatory two-year contract, DIRECTV won’t come cheap if you want satellite TV service in your home.

View DIRECTV Plans

Optimum cable TV packages

Package Starting price Standard rate Channel count Notable channels Details
Basic TV $30.00/mo. $30.00/mo. 50+ ABC, CBS, FOX View Plan
Core TV $65.00/mo. $75.00/mo. 240+ ESPN, CNN, TNT View Plan
Select TV $85.00/mo. $95.00/mo. 320+ FXX, TV Land, NFL Network, Cooking Channel View Plan
Premier TV $105.00/mo. $115.00/mo. 420+ HBO®, 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. After your first year of service, Optimum’s Premier TV plan costs $155 monthly, while DIRECTV’s PREMIER package jumps to a woof-inducing $206 per month.

But Optimum’s biggest cable TV downside is its availability—you can only get it with an Optimum internet subscription. While most service providers nudge customers towards TV and internet bundles by offering deals, we rarely see providers who require you to bundle internet and TV plans.

View Optimum Plans

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 takes the win here thanks to its superior DVR and lack of monthly equipment fees. With DIRECTV, you’ll get a free Genie DVR, which includes up to 200 hours of free DVR storage. DISH’s Hopper 3 DVR technically has better DVR features, 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 to $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 tied for 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. DIRECTV and DISH (which also tied for second place) were only beaten out by Verizon’s Fios TV.

By comparison, Optimum earned a dismal ninth-place overall finish and consistently landed in the bottom half of our polling among providers like RCN and Suddenlink. When customers had problems with Optimum, things didn’t tend to go well.

Internet service

Optimum landed in a similarly dismal 12th place (out of 14 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. AT&T does offer some DIRECTV internet bundles, but you won’t get any bundle discounts.

Enter your zip code below to see what internet options are available in your neighborhood.

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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.

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.

DIRECTV vs. Optimum FAQ

Is DIRECTV better than cable?

DIRECTV is better than cable in some areas. It has more sports exclusives (like NFL Sunday Ticket) 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.

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