Which is better for you, DIRECTV Satellite or AT&T TV?

There’s no one right answer. That’s the cool thing, though — depending on who you are you might like DIRECTV satellite service or AT&T TV, the streaming service that works on your mobile devices. If you ask yourself a few questions, you can come up with an answer that works for you.

How much DVR do you need?

The biggest difference between AT&T TV and DIRECTV satellite just might be the way they handle DVR. AT&T TV has a 500-hour cloud DVR. That means you can watch all your recordings from anywhere using your mobile device. It also means you don’t have to worry about hard drive failure like you do with a DIRECTV DVR.

However, 500 hours might not be enough for you. If you like to keep a lot of things recorded, you’ll definitely want to look at DIRECTV satellite. The Genie 2 DVR can record up to about 1,000 hours of HD programming. If you need more than that, the combination of an HR54 DVR and multiple HR24 DVRs can give you virtually limitless space. DIRECTV’s DVRs also let you hook up e-SATA hard drives to add more capacity, but this feature isn’t really well supported.

Where do you want to watch?

When you start with AT&T TV, you get one box. You can get multiple boxes, or use your phone or streaming box. At any rate, you’re limited to three streams at the same time. That’s a hard limit.

With a DIRECTV satellite system, you have a lot of options. You can start with a single receiver and scale your system to as large as you want. The most popular system for new customers gives you seven rooms plus the ability to stream to a mobile device. You can build your system so that you could be watching 25 or more live streams at the same time fairly easily, however.

Let’s talk about contracts and penalties

Here’s a place where DIRECTV and AT&T TV are exactly the same. Both have a two-year contract with a discount rate that changes after the first year. Both have an early termination fee if you need to get out of that contract agreement. So you really don’t have to consider that when you’re looking at which to choose.

Do you want a rich mobile experience?

Here you are in luck. DIRECTV Satellite and AT&T TV both have excellent apps for mobile devices. With both you can browse a guide, watch live TV, and watch on demand programming. AT&T TV’s app looks a bit more modern which may be appealing to some people and since it’s geared around live TV you can start watching sooner. But really this is a tie because both apps are great.

Do you watch a lot of local TV?

There’s a clear winner if you watch a lot of local TV. AT&T TV has at most 6 channels of local TV and there are some areas that only have a few. That’s going to change eventually but today, if you watch a lot of daytime TV on local channels, or if you’re interested in local news and events, you really have to stay with DIRECTV satellite. Most markets have between 6 and 25 local channels available, with some markets like New York and Los Angeles having even more.

However, with either you can use an antenna while at home or use the free Locast app in about 25 metropolitan areas to stream more channels.

Which one for you?

If you’re not sure which is right for you, give us a call at Solid Signal! The number is 888-233-7563. We’ll give you the pros and cons of each, and help you make the right decision. Then, no matter what you choose, we can get you completely set up!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.