DirecTV Now vs Sling TV: What You Need to Know

Internet TV streaming is the next big thing, and in November AT&T released DirecTV Now. A brand new service that will let you cut the cord and ditch traditional cable. Here we’ll go over everything you need to know about DirecTV Now, and how it compares to Sling TV.

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There is no satellite dish, cable box or subscriptions required, everything streams over the web. If this sounds familiar it’s because similar options are available from Dish with Sling TV, and of course Playstation Vue.

Read: Sling TV Review: Is $20 a Month Worth It?

DirecTV Now is available as of November 30th. And for a limited time customers can get a promotional deal offering the best “Go Big” plan with over 100 channels for $35 a month. That’s $25 off for early adopters. That said, pricing isn’t the only important aspect when it comes to Television. Below is everything buyers need to know.

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The selling points for DirecTV Now and Sling TV are simple. For one, there are no contracts. Just pay each month if you want or need the service. For two, users get channels they actually want rather than being strong-armed into 1000+ channels they don’t need. Those huge bundles are unnecessary, and we all know it. As a result the prices are extremely low, starting at $20 a month with Sling TV and $35 a month with DirecTV Now.

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Additionally, these services work across a wide array of devices, including mobile, but more on that can be found below. Mainly because not all devices are supported, and you’ll want to check before signing up.

What this all means is that for a low monthly price you can have between 30-120 channels you actually care about anywhere and everywhere. The living room, bedroom, office, and on mobile. Our link at the top of the page details everything Sling TV has to offer, and we’d recommend you start there. That all said, read on for more details about how these two TV streaming services compare.

DirecTV Now vs Sling TV: Pricing & Channels

One goal of both platforms is to offer a simple solution to our TV needs. And while they come close, it’s still TV, and some of the bundles end up a little confusing. There are different tiers, add-on channels like HBO, Showtime, and others, not to mention Sports packages. You’ll want to pay close attention and make sure you get what you need. Especially if you’re truly cutting the cord and canceling cable.

DirecTV Now Pricing

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  • Live a Little: 60+ channels for $35 per month
  • Just Right: 80+ channels for $50 per month
  • Go Big: 100+ channels for $60 per month (Limited Promotion for $35)
  • Gotta Have It: 120+ channels for $70 per month
  • Add-ons like HBO or Cinemax for $5 each per month (Which is less than HBO Now)
  • DirecTV Now allows streaming to TWO devices at a time
Get the "Go Big" Bundle for just $35 for a limited time*

Get the “Go Big” Bundle for just $35 for a limited time*

Above is a good look at what DirecTV Now has to offer at each respective price. Going from Live a Little to “Just Right” gets you everything the lower tier has, plus some extras. And so on.

However, it’s worth noting that while DirecTV offers the NFL Sunday Ticket, DirecTV Now does not. This is a big piece of the puzzle that is missing, so keep that in mind. Sling TV offers both the NFL Network and NFL Redzone in a $5 sports add-on package. Sports fans will want to jump on Sling TV. DirecTV Now is also missing Showtime and CBS. Two big channels for millions of users.

In closing, AT&T and DirecTV confirmed that their $35 promotional pricing for the “Go Big” plan is for a limited time only. You will get to keep that price as long as your DirecTV Now account stays active. Miss a month and it may end. In the future they do reserve the right to end the promotional price. That sounds like something we’ve heard before from traditional cable companies.

For a full breakdown of what each does and doesn’t offer, check out this list courtesy of CNET.

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Sling TV Pricing

  • Sling Orange: 30+ channels for $20 per month (single device streaming)
  • Sling Blue: 40+ channels for $25 per month (up to three devices at a time)
  • Orange & Blue: All channels for $40 per month
  • HBO for $15 or Cinemax for $10 per month
  • Add-On Packs (up to 10 channels each) for $5-10 a month
  • Add-Ons Include: Sports, Kids, Comedy, Spanish TV, Lifestyle, Hollywood (Epix), News, Music, Chinese, World and more

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Both DirecTV Now and Sling TV have their pros and cons. It all comes down to what you want or need more, or how much you can afford. The entry level price of Sling TV simply can’t be beat. Getting 40+ channels and streaming on three devices for $25 a month is pretty good.

DirecTV Now has more channels but also costs more. Take note, AT&T customers can stream unlimited DirecTV Now without using their data. Streaming does not count towards your monthly mobile data cap.

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DirecTV Now vs Sling TV: Compatible Devices

Like Sling TV, Now works on a wide array of existing platforms that most already have in their home or pocket. Sling TV may have an edge here, but it has been around longer and we can expect DirecTV Now to add more in early 2017.

As of right now DirecTV Now works with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV devices, Android phones, iPhones and iPads, Vizio and LeEco smart TVs, or PC and Mac web browsers. Roku devices and Amazon Fire tablets will be supported early next year.

Of course Sling TV also works with: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV devices, Amazon Fire tablet, Android and iPhone (including tablets and iPad), Chromecast, Android TV devices, Xiaomi, ZTE, LeEco smart TVs, PC, Mac and Xbox One.

DirecTV Now vs Sling TV: DVR Options

Another thing millions of users will want to consider is DVR. The ability to record live TV and enjoy it later. Not to mention pause and rewind. This is a staple in the cable world, but sadly that isn’t the case with internet TV streaming services.

Sling TV just announced that cloud-based DVR is coming soon. It will be available first as a limited beta for select Roku devices. Sling will allow recording of multiple shows simultaneously up to 100 hours worth. It’s free too. Sling TV also offers pause, rewind and start over on select programing.

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As for DirecTV Now, DVR features are set to arrive sometime in 2017. That’s all we know right now though, so keep an eye out for more details. Now also only allows users to pause for a few seconds at a time. Not even enough to skip an entire commercial.

Other Details

A few other things to consider are channels like sports, or local channels including ABC, CBS, Fox, or NBC. As we said above, Sling TV is likely the best option when it comes to sports. Not only do they have NFL Network, RedZone, Fox Sports or FS1, but entire sports packs. Including ESPN 1, 2, 3, U, SEC and Pac-12 Networks and much more.

Of course if any of the channels that DirecTV Now offer are showing live sports you’ll be able to tune in with any of the above devices and enjoy the game. As for ABC, Fox or NBC, this depends on where you live. They’ll either be available or offer select programming On-Demand. This depends on your location and if they operate in your city or use an affiliate. So those channels are a maybe.

All said and done both Sling TV and DirecTV Now are two excellent options for users. They both have a lot to offer for a low price. DirecTV Now has most of the Viacom channels that were recently removed from Playstation Vue. So that’s another things to consider. In the end we’d recommend doing your research first to see what you need and what’s available, then choose whatever is right for you.