Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW – Which is Better?

DIRECTV NOW offers a better channel selection and more add-ons, but Sling TV is much more cost-efficient. DIRECTV NOW also has recently included a cloud-based DVR with its service, which makes for an incredible binge-watching experience.

While most prefer DIRECTV NOW packages in general, you have to appreciate Sling TV’s low prices. Although DIRECT NOW costs more, you get more channels and more premium content. However, don’t think that Sling TV’s low prices signify an inferior service. Even though you get less content, the provider includes many popular and premium channels. Next, let’s compare the prices, equipment, and capabilities of Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW services.


  • $40–$80 a month
  • 60–120+ channels
  • 2–3 simultaneous streams
  • Cloud DVR included in the price; 20 hours that you can watch for 30 days
  • $5 a month for an HBO add-on

Sling TV:

  • $25–$45 a month
  • 30–50+ channels
  • 1–4 simultaneous streams
  • DVR not included in the price; $5 a month for 50 hours — forever
  • $15 a month for an HBO add-on

If you’re not on a budget and want the largest variety of channels money can buy — DIRECTV NOW is the one for you. However, If you need a more cost-effective TV subscription service, Sling TV is the best option. Unfortunately, even with Sling TV’s low prices, it simply can’t compete with DIRECTV NOW’s variety of content.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW — Prices and Packages

These two providers offer different services and are tailored to different types of users. Sling TV’s packages are great if you aren’t a demanding viewer and only need a few channels. DIRECTV NOW, however, has all the channels you can think of and is made to fit many viewing preferences. No other TV provider on the market can match DIRECTV’s variety of options and pricing. Also, keep in mind that DIRECTV includes the price of their DVR with every package, which allows for higher savings.

DIRECTV NOW plans and prices:

  • Live a Little — $40 a month for over 60 channels
  • Just Right — $55 a month for over 80 channels
  • Go Big — $65 a month for over 100 channels
  • Gotta Have It — $75 a month for over 120 channels

Sling TV plans and prices:

  • Sling Orange — $25 a month for 30 channels
  • Sling Blue — $25 a month for 35 channels
  • Sling Orange + Blue — $40 a month for over 50 channels

As you can tell, Sling TV’s highest-priced package offers fewer channels than DIRECTV NOW’s cheapest package. Even though they cost the same amount of money, DIRECTV NOW’s packages also include the costs of a DVR, while Sling TV’s don’t. However, with lower prices comes a smaller channel selection. Unfortunately, Sling TV excludes a few top channels like Telemundo, The CW, Fox News, and many others.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW — Channels

The premium channels and pricing schemes that DIRECTV NOW offers can’t be matched. You will also get the Sunday Ticket channel with every package (yes, even the cheapest one). Their packages also include more channels overall and make it easier to find content you want to watch. None of this comes as a surprise considering that DIRECTV NOW has an overall better offer than Sling TV.

However, Sling TV is great if you crave for more channels in foreign languages. The provider offers a handful of international channel options and includes add-ons in many languages, including Mexican and Hindi.

Don’t write Sling TV off just because the numbers are lower. You can view their channel lists and see if they offer any of your favorite shows. And if you’re not a demanding viewer, there’s a good chance you will get all of the channels you need — at a lower price.

Premium Content

Both providers have an excellent selection of premium channels. However, Sling TV, as well as the majority of streaming services, can’t compete with DIRECTV’s content. Most providers will charge you about $15 a month for HBO, but DIRECTV NOW offers this service for a monthly fee of $5.

DIRECTV NOW’s Premium Channel Fees:

  • HBO — $5 a month
  • CINEMAX — $5 a month
  • STARZ — $8 a month
  • EPIX — N/A

Sling TV’s Premium Channel Fees:

  • HBO — $15 a month
  • SHOWTIME — $10 a month
  • CINEMAX — $10 a month
  • STARZ — $9 a month
  • EPIX — $5 a month

Both providers offer a great selection of premium channels at reasonable prices. Although DIRECTV NOW’s fees are lower, it doesn’t include as many channels as Sling TV does. So if you want EPIX or SHOWTIME, you should opt for Sling TV.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW — Sports Coverage

If you’re like the average sports lover, you can’t go wrong with either of these services. You can enjoy the college football recaps whenever you want as both providers offer ESPN and ESPN2. However, if there are some specific channels you want to watch, you might be out of luck. Although DIRECTV has great coverage of sports channels, it’s not the best. Both providers have overlooked some major networks, and you might be better off with a different provider entirely if all you want are sports channels.

  • NFL Network — only on Sling TV
  • NFL RedZone — only on Sling TV
  • Big Ten Network — only on DIRECTV NOW
  • MLB Network — only on DIRECTV NOW
  • CBS Sports Network — only on DIRECTV NOW

Great news for all sports fans! DIRECTV NOW offers the NFL Sunday Ticket channel in selected areas. So hopefully, you live in one of these cities, but even if you don’t, the provider is constantly adding more of them to the list.

Local Channel Support

The selection of local channels is based on the area you live in. However, DIRECTV NOW has a bigger number of affiliates compared to Sling TV. Thus, DIRECTV NOW and its 218 affiliates are more likely to grant you access to ABC and other local channels. Sling TV only works with 36 local affiliates, so their channel selection is much smaller. You can also buy an HD antenna if you want to watch more local channels.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW — User Experience

Both DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV offer a pleasant viewing experience. Unfortunately, neither of the providers allow you to pause, fast forward, or rewind live shows. DIRECTV NOW does allow you to pause on-demand and DVR content, but the pause button is huge and sits in the middle of your screen. That puts a damper on the whole viewing experience. Also, their interface isn’t extremely user-friendly, and every time you move your pointer, the controls will pop up on your screen. That is unfortunate, as it can interrupt you mid-show and doesn’t allow you to focus solely on the content.

You probably won’t experience any major bugs with DIRECTV NOW’s platform, but some customer complaints have issues with the favorite shows list failing to load. That might be a temporary glitch, but it worsens the viewing experience even further. Also, there have been some customer complaints about the frequent video buffering, no matter how high their internet speed was.

You will likely prefer Sling TV’s interface, as it allows you to sit back, relax, and watch your shows without interruptions or annoying tabs and buttons appearing all over the place. The controls are located in the lower part of the screen; they’re not in your face, but are still within easy reach. However, Sling’s Orange package isn’t impressive with its channel selection.

Sad news for all the TV buffs — if you want to have a variety of shows to watch, Sling TV might not be the best option for you. However, even though the cheapest package leaves much to be desired, you can expect more versatility with the more expensive options. Also, it would be great if both providers offered the option to watch their content without any commercials constantly popping up, but sadly, that isn’t the case.

Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW — Device Compatibility & Streaming

If you prefer using a PlayStation 4, you are out of luck, as neither Sling TV nor DIRECTV offers support for PS4. However, you can still stream whatever you want on computer desktops or a number of other streaming services. Although both providers support most major streaming services, Sling TV is compatible with two more than DIRECTV.

DIRECTV NOW Can Be Streamed On

  • Apple TV
  • Amazon’s Fire TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Android mobile and iOS
  • PC and Mac

Sling TV Can Be Streamed On

  • Apple TV
  • Amazon’s Fire TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Android mobile and iOS
  • Mac and PC
  • Xbox One
  • Windows phones

Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW have different approaches to simultaneous streaming. Every DIRECTV package features two simultaneous streams, and you can pay an additional fee of $5 a month to add a third one. Sling TV offers different streaming capabilities depending on the package you have selected. With Sling Orange, you can stream from only one device. However, you will be able to stream on three devices at the same time with Sling Blue. Moreover, Sling Orange + Blue allows the entire family to join in on the fun, with four simultaneous streams.


DVR is essential if you want to binge-watch your favorite shows. DIRECTV NOW adds the DVR into the prices of all packages, but you will have to pay an additional fee if you want to use it with Sling TV. Although this can be seen as a disadvantage, the higher price tag comes with more perks. Let’s take a look at how Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW handles their DVR services:

  • DIRECTV NOW Cloud DVR — Price included, 20 hours of HD streaming for 30 days
  • Sling TV Cloud DVR — $5 a month, stream up to 50 hours and keep it as long as you want

It’s a bummer that Sling TV excludes the DVR from its packages and that you need to pay an additional monthly fee of $5 if you want to use it. However, this provider offers 50 hours of HD recordings that you can keep for as long as you like. The fact that you’re able to store your shows forever is incredible, and Sling TV gets extra points for this feature.

Although DIRECTV NOW includes the DVR in every package, you can only record a maximum of 20 hours of content and can’t keep it for longer than a month. That doesn’t mean their DVR is bad by any stretch of the imagination; however, it’s not as good as Sling TV’s.

The Winner — DIRECTV NOW

Sling TV put up a good fight, and no other provider can match their affordable prices. Even though DIRECTV NOW’s packages are more expensive, they include more channels and the DVR for the price. Also, the provider offers a plethora of inexpensive add-ons to choose from, including HBO.

DIRECTV NOW features 120+ channels, and Sling TV offers only 50+. Let’s not even mention how great the addition of the coveted NFL Sunday Ticket is. That is an incredible feature that makes the price worth it for all sports lovers.

However, the platform’s user interface is a different story entirely. Only a few things in this world are as annoying as DIRECTV NOW’s player controls showing up on the center of your screen and blocking the picture. However, Sling TV offers an uninterrupted, pleasant viewing experience with controls sensibly located at the bottom of your screen.

On the other hand, the DVR race is a close one. The providers offer different features, and what you decide on depends mostly on your needs. DIRECTV NOW throws in the price of their DVR with every package, but you can only record up to 20 hours of content and can keep it for a limited time. Even though Sling TV charges an additional fee for its DVR, you can store up to 50 hours of content — forever.

With all that in mind, in the battle of Sling TV vs. DIRECTV NOW, DIRECTV NOW is the winner. Both providers allow you to watch a variety of content at reasonable prices. Also, if you can’t live without HBO but don’t want to overpay for it, DIRECTV NOW is the best fit for you.

Leave a Comment