The TV Nerd's Take

Charter provides solid no-surprise pricing and some of the best HD digital TV in the US, albeit it a high price. DirecTV is my top pick for their sports options, huge channel selection, and exclusive access to NFL Sunday Ticket.

Charter and DirecTV have benefits and drawbacks when it comes to TV service.

Charter offers a less expensive option with more on-demand content and better sports coverage.

DirecTV offers a wider selection of channels and a more fully-featured DVR.

Core Comparison
 Charter SpectrumDirecTV
Pricing$44.99$35.00
Major Cities Los Angeles, New York, San Antonio, Dallas Nationwide
States Served 43 States including California, Texas, New York, Ohio and North Carolina Nationwide

Charter Pros and Cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup Charter Spectrum service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: (844) 356-4246

Pros

  • No contracts
  • Wide sports coverage
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Low prices dependant on bundling
  • Fewer channels
  • Fewer plan options

While Charter offers TV service with a wide variety of sports options at a low price with no obligation, there are definitely drawbacks to the service.
Charter TV is inexpensive, but a lot of the low prices are dependant on buying bundles. If you’re only looking to purchase TV service, you might not get as good a deal. There are also fewer channels than DirecTV, and fewer options for tiers of service

DirecTV Pros and Cons

Setup Service
Looking to setup DirecTV service? Use this line to speak with a human in less than 60 seconds: 844-298-9664

Pros

  • Wide channel selection
  • Fully-featured DVR
  • Support for 4K programming

Cons

  • Contract often required
  • More expensive
  • Satellite can be less reliable

DirecTV service is often more expensive than Charter, but it offers far more channels in exchange for this expense. The Genie DVR is a unique perk to DirecTV that adds many features, and the provider is one of the few companies that offers support for 4K programming.

Keep in mind, however, that DirecTV service often requires a contract, and satellite TV service is often less reliable than cable.

TV Network Coverage: Charter vs DirecTV

DirecTV Coverage: Nationwide

DirecTV has virtually nationwide coverage. If you have a place on your property to install a dish, and a clear view of the southern sky, you should have no issues getting service.

Very snowy areas sometimes report issues, but this is mostly due to pileup of snow covering the dish. If you live in a northern state, make sure your dish is accessible so you can brush snow off it.

Charter vs DirecTV – Installation and Bundled Services

DIRECTV remote control and usb pen drive.
Image via Custom USB/Flickr

One major difference between Charter and DirecTV is the installation process. Charter uses a cable network while DirecTV is a satellite service, and the process to get your TV up and running differs depending on your choice of provider.

Charter uses a cable network to deliver TV service. Cable is reliable and delivers great picture quality, and was previously the gold standard of TV and internet before the introduction of fiber optics. If your home is in the Charter service area, setup is often as simple as picking up a self-installation kit and plugging in a cable box. You can have your TV service up and running within a few minutes.

DirecTV’s satellite service requires a more involved installation. A technician will have to come to your house to install a Dish, and many people aren’t sure about the aesthetic impact it will have on their home. Additionally, satellite service is a little more unreliable than cable and is affected by weather conditions. During inclement weather, you may experience interruptions or other decreases in the quality of your service.

Although DirecTV’s installation is more involved, it generally won’t cost you much at all due to the commitment to a contract.

Charter, on the other hand, charges a fee of roughly $30 to activate your service.

Bundled services

If you’re looking to bundle internet or phone with your TV service, you’re generally going to be much better off with Charter. While DirecTV does offer discounted internet through a partnership with AT&T, the bundle deals aren’t as great of a deal when compared to Charter’s steep discounts. Charter is also way faster in terms of download speeds in most areas.

If you’re just in the market for TV service, either provider can suit your needs. As soon as you’re looking for additional services, Charter will usually come out on top.

Charter vs DirecTV TV service

Charter

  • Over 200 HD channels
  • More than 10,000 on-demand options
  • Mobile viewing using the Spectrum TV app
  • Large amount of sports options
  • Flat rate for DVR equipment

DirecTV

  • Fully-featured TiVo Genie DVR
  • Large amount of channels
  • Excellent DVR integration for tracking sports
  • 4K support
  • Watch TV on the go with the DirecTV app

Charter is the less expensive option and has fewer channels and plan options, but comes out ahead when considering on-demand content and sports channels.

DirecTV has a large number of channels, plans available at multiple price ranges, and an excellent Genie DVR service. The service is generally more expensive, however, and is not the premier choice for sports fans.

Spectrum vs DirecTV sports packages: Go with DirecTV

Charter

  • Comprehensive sports coverage with channels like Fox Sports, ESPN, NFL RedZone, NFL Network, MLB Network, NBC Golf and more.
  • Additional add-on channels like NHL Center Ice, NBA League Pass, MLS Direct Kick
    and MLB Extra Innings available for an additional fee.

DirecTV

  • Genie DVR allows you to keep score with multiple games at once.
  • Access to a wide variety sports networks with their base sports package.
  • Add-on options for sports like college sports, basketball, and soccer provide access to live coverage of your favorite sports.
While the Genie DVR has some useful integration when it comes to keeping track of more than one game, the service falls behind in terms of the sheer amount of sports offered.
Charter may not be as fancy, but they provide more channel options for the avid sports fan.

Equipment

As mentioned above, the DirecTV Genie DVR truly outclasses the Charter DVR. While the Charter DVR is a capable device that offers multi-room service for a low, flat rate, TiVo has been in the DVR business for years and has really perfected the technology.

A large variety of features put DirecTV ahead of the game when it comes to DVR service.

Charter Key Advantage: Low Prices, No Contracts and Comprehensive Sports Options

While DirecTV may offer more channels overall, Charter has a superior sports service and delivers its content at a lower price. Additionally, no required contracts means that you’re not obligated to stay if you’re unhappy with your service.

DirecTV Key Advantage: Wide Channel Selection and a Superior DVR

If getting the largest amount of channels is your chief concern, DirecTV may be the right provider for you. With a wide selection of content and a comprehensive Genie DVR that enhances the viewing experience, DirecTV is truly a solid choice for television service.

TV Nerd Take: DirecTV, for a Large Amount of Channels and Plans at Every Price

It’s difficult to declare a true “winner” in this battle between Charter and DirecTV, as both services have their pros and cons.

DirecTV offers a larger amount of channels, and has a wider selection of plans that are sure to suit your needs. While the provider is generally more expensive than Charter, the large amount of service tiers makes DirecTV accessible to most anyone.

While Charter is a budget buy, the low prices are often dependant on bundled services. If you’re looking to add in internet or phone service or are a huge sports fan, Charter may be the better option.

At the end of the day, however, DirecTV remains the more comprehensive TV provider when looking at the full picture.

Comments

  • Image of Mike
    Mike says
    10/20/2018

    Hi there. Have had DirecTv(current provider) or Dish since HD ready TVs came out. Switched to cable for a while but disappointed in the picture quality. That was many years ago and since I am mainly interested in picture quality how would you compare them for picture quality at this time? Thanks for your help.

    Reply

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