DIRECTV NOW vs PlayStation Vue: Comparing the Live Streaming Services

These days, cutting the cord is easier than ever, thanks to the help of several quality online streaming services. Everyone knows about Netflix and other on-demand streaming services, but there’s now a new breed of service in town: the live streaming services! Two of the biggest players in the industry are DIRECTV NOW and PlayStation Vue. Today, we’re going to compare DIRECTV NOW vs PlayStation Vue to help you decide which is the best service for you.

To start things off, let’s first get one thing clear: these services are very similar in what they provide. Basically, they both provide a way to watch live TV without cable. With either service, you can watch many of your favorite TV shows, movies, sports, news and more – all live, from a variety of devices. With that said, there are some distinct differences in the two services, which we’ll outline below in our PlayStation Vue vs DIRECTV NOW review. Let’s get started with the basics!

 

What is DIRECTV NOW?

directv now review

DIRECTV NOW is a brand new streaming service that was just launched in late 2016. It’s a product of DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T – so while the service itself is new, it’s backed by a long-established company.. Here are the basics of this service:

  • Packages start from $35 a month, offering 60+ channels
  • Up to 100+ channels are available in the bigger packages
  • Allows you to watch live TV without cable
  • You can watch from select streaming devices, computers, mobile devices
  • No contract required
  • A free 7-day trial is available – try it now

For a complete review of DIRECTV NOW, head over to our full review here.

 

What is PlayStation Vue?

vue

PlayStation Vue is an established online streaming service brought to you by Sony. Originally the service was only for PlayStation devices, but now it works on several devices. It’s been established for over a year, so it’s got a bit more of a track record than DIRECTV NOW. Here are the basics:

  • Packages start from $30 a month for 45+ channels
  • In some areas, packages start at $40 per month
  • Online streaming of live TV
  • No contract required
  • You can watch from many major streaming devices, PS3/PS4, etc.
  • Free 7 day trial is available

For more information on the service, head over to our PlayStation Vue review. Or, keep reading for our full comparison of DIRECTV NOW vs PlayStation Vue.

 

DIRECTV NOW vs PlayStation Vue: Channels

Since we’ve already gone over the basics, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the things that set these two services apart; including their respective channel selections. Both services offer an impressive array of channels, but each has various different packages and price points. Take a look:

Here are the PlayStation Vue channels in basic package ($30/month):

PlayStation Vue channels

Here are the PlayStation Vue channels in their biggest package ($65/month)

vue-channels-premium

PlayStation Vue also has two intermediate packages, priced at $35 and $45 a month, respectively. You can see the full channel list in our PlayStation Vue review.

DIRECTV NOW has just about every channel Vue has (plus many more), and it starts at $35 a month for the basic package of 60+ channels and goes up from there.

Bottom line: Both services offer an impressive array of channels. Vue has a slightly lower price point, with the basic package $30 a month vs $35 a month for DIRECTV NOW. One huge bonus of DIRECTV NOW is that it allows you to add HBO to any package for only $5 a month – which is the lowest available price for an HBO subscription. Also, PlayStation Vue recently dropped all Viacom channels (including Comedy Central, MTV, etc.), which is not a good sign for the future of the service.

 

PlayStation Vue vs DIRECTV NOW: Devices

Like all cable-free streaming services, you’ll need a device to watch PlayStation Vue or DIRECTV NOW. Each service is compatible with slightly different devices, which we’ll cover below:

DIRECTV NOW Devices:

  • Streaming players, including Chromecast, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Note that Roku is NOT supported yet (but should be sometime in 2017)
  • Select smart TVs
  • Mobile devices (Android/iOS)
  • Web browsers (PC/Mac/Laptop)

PlayStation Vue Devices:

  • Streaming devices including Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire TV
  • Mobile devices (iOS and Android). Do note that there are restrictions for viewing outside of your home
  • Gaming consoles (PS3 and PS4)

Bottom line: Both devices support around the same number of devices, with a few key differences. In our opinion, DIRECTV NOW is a winner in the device compatibility section, as they support Apple TV and web-browser streaming, whereas Vue does not. With that said, Vue supports Roku, while DIRECTV NOW does not. Also of note, both services support streaming on mobile devices, but Vue has severe restrictions relating to viewing live TV outside of your home (which kinda defeats the purpose of watching on mobile devices!) DIRECTV NOW does not have these mobile restrictions. Given that DIRECTV NOW recently launched, we expect them to continue adding new devices (including Roku), which will definitely secure their upper hand in the device category.

 

DIRECTV NOW vs PlayStation Vue: Features

In the most basic sense, these two services are pretty similar in that they both allow you to watch live TV on a variety of streaming devices. Essentially, if a program, show, movie, or sporting event is live on a TV station that is offered by one of these services, you can use that service to watch the event live – just like if you had cable.

With that said, there are some noteworthy differences. For one, the way the two devices handle on-demand content is different. DIRECTV NOW essentially has a 3-day “catch up” window on select channels, which allows you to stream episodes you may have missed over the last few days on-demand. Vue does not have on-demand, per se, but they do have a cloud DVR feature that allows you to record shows for later. DIRECTV NOW does not currently have a DVR feature, but they plan on adding one soon.

As for interface/usability, we think that DIRECTV NOW is a clear winner. The DIRECTV NOW interface is very smooth, and has a grid-like layout that will be very familiar to those switching over from cable TV. Vue’s interface, on the other hand, works great on PS3/PS4 and Amazon Fire TV, but is a bit clunky on the other supported devices.

For simultaneous viewing, Vue can support up to 5 devices at once, while DIRECTV NOW supports only 2 devices at a time. For most people, this isn’t a big deal, but for large families Vue is a clear winner in this regard.

Also, both of these services allow you to authenticate certain “TV Everywhere” apps that allow you to watch certain channels on-the-go. For instance, there’s the WatchESPN app, the HBO Go app, etc. Both services support these type of apps, however Vue supports a few more than DIRECTV NOW, at least at this point.

Bottom line: In this section, it’s tough to pick a clear winner. We think that DIRECTV NOW has a better interface and is easier to use, and it’s also a winner in the on-demand category. On the other hand, Vue supports multi-streaming on up to 5 devices (vs 2 for DIRECTV NOW), offers a cloud DVR, and allows access to more 3rd-party streaming apps. In the end, we’ll call this section of the PlayStation Vue vs DIRECTV NOW comparison a draw.

 

DIRECTV NOW vs PlayStation Vue: Special Deals

Since you now know the basics of how these services work, you’re probably ready to choose one and start watching! But before you do that, consider some of the limited-time deals that these services are offering:

DIRECTV NOW Special Deals

PlayStation Vue Special Deals

  • Try the service out for free for 7 days

Obviously, DIRECTV NOW knocks it out of the park in this category, offering several great free device deals, as well as a limited-time discount on their premium package. Vue offers a free trial, but, well – that’s it.

Bottom line: DIRECTV NOW is a clear winner in the special deals department. If you need a streaming device, go for one of the free device deals. If you want a ton of channels, DIRECTV NOW has the best value right now.

 

DirecTV Now vs PlayStation Vue: Bottom Line

It’s a tough call, but at this point in time, we believe that DIRECTV NOW is a better overall service. It’s $5 more a month, sure, but it offers more channels, a better interface, and better on-demand streaming capabilities. DIRECTV NOW is also offering several killer sign-up deals, including free devices or a deep discount on their premium package.

With that said, both of these services are great, and we would not hesitate to recommend either one. Vue certainly does have some distinct advantages over DIRECTV NOW, but when you look at the whole picture, DIRECTV NOW is the winner.

Bottom line: For most people, we recommend DIRECTV NOW. Click here to try it free for 7 days!

 

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Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is a writer, traveler, and cord-cutting expert based in the rainy but beautiful Pacific North West.
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Austin Meadows