Difference Between U-Verse & Direct TVby Cyrano Jones ; Updated September 22, 2017
DirecTV and U-verse both offer options for television beyond the over the air broadcast channels that anyone can get for free with an antenna and a television set, yet they are quite different offerings. The delivery for each is different as well as the features and breadth of services offered. DirecTV offers only satellite television while U-verse offers television and other services over your Internet connection.
AT&T's U-verse service offers a variety of options for its customers. It's not just a television service, U-verse is also for Internet and phone services, if you choose to opt into them. Plans are offered separately for each service. The television service is delivered over the Internet connection and offers a broad range of local and cable/satellite channels. U-verse is currently only offered in a few areas of the United States. AT&T offers a tool on their website to check the service's availability.
DirecTV is a satellite television company that offers television packages. The packages range from basic channel offerings to all-encompassing television packages that include premium movie channels and high-definition DVR (digital video recording) capabilities. DirecTV is widely available in the United States.
Channel Offering and Package Differences
On the whole, DirecTV and U-verse offer the same channels as just about any cable or satellite provider with comparable prices. U-verse offers more channels in its higher-priced packages and has more packages than DirecTV. U-verse's packages tend to have more channels but cost more, and U-verse charges to add high-definition (HD) channels until its highest priced package. DirecTV offers HD channels with no additional charge for all but their lowest priced package.
DVR Offering Differences
One of the major differences in the offerings by DirecTV and U-verse is the DVR. Both DirecTV and U-verse offer DVR as part of their packages but DirecTV charges an additional fee for DVR services for all of their packages. U-verse only charges a DVR fee on two of their basic packages, and the service is included in the higher-priced packages. The DVR services are comparable with both offering HD DVR capabilities for HD Channels but U-verse offers the ability to record more shows at a time than DirecTV, offering four simultaneous recordings compared to DirecTV's two.
One of the key differences in these services is availability. DirecTV is widely available across the United States. U-verse is expanding availability but is only available in 22 states. This availability difference is important not just in initial adoption of the service, but it's worth considering as a point should a customer have a profession or lifestyle that may require they move outside of the current service area for U-verse.