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Should You Buy A DirecTV Stream Device? It Depends

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DirecTV Stream has its own device that subscribers can either pay monthly for or buy outright. Although there are much better streaming players out there, some may find the DirecTV Stream device to be a better option for their individual home’s needs. Here we’ll take a look at some of those reasons when it might be worth giving the device a try, as well as some of the reasons why it might be worth skipping this streaming player.

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First up, the price. The DirecTV Stream Device, that’s actually its official name, can be added to any of the DirecTV Stream plans for an additional $5 per month. For those that would prefer to just buy the device outright, the player costs $120. Whichever option is preferred, the device can be added to the plan when signing up. If planning to take advantage of a free trial then don’t expect to actually get the device in time. This device is really only for those that intend to pay and remain subscribed to the live TV service.

In terms of what’s on offer, the DirecTV Stream Device runs on Android TV and has access to the Google Play Store making it possible to download other Android TV apps on the device. It also comes with its own remote that supports voice controls and searches through the Google Assistant. The DirecTV Stream Device also support 4K and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, and accessories such as game controllers and headphones can easily be connected thanks to the device’s Bluetooth support.

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Whether a consumer should buy the DirecTV Stream Device for their home will depend on a number of factors. First, here are some of the reasons and situations when it might make sense to pick up a DirecTV Stream player over another device.

When to consider the DirecTV Stream Device

The DirecTV Stream Device is pretty much tailor-made for DirecTV Stream. If already sure that DirecTV Stream is the right live TV streaming service, then it may make sense to actually buy a player that’s also designed for the service and one that puts the live TV experience front and center. For example, third-party apps are accessed from within the DirecTV Stream interface instead of apps being the focal point of the home screen and the user having to download the DirecTV Stream app. Essentially, if consumers are looking for a device that prioritizes live TV over everything else, the DirecTV Stream Device is one of them.

DirecTV Stream Device Home Screen
Source: DirecTV Stream

Although DirecTV Stream is compatible with a number of devices, any smart TVs and streaming players that are powered by Android TV are not supported. Strangely, this is in spite of the DirecTV Stream Device being an Android TV device. Regardless, if really wanting to use DirecTV Stream for live TV, and use an Android TV device at the same time, then the DirecTV Stream Device is going to be the only real option.

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It might also be worth considering by any homes that are currently considering making the switch from DirecTV to DirecTV Stream. If already familiar with the DirecTV satellite service, and its Genie device in particular, then it might make sense to opt for the DirecTV Stream Device. Consumers will get a similar, albeit not exactly the same, experience, reducing the potential of any learning curve involved with buying and navigating a new device.

Reasons to try:

  • Built for DirecTV Stream
  • Only supported Android TV device
  • Familiar experience for DirecTV customers

When to avoid the DirecTV Stream Device

Even though there are reasons to consider the device, there are some reasons to avoid it as well, with device support being the main one. DirecTV Stream is compatible with a number of devices including select smart TVs, streaming players and more. For most households, they will already likely have access to a device that DirecTV Stream can be downloaded on, removing the need to buy DirecTV Stream’s player. As long as a device is supported, the DirecTV Stream app can be downloaded and signed in using the subscription information provided after signing up.

DirecTV Stream Apple TV
DirecTV Stream app on Apple TV

If not planning to stay subscribed to DirecTV Stream, or unsure of whether this is the right service, then it is probably best to avoid the DirecTV Stream Device. At least for now. Although other apps and streaming services can be installed on the DirecTV Stream Device, it is fairly expensive for what it offers and consumers will certainly find plenty of streaming players they can buy at a cheaper price. Once again, they will just need to make sure that any third-party streaming player they pick up is a device that’s compatible with DirecTV Stream before buying.

With apps available to download directly on the player from the Play Store, a Google account will also be required to really maximize the streaming experience. If more tied to Apple’s ecosystem, then this may prove to be an additional annoyance. In these instances, it makes more sense to simply pick up an Apple TV device instead. Apple’s own streaming player has access to the company’s App Store and the DirecTV Stream app can be downloaded on the device from the App Store.

Reasons to avoid:

  • If unsure of DirecTV Stream
  • Better devices available
  • Not ideal for Apple device users

DirecTV Stream Device summary

Overall, most homes probably should skip the DirecTV Stream Device. Even though there are a number of benefits to having DirecTV’s streaming player, pretty much all of them are available with many other devices, and often at a much cheaper price than the DirecTV Stream Device. If opting for an alternative device then consumers will want to make sure it is compatible with the live TV service.

For those that are sure DirecTV Stream is the right service for them, and plan to use the service over the long-term, then it may be worth considering the DirecTV Stream player. Even then, it might still be worth checking some other streaming players out first, just to make sure the DirecTV Stream Device is the best option for them and their household.

John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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