This article is about pitting some of the biggest television providers in the country against each other. It is a guide intended to assist buyers of television services in making the best choice. DIRECTV only offers television services. Thus, we will not compare other aspects of Time Warner such as Internet and phone services, although these services are available from AT&T, which is DIRECTV's parent company. Time Warner Cable is also transitioning their brand name to Spectrum.
Time Warner Cable served about 13 million subscribers in 2015. DIRECTV reported about 20 million subscriptions for its TV services. Both of these TV service providers have seen slight losses in subscribers or sluggish growth. The reason has been attributed to popular online services such as Hulu Plus and Netflix.
There are three service packages available on Time Warner Cable. They are the Preferred TV, Standard TV, and Starter TV. The Proffered Plan offer subscribers more than 200 hundred channels. The Standard option comes with slightly over 70 channels. The Starter TV plan comes with a minimum of 20 channels. Their prices range from $39.99 to $89.99 monthly. These fees are not inclusive of other aspects such as installation and taxation.
With Direct TV, you get five different types of packages. The price range starts from $50 to about $125. The packages currently offered are Premiere, which has over 315 channels. Ultimate, with over 240 channels, Extra, with about 220 channels, and Choice, with more than 175 channels. Finally, there is Entertainment, which has more than 150 channels. The price may come down or go up slightly due to other charges such installation and taxes. DIRECTV offers a calculator so that potential subscribers can understand what they will pay.
An interesting aspect of DIRECTV is NFL Sunday Ticket. It offers all the NFL games that are played on Sunday for the whole season. For a viewer to qualify for this service, they have to have the account in good standing. DirecTV renewed the contract in 2010, and they pay about $1 billion each year.
Time Warner Cable charges customers about $50 for each installation. The company will also charge subscribers $29.95 for the installation of a modem if they desire one. In total, a subscriber has to part with about $100 for all aspects of the installation. The installation fee for DIRECTV is waived if you sign up for the two-year agreement.
DIRECTV offers the highest number of HD channels. The company currently offers its subscribers over 200 HD channels. Besides that, there are the local HD options available on DIRECTV. On Time Warner Cable, customers get slightly over a hundred HD channels. Although the number of HD channels may differ by market, DIRECTV appears to have a clear lead in the number of HD channels.
DIRECTV says that their customers can access about 10,000 videos ON Demand free. In comparison, Time Warner offers customers over 18,000 movies and shows to its customers on demand. However, only 10,000 of these titles can be accessed free. The most notable figure here is the number of free on demand titles.
Equipment and Special Features
Time Warner offers its clients four types of DVR boxes. You can get at least 75 hours of HD in their simplest box and about 150 hours in HD in the top tier box. Time Warner Cable offers 100 hours in SD for their simplest DVR boxes. For all the other DVR boxes, customers can expect to get about 200 hours of SD. Time Warner Cable’s Enhanced Whole House HD-DVR allows you to record six channels simultaneously.
DIRECTV has a DVR box known as the DIRECTV Genie. The box comes with one terabyte of storage. With this box, you can record five TV channels simultaneously. With the larger capacity, you can record about 200 hours of HD. In addition, the Genie allows you to record about 800 hours of SD. In addition, DIRECTV comes with a small box that allows you to connect to other televisions within the house. You can watch about four TVs at the same time in different rooms. You need to fork out about $25 extra in order to access this service.
Watch TV and Movies Everywhere
DIRECTV allows you to live stream on your home PC. It is a relatively new service that was launched about a year ago. In addition, you can watch recorded or live TV from the comfort of your home. The company also lets subscribers access On Demand content using their smartphones and tablets. You can also purchase the GenieGO from DIRECTV. It allows you to copy movies and shows to your PC and other devices. Thus, you can still watch all your programs even when you have to travel. You will need to install the app provided by DIRECTV to enjoy its services on smartphones or tablets.
Time Warner Cable offers mobile services on its TWC TV app. As longer your subscription is still valid, you can watch all the Time Warner Cable channels via your device. In addition, you can use to manage your DVR recordings when you travel. Thus, you can configure it to record your favorite show, which you watch when you get back home. However, you need to have an internet connection at all times in order to watch the shows. There are also restrictions on some channels, which can only be watched at home.
With Time Warner, you will receive a special offer for bundles. Depending on the service plan you choose, you can get free installation or unlimited internet. The company also offers who house installation. The feature allows you to start watching a show in one room and finish in another one. Other offers that the company currently has are EPIX, HBO, Turbo Speeds, Wi-Fi Hotspots, and STARZ. For the TV only option, Time Warner Cable offers a free installation kit. It can help you cut down costs.
One of DIRECTV’s most enticing offers is the Sunday Ticket. The offer is made available to new customers who sign up for the Choice package or higher. The live games can be viewed on tablets, smartphones or PC. Besides that, customers can access the DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE. It is real time coverage of fantasy football. Customers of DIRECTV also get a free Genie HD DVR to connect to about five rooms. Besides that, DIRECTV is owned by AT&T. It allows people to get great deals for two years. The service also makes you eligible for the AT&T unlimited data offer.
Service Contract Periods
On Time Warner Cable, you do not need to sign on to long-term contracts. However, the company offers a number of promotional rates for those who sign 12-month contracts. On DIRECTV, you need to sign contracts that are 24 months long.
The cheapest service offered on Time Warner is called Basic TV. You will get 20 channels. The channels include free channels and some HD channels. The cost of this package is about $20 each month. DIRECTV also offers a budget package. The package offers people about 140+ channels. With this package, you also qualify for a free Genie upgrade. The service costs you $50.
Top Tier Packages
For those who like to get the most out of their viewing, you can get over 200 channels with time Warner’s top service. With the package, you will get Showtime/HBO, Look Back which lets you see premium shows three days after they are aired. There is Start Over; it lets you watch a show from the start when it is already halfway. You will also get TWC TV; a service that lets you watch time Warner programs on your mobile devices or PC. The Preferred TV Whole House DVR will cost you $89.99, which is not inclusive of taxes.
The DIRECTV premium package offers quite a lot. With their top package, you get 315+ channels. DIRECTV Premier Package has all the channels on offer. With this package, you get HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, STARZ, and ESPN. Besides those, you will also receive, Outdoor Channel, ESPN Classic, Comcast Sportsnet, Root Sports, and much more. The package costs about $125 a month. However, there are special offers for those who are signing up.
Although these services are equally matched, we find that Time Warner Cable offers a bit more services for the price. The biggest draw for DIRECTV is that they still have NFL Sunday Ticket. Another major draw for DIRECTV is that it offers you the ability to record a huge amount of shows, 800 hours of SD. The main reason people would choose Time Warner is that it lets you have freedom with a short-term contract.
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