Sling TV vs. DirecTV Now vs. PlayStation Vue: How Do They Compare?

Bryan Wolfe 16-01-2017

Cutting the cord Cut the Cord Forever With These 15 TV Streaming Channels Cable TV is in decline, as the internet provides cheap, on-demand entertainment. Here are 15 of the best TV streaming services to help you cut the cord. Read More has never been easier thanks to the steady introduction of over-the-top (OTT) internet television services. In 2015, Dish introduced Sling TV, and Sony launched PlayStation Vue. In 2016, AT&T launched DirecTV Now.


In this article, you’ll learn about the important differences between the three services, including the packages each one offers and the price you can expect to pay.

Sling TV

Sling TV, which is owned by Dish Network, was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2015. The service is available on multiple platforms, including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Mac/PC, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox One, and more.


Sling TV allows you to stream live shows and on-demand entertainment, including television shows and films. Many, but not all, of the channels, give you the ability to pause live programming.

Sling TV Catalog Example

While Sling TV doesn’t currently offer DVR capabilities like those found on PlayStation Vue, they are coming. In late 2016, the company began beta testing the feature on Roku devices 10 Clever Tricks for Your Roku Roku boxes are incredibly easy to set up and use, but there are lots of little tips and tricks that will vastly improve your experience. Here are 10 of the best... Read More . The ability to save content to an online cloud should launch device-wide in 2017.


Packages and Price

Unlike PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now, Sling TV offers two base packages that are easily enhanced by $5 add-on packages. This includes:

  • Sling Orange ($20), which includes 30+ channels, including ESPN and CNN.
  • Sling Blue ($25), which features 40+ channels, including FOX and NBC.

For $45 per month, you can combine Sling Orange and Sling Blue, giving you around 50 channels. With a Sling Blue account, you can stream content on up to three devices at the same time. With Sling Orange, you can only stream content on one device at a time.

To date, there are eight add-on packages available, including Sports Extras, Kids Extras, News Extras, and more.

Sling TV loading screen


New users can typically try Sling TV free for seven days. Dish also often offers promotional deals, such as an Apple TV for $89 when you subscribe for three months, or a free Roku Express when you prepay for a month of service. You can find the latest deals by visiting the Sling TV website.

DirecTV Now

The newest OTT internet television service launched in November 2016. Unlike DirecTV, DirecTV Now is available without a long-term satellite subscription. At launch, the service is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. You can also watch DirecTV Now via a web browser on your PC or Mac.


DirecTV Now lacks many of the features found on other services. First, it doesn’t offer a DVR service, at least for now. Additionally, some key channels are so far missing from the service, including CBS, NFL RedZone, Showtime, and many others. Additionally, DirecTV Now streaming is limited to two devices at a time.

DirecTV catalog example


Mobile is the one area where DirecTV Now already leapfrogs the competition, courtesy of parent company AT&T. If you’re a current AT&T Wireless customer, you can stream DirecTV Now via a mobile device without it counting against your data limit. This is a great perk, especially for frequent travelers.

Packages and Price

At launch, DirecTV offers four uniquely named packages, including:

  • Live a Little ($35) offers more than 60 channels, including ABC and ESPN.
  • Just Right ($50) includes up to 80 channels, including OWN and Sundance TV.
  • Go Big ($60) features more than 100 channels, including the Tennis Channel and Discovery Life.
  • Gotta Have It ($70) includes 120 channels, including STARZ.

In addition to the packages noted, customers can add HBO and Cinemax The 15 Best HBO Shows That Make It Worth the Money If you're considering subscribing to HBO, these are the best HBO shows that we think make it worth the money. Read More for $5 per month for each one.

DirecTV Now logo


You can try DirecTV Now free for seven days. Like Sling TV, DirecTV Now also offers the occasional promotion, such as a free Apple TV with a prepaid three-month subscription.

PlayStation Vue

First introduced in March 2015, PlayStation Vue features a combination of live television and on-demand video Would You Pay $50 to Watch a Movie at Home? The Screening Room plans to stream new movies to your home on the day they're released in theaters. The catch? Each fill will cost you $50. Are you in? Read More to stream TV shows, movies, and sports. Though initially offered only on PlayStation consoles The Ultimate History Of The PlayStation Brand Want to know more about where the PlayStation came from? We have all you need to know, right here! Read More , the service is now available on other platforms, including iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Google Chromecast.


PlayStation Vue is the only internet television service to offer cloud-based DVR currently. With this feature, you can capture hundreds of hours of programming for later viewing. Just tag your favorite shows, which are then automatically saved to the cloud.

PlayStation Vue catalog example

Finding something to watch through PlayStation Vue begins with the built-in guide, sorted by the name of the channel. From there, you can search by show name, or explore by category, genres, and more. You can also tag your favorite channels, which puts them ahead of the others on the main screen.

With PlayStation Vue, you can stream different content on up to five devices at the same time.

Packages and Price

PlayStation Vue offers four subscription packages, beginning at $30 per month:

  • The 45-channel Access Slim package ($30) is highlighted by ESPN and Disney channels.
  • The 60-channel Core package ($45) features Access Slim HD channels plus regional and national sports networks.
  • The 90-channel Elite package ($55) adds more sports, movie, and entertainment networks.
  • The Ultra Slim package ($65) includes everything found on the Elite package plus HBO and Showtime channels.

Add-on packages are also available, depending on the base package you select. For example, you can add an Español Pack starting at $4 per month.

PlayStation Vue logo

You can try PlayStation Vue free for seven days. Special promotions are sometimes available.

About Local Channels

Location is important when it comes to accessing local broadcast networks on OTT internet services.

Local Broadcast Network Logos

At Sling TV, FOX, NBC, ABC, Univision, and Unimas are only available in select markets. DirecTV Now only provides live streaming in select markets for ABC and FOX. NBC local channels are currently unavailable using streaming devices or smart TVs.

PlayStation Vue offers similar restrictions. None of the three services currently offers CBS streaming.

Which OTT Streaming Service Is Best?

Are you ready to cut the cord Canceled Cable? 8 Streaming TV Apps to Fill the Void If you have canceled cable you may be wondering what to watch next. These streaming TV apps may be the answer, as they offer a traditional viewing experience. Read More ? Sling TV’s entry-level package is the least expensive option on this list. However, as you select add-on packages, the monthly price can rise quickly. PlayStation Vue has the advantage of being the only service to offer DVR capabilities, while DirecTV Now is an ideal solution for current AT&T Wireless customers looking to stream on mobile devices.

The bottom line: OTT internet television services will continue to mature 7 Pitfalls of Cord-Cutting You Should Consider First Before you cut the cord to save yourself some money, there are a few things you should be aware of. Read More as new options become available. Each service comes with a standard trial offer and no long-term commitment. Some also come with excellent promotional offers such as a free or discounted Apple TV.

Which all leads us to suggest that your best bet is to try each of these service to see which one you like best. We at least hope this article has been useful in detailing the basic information about all three services. But the rest is up to you.

Do you subscribe to one of these OTT television services? If so, which one? What made you choose that one over the others available? Would you recommend your current service to others? If not, why not? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: bikeriderlondon via Shutterstock.com

Related topics: DirecTV, Media Streaming, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Amber
    June 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I've tried all three but I think the best deal is psvue. It streamed better with less lag and for the price had the best channel options.

  2. Dave-Pi
    February 26, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    I looked at Sling-TV, Direct TV Now, and Play Station Vue using two devices, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Play Station Vue with Amazon Fire TV was the winner for me. Reason: It provides a "tradition" guide similar to the guide of Dish Network or Direct TV satellite services. Play Station view has a cloud DVR, that will save recorded programs for 30 days and it works; plus you can rewind and fast forward. Play Station Vue $35 package with, $12 Netflix, $12 Hulu (commercial free); gives me more content than I can possibly watch. Suggest: do your research, see if you agree.

  3. Jack
    February 10, 2017 at 8:33 pm


    I have tried Sling TV. It wasn't that good at initial onset a few years back so I canceled. I tried again in October of 2016, they still had the same issues. I got in on the Go Big Directv Now with a free Apple TV and Fire Stick (got two for $35). The price has yet to increase. I have not had any problems at all. Many complained of streaming issues which made me skeptical. The Fire TV version acts "funny" sometimes, but the Apple TV version is flawless. $35 a month for the Go Big was a steal. I cut my cable the day after the Super Bowl. I don't have streaming issues because I have fiber directly to my house. Go Stimulus package of 2008 (rural fiber)! I still have to pay local cable for local networks since I can't get an over the air signal in my location. Overall, Directv Now is great for me. When they add DVR service or the 72 hour rewind like advertised, it will be amazing. Vue doesn't have all the channels and cost more. The only advantage is the NFL network on Vue.

  4. Bryan Wolfe
    January 28, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    Thrilled with all of the comments. This is definitely a topic we'll need to keep an eye on in the coming months and years.

  5. Kevin Bragdon
    January 18, 2017 at 3:25 am

    Actually, if you order both blue and orange at the same time, Sling will give it to you for$40.00/month.

  6. Elizabeth
    January 18, 2017 at 2:00 am

    As others have pointed out, Playstation Vue does offer CBS in a number of locations. I've tried Sling, the now-defunct SFN, and finally settled on Vue as the best of the three for my needs. If DirectTV offers a smaller package adds a cloud DVR, quits giving preferential treatment to AT&T customers and irons out their bugs, I might try them. I'm way more interested in Hulu's upcoming service.

  7. SandyLou
    January 17, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    I've had Directv Now since early December and am very happy with it. Sure there have been a few hiccups, but they have been fixed quickly and after all it's still a baby and we can expect some growing pains. That being said, its way better than my cable TV was and I'd never go back. A big plus - if you are an AT&T cell phone customer there are no additional data charges. I watch mainly on my iPad. I imagine any plan would eat bandwidth pretty fast, so free data is a big deal for me.

  8. Infinitespartan
    January 17, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    I've used both Sling and PS Vue which I currently use today. Sling had numerous buffering issues when I had it for the 7 months before PS Vue was released. Switching to PS Vue made the quality of the picture and packing much better at that time plus the DVR functionality that we use religiously.

    The only downside is the guide is not available on Roku and my Fire Stick can't handle the streams well enough.

    Losing Viacom was a little bit of a bummer but the ESPN channels, TNT/TBS, BTN and local channel DVR was my primary need. I'm in the Columbus areas and we have the live CBS stream as well.

    Fire app, Roku app, iOS app and Android app all work great.

    I highly recommend PS Vue!

  9. Cheetoresidue
    January 17, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I have had all 3 with sling being the least reliable. Playstation vue is the most polished, best features, most streams and least issues. I now have direct tv now due to ps vue losing Viacom channels I got the promo for 40 a month with HBO . Directv now needs to work on its reliability issues , it's almost as crappy as sling. I would jump back to ps vue in a heartbeat if they got back Viacom channels like nikolodean for my kids.

    • Diggles
      January 17, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      Exactly. PS Vue would be the best if they didn't lose Viacom. I'm using Directv Now and once it gets the kinks out I think it'll do just fine.

  10. pat
    January 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I've had really great success with Sling. Some issues early on, but the last year has been great.

    Tried PlayStation Vue and liked it, but couldn't get one key channel (sportstime Ohio, the Cleveland Indians main station)

    Tried DirecTV now and it was a disaster - freezing, error codes, no sound, just bad.

  11. Cheapthycabledotcom
    January 17, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I use the PlayStation vue. I love it. It made the transition to court cutting easy for me and my family. Saves $60 or so dollars a month.

  12. TimG
    January 17, 2017 at 8:52 am

    I currently have PS Vue and it's fine especially for price and selection. Haven't used the dvr function yet. Very few problems with streaming. Not fond of the guide, but it's ok. Due to channel offerings I might look at Direct TV now, but I'm having trouble getting free trial on my FireTV. Does have some channels I'd like to have. But overall I recommend PS Vue for the cost, selection and dvr.

  13. Jay Sharma
    January 17, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I actually subscribe to sling tv for 2 plus years now and I just signed up for direct tv now as well. Sling tv had its flaws when it launched and so does direct tv. However, sling problem was more hardware related but picture streaming and architecture of setup was good . Direct tv on the other hand sucks right out the gate. Picture freezing, sound but no picture and complete freeze to name a few. Sling tv now is the king . Super smooth on roki hardware. I signed up to test Hulu beta as well. In my opinion, sling tv will keep dominating. Not sure why we need DVR for sling tv when you can watch previous show's for last 7 days anyway

  14. Gabriel
    January 17, 2017 at 6:09 am

    I want to make a correction I reside In the Chicago area and PlayStation Vue indeed provide CBS streaming service .

  15. Mary mmmmm
    January 17, 2017 at 3:56 am

    I've got Sling TV from day 1, it is horrible you can't rely on it you cross your fingers you are not getting a error code. What works now might not work later. Constant buffering top stations have horrible quality if they even work. My neighbor used to be a VP for Direct TV and says they will be bankrupt in 18 months. Save your money.

    • have2correctURbs
      January 17, 2017 at 7:18 am

      Sounds like your neighbor is just angry/vengeful. I am watching Sling witbout ANY error right this moment. Playstation Vue gave me so many errors, had it since day one. I really really, really, really really wanted it to work but couldn't handle the errors and jumpiness and complete and utter failures of the dvr "system". I do not get my fav. channel on Sling though, Vue had it. None of your biz what it was. Peace out.

      • Have to correct ur bs
        January 17, 2017 at 4:24 pm

        Haha lol. She said a Vp for direct tv. Not sling. Sling is owned by dish.

      • Have to correct ur bs
        January 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        Haha lol she said her neighbor was a"DIRECTV " vp not a dish vp. Sling is not affiliated with DIRECTV

  16. Nicholas Hott
    January 17, 2017 at 3:56 am

    I've got Sling TV from day 1, it is horrible you can't rely on it you cross your fingers you are not getting a error code. What works now might not work later. Constant buffering top stations have horrible quality if they even work. My neighbor used to be a VP for Direct TV and says they will be bankrupt in 18 months. Save your money.

    • have2correctURbs
      January 17, 2017 at 7:20 am

      WTF Now I know you are a troll. Posting the same BS from two dif. named accounts. go away faker!

    • James W McInvaille
      January 17, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Agreed, this is a troll, please block. I used Sling early on without issue. Trying DirecTV now with way too many issues as everyone says but u did the three month free Apple TV option so they have until March to fix the crap. If sling releases the beta DVR before then I'll be back to them.

  17. Doug
    January 17, 2017 at 2:40 am

    We use Playstation vue. I love the DVR and the great selection. I wish the guide was like sling tv on roku but it's not a deal breaker

  18. Nerdrow
    January 17, 2017 at 2:35 am

    PlayStation Vue currently offers all 4 "local" networks including CBS in select markets. They're currently the only service to do so and, ironically, added more CBS affiliates this week. I've personally used all 3 services; DirectTV Now is unusably unstable, SlingTV and PS Vue are about even, but PS Vue gets the nod for DVR; OnDemand for either doesn't cover all shows on all networks, so DVR is actually relevant, and PS Vue does it right with unlimited cloud storage for 30 days.

  19. Michael Caley
    January 17, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I have have Direct TV Now from day 1, it is horrible you can't rely on it you cross your fingers you are not getting a error code. What works now might not work later.

  20. Michael S.
    January 17, 2017 at 1:35 am

    The information about none of the 3 services offer CBS streaming is incorrect. In select markets, such as the one in which I reside, offers streaming CBS.

  21. Josh
    January 16, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I've had Sling TV since day one and absolutely love it. Pricing and options are great and I rarely have streaming issues. I gave Direct TV a shot (only because I was looking to purchase an Apple TV anyways) and basically gave up on it. My service continues into March and I've already gone back to Sling TV (essentially eating the cost of the service). Don't get me wrong, there will always be hiccups when launching a service such as this, but Direct TV NOW was almost unusable. I don't think I ever got through a full episode or movie without multiple crashes/errors. On top of that, their service (I mean it is AT&T, so we all know their customer service record rivals Comcast) is absolutely dreadful. My experience chatting with an agent was more or less, you paid for it....deal with it! I have heard good things about Sony's PlayPtation Vue service as well but I haven't had a chance to try it.

    • Dj
      January 17, 2017 at 5:26 am

      Directv now is the best one to me had it for a month now had a few problems since i moved to y w house no problem the internet you guys got just suck

      • Cheetoresidue
        January 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm

        I have time Warner internet with a 100 mobs plan. I just upgraded my router to an net gear AC gaming router. My internet speeds and consistency is flawless. It's direct tv server's and badly Coded app.They suck as of now but I expect it to get better as ps vue even had similar issues in the beginning. I had sling, ps vue and as of last month switched to direct tv now.