DirecTV Stream vs Pluto TV: which is better?

Updated June 7, 2022 • Staff

DirecTV Stream and Pluto TV are both popular television streaming options for cord-cutters, but that's pretty much where their similarity stops. DirecTV Stream offers the most in-demand channels for a somewhat reasonable price, while Pluto TV touts a decent line-up of shows at absolutely no cost. 

Choosing one over the other, then, all comes down to need and preference: would you rather shell out for the best TV has to offer, or would you rather save up and simply tune in to the basics? In this article, we help you decide by providing a no-frills guide on how DirecTV Stream and Pluto TV measure up to one another.

Why get DirecTV Stream?

DirecTV Stream is a Live TV streaming platform with a twist: you can download the app on any of your existing devices, or for a $120, you can get a box with a custom remote control for the service. But without the box, DirecTV Stream functions like a Netflix or Hulu, allowing you to stream Live TV from anywhere by downloading the app. Within your home, you can stream on up to 20 devices (!), and from outside your home you can stream on up to three devices.

Go to DirecTV Stream

Why get Pluto TV Live?

I’ll say it again: it’s free! It’s also super easy to access. The app is available on most Smart TVs and streaming devices, and if you don’t have either of those, you can just pull up the website and watch from your computer.

Go to Pluto TV Live

Devices: Pluto TV Live is more widely available than DirecTV Stream

Pluto TV Live is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Roku, Virgin Media, Vizio SmartCast, webOS, Xbox One or Xbox Series X/S.

Whereas DirecTV Stream is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Roku TV or Samsung TV. That's 6 less devices than Pluto TV Live.

Channel count: DirecTV Stream has 41 channels more than Pluto TV Live

DirecTV Stream's lineup includes 70 channels whereas Pluto TV Live has only 29 channels. Getting a subscription to DirecTV Stream will give you access to 41 more channels than Pluto TV Live. That's quite a bit of channels.

Trial: DirecTV Stream offers a trial

DirecTV Stream has a trial. The trial duration is 5 days.

Find out more on DirecTV Stream

Trial: Pluto TV Live does not offer a trial

Pluto TV Live does not offer a free trial.

Find out more on Pluto TV Live

DirecTV Stream's specialty

The specialties of DirecTV Stream are: Lifestyle, News, Sports.

Pluto TV Live's specialty

The specialties of Pluto TV Live are: News.

Channels on DirecTV Stream and not Pluto TV Live

The channels that DirecTV Stream has and which are not available on Pluto TV Live:

  • A&E
  • ABC
  • Animal Planet
  • AXS TV
  • Baby First TV
  • BBC America
  • BET
  • Boomerang
  • Bravo
  • C-SPAN
  • C-SPAN2
  • Cartoon Network
  • CMT
  • CNBC
  • CNN en Espanol
  • Comedy Central
  • Discovery
  • Disney Channel
  • Disney Jr
  • Disney XD
  • E! Entertainment
  • ESPN
  • ESPN2
  • ESPN3
  • Food Network
  • Fox Business Network
  • Fox News Channel
  • Fox Sports 1
  • Freeform
  • FX
  • FXX
  • Galavision
  • Gem Shopping Network
  • Hallmark Channel
  • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  • HGTV
  • History
  • HLN
  • Home Shopping Network
  • Investigation Discovery
  • Lifetime
  • MotorTrend
  • MSNBC
  • MTV
  • MTV2
  • One America News
  • Ovation
  • Paramount Network
  • QVC
  • QVC2
  • ReelzChannel
  • REVOLT
  • RFD-TV
  • SundanceTV
  • SYFY
  • TBS
  • TCM
  • TeenNick
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • truTV
  • Univision East
  • USA Network
  • VH1
  • Vice
  • WE tv

Channels on Pluto TV Live and not DirecTV Stream

The channels that Pluto TV Live has which are not available on DirecTV Stream:

  • BBC Food
  • BBC Home
  • Bein Sports XTRA
  • CBS Sports HQ
  • CBSN
  • Check with Pluto TV for the full channel lineup
  • Cheddar News
  • ET Live
  • Food TV
  • Major League Soccer
  • MLB
  • NBC News Now
  • Newsmax
  • NFL Channel
  • Nosey
  • People TV
  • PGA Tour
  • Pluto Channels
  • Sky News
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • Stories AMC
  • TBN
  • Today
  • TV Land Drama
  • WeatherNation
  • WPT

Channels on both Pluto TV Live and DirecTV Stream

The channels that are available on both Pluto TV Live and DirecTV Stream are:

  • AMC
  • Bloomberg Television
  • CNN
  • TV Land

If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.

Pluto TV is a modern take on traditional cable: it has hundreds of channels streaming live, a huge library of on demand content, and it’s supported by ads. But the key difference from the competition? It’s totally free.

Price: free for 29 channels available

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Roku, Virgin Media, Vizio SmartCast, webOS, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S

Channel lineup: BBC Food, BBC Home, Bein Sports XTRA, Bloomberg Television, CBS Sports HQ, CBSN, Check with Pluto TV for the full channel lineup, Cheddar News, CNN, ET Live, Food TV, Fox Sports, Major League Soccer, MLB, NBC News Now, Newsmax, NFL Channel, Nosey, People TV, PGA Tour, Pluto Channels, Sky News, Smithsonian Channel, Stories AMC, TBN, Today, TV Land Drama, WeatherNation, WPT

Ready to cut the cord? Here is a recap of all the 100+ streaming services that are competing for your subscription.

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The streaming services on this page were chosen by our editors. If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.