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DirecTV Stream price increase rolls out to customers

A DirecTV satellite installation van in Ypsilanti Township, Michigan. (Photo by Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

After more than a month of warnings, DirecTV Stream has rolled out its price increase on current customers.

The price increase took effect on Sunday. The majority of DirecTV Stream customers will see their bill increase by $5 on their renewal date, though some could pay $10 more, depending on the package.

In a note to customers last month, a DirecTV official said the price hike was needed to offset the rising cost of programming. Like other services, DirecTV pays the owners of broadcast and cable networks for retransmission rights to their channels. Over the last few years, those fees have gone up, and they’re passed along to customers in the form of higher bills.

These are the new prices for DirecTV Stream’s current programming packages…

  • Entertainment: $75 a month (up from $60 a month)
  • Choice: $100 a month (up from $90 a month)
  • Ultimate: $110 a month (up from $105 a month)
  • Premiere: $155 a month (up from $150 a month)

Customers who were grandfathered into older DirecTV Stream packages will also have their bills increased:

  • Optimo Mas will increase by $4,
  • Live a Little and Entertainment packages will increase by $5,
  • Just Right, Choice and Xtra packages will increase by $8, and
  • Go Big, Gotta Have It, Plus (Midas), Plus (Midas, no HBO), Max (Midas) and Ultimate will increase by $10.

Subscribers on current promotional pricing won’t see a price increase just yet, but those who switch from one package to another may lose any discount they currently receive.

For streamers who just want general entertainment, live news and national sports channels, there are a few other options to consider:

Sling TV offers two base packages — Sling Orange and Sling Blue — starting at $40 a month. Both packages offer TBS, TNT, CNN, Comedy Central, the Food Network, Lifetime and a handful of other entertainment channels. Sling Orange includes Disney-owned channels, including ESPN, while Sling Blue carries Fox and Comcast-owned channels like Fox News, Fox Sports 1, USA, E! and NFL Network (Sling Blue also offers legacy Fox cable networks FX and National Geographic). A combined Sling Orange-Blue package costs $55 a month, and add-on packages are available for other channels like Paramount Network. As of this writing, Sling TV is running a deal where streamers can get 50 percent off their first month of service when they sign up using this link.

Philo doesn’t carry cable news or sports channels, but it does have a little bit of everything for everyone, and it’s only $25 a month. With over 60 live channels to choose from and thousands of on-demand shows and movies, Philo is always serving up something interesting to watch. Live channels carried on Philo come from A+E Networks (A&E, History Channel, FYI, Lifetime, Vice), AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, We TV, BBC America, BBC World News), Paramount Global (Comedy Central, MTV, TV Land, VH1, Nickelodeon) and the Discovery side of Warner Bros Discovery (Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, HGTV). It even offers hard-to-find channels like Me TV, Heroes & Icons and Decades, along with a cloud DVR that saves shows and movies for at least a year. It’s also the cheapest way to watch Yellowstone, cable television’s hit drama. The service offers a seven-day free trial when customers sign up using this link.

Frndly TV is the cheapest cable TV alternate on the market, with access to over 40 family-friendly channels like A&E, History Channel, Me TV, GAC Family, Heroes & Icons, Game Show Network and more. All channels are available for just $7 a month, though there are two other packages for customers who want extra features like high-definition streaming and an expanded cloud DVR. A seven-day free trial is available to new subscribers who sign up using this link.

Vidgo is a relatively new service that offers a wealth of college sports channels and other programming that can be tough to find on other streaming services. It’s the only streaming cable alternative to carry the Big 10 Network, the Longhorn Network, ESPN, NFL Network, NHL Network, MLB Network, Fox Sports 1, ACC Network, ESPN U, Pac-12 Networks, SEC Network and Stadium in a base programming package, which costs $60 a month. A higher tier of channels, at $80 a month, includes NFL RedZone and other sports channels. Entertainment networks like Comedy Central, FX, the Disney Channel, Discovery Channel, Paramount Network and TLC are also offered in the base package of over 100 live channels. Access to local feeds of ABC and Fox stations are also available. Check out Vidgo’s full channel lineup at this link.

YouTube TV is a great cable alternative that offers a little bit of everything at a really affordable price. For $65 a month, viewers get local broadcast and cable channels from Comcast’s NBC Universal, Fox Corporation, the Walt Disney Company, AMC Networks, Paramount Global, Warner Bros Discovery and other programmers, including cable news and sports cornerstones like the Fox News Channel, ESPN, Fox Sports, NFL Network, CNN, MSNBC, CBS Sports Network and more. Streamers can save a total of $45 off their YouTube TV subscription and score a free trial when they sign up using this link.

Fubo TV also recently raised prices (and did so after dropping channels), but it still offers more live sports than DirecTV Stream and some of its closest competitors. The service offers major cable sports channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, NFL Network, NHL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV and more, starting at $75 a month. Want to watch local NFL, MLB, NBA and NASCAR events on NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox? Fubo TV has those channels, too (local channel availability varies based on area). Add-on packages for movie networks like Showtime and Epix along with niche sports networks are also available for separate fees. A seven-day free trial is available to streamers who sign up using this link.

There are a number of other streaming services to consider, including Hulu with Live TV, a Disney-owned cable alternative that costs $70 a month (0r $83 a month if you want Hulu content without ads) and includes free access to Disney Plus and ESPN Plus. Some streaming apps also offer live access to local broadcast stations, including Peacock Premium Plus ($10 a month, includes live access to Sunday Night Football and local NBC stations) and Paramount Plus ($10 a month, includes live access to local CBS feeds, CBS-broadcast NFL football games and other sports). The on-demand version of Hulu ($8 a month with ads, $15 a month without ads) includes prime-time shows from ABC and Fox one day after they air on TV.