Time Warner Cable vs DirecTV (comparison)

Jason Loomis
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Once you've decided on Time Warner or DirecTV, you will then have to decide how to install the service. If you choose to have you installation done at home, this can take up to a couple of days. The technician will first run the satellite dish cable to a window or through your attic. Any wires that are run through the walls in your home will need to be professionally installed. This is why it’s a good idea to hire an experienced contractor complete the job.

Time Warner's installation technicians are knowledgeable and have undergone training and testing. My experience with them was very positive. The technicians were on time, courteous, and cleaned up after the job was done. The installation was fast and efficient. Time Warner gives you the option of selecting your own equipment at their website. Just visit the Equipment page to select the equipment that you would like to purchase and the technicians will provide everything that you need for a fee.

HD Channels

DirecTV offers almost double the number of HD channels as Time Warner’s HD package. When it comes to sports, it’s an entirely different ball game and they are evenly matched with each having about 650 HD channels of sports programming.

On Demand

Both Time Warner Cable (TWC) and DirecTV offer on demand. This function allows you to watch whatever you want whenever you want. No annoying TV schedules to worry about. Both cable companies also offer live streaming of news and entertainment so you can watch CBS, ESPN, and any other channel you would like. In addition, both companies have access to certain sports packages. For example, DirecTV offers NFL Sunday Ticket while TWC offers NFL Sunday Ticket Max.

If you choose to subscribe to both companies, you can even combine your on demand purchases! So, if your favorite show that is on the HBO network is a past season or if you are one of those people who likes to watch old movies, you will find them in on demand libraries from both cable companies.

DirecTV and TWC are also different in some other ways. TWC has a cloud DVR that you can rent for an additional charge while DirecTV has a more conventional DVR. While TWC has some add-ons like the cloud DVR, they also make you pay for some channels that are actually free with Comcast like Disney Channel. DirecTV, however, has everything included with their packages.

Equipment & Special Features

DSC: DVR receivers with recording capabilities. The number of DVR receivers available to each customer is dependent on the packages offered by each provider and can go up to 3.

Digital Home Phone: The definition of the term is that it enables customers to make and receive home phone calls over a wireless connection, without being charged by long distance calling charges.

HD & DVR: This allows customers to view high definition television programming to their home. Both companies offer HD programming as a standard with their current packages.

Main difference between Time Warner Cable and DirecTV is TWC’s 5500 series DVRs offer up to 6.5 hours of recording time while DirecTV’s commercial-free DVR’s offer 20 hours.

Experience TWC with HD: Experience TV in high definition on your big screen. Enjoy more programming on your TV and spend less time changing channels. It is available in select markets.

Digital Home Phone: Get home phone service over your existing digital line. A device called ATA (Analog Terminal Adapter) is needed to replace home telephone wall jacks and provide an Ethernet connection to establish a secure wireless network.

Watch TV & Movies Everywhere

If you're looking to make the jump to a new cable or satellite provider, there's no doubt that the main differentiating factor that most consumers investigate is channels. Namely, how many channels do you get with the service and how much is it going to cost you to upgrade?

Unfortunately, things don't always work out the way we'd like them to. Even if you go with one of the best services on the market, you may find that you can't access all of the channels that you desire.

That's what we find with satellite TV providers such as DirecTV. Even worse, service prices can fluctuate significantly based on your location and your ability to get a signal.

Read this post to learn about our experience with cable and find out if it's really a worthwhile upgrade over DirecTV.

Special Offers

Time Warner and DirecTV are two of the best TV service providers. Their prices are comparable, as long as you pick the similarly sized package. The channels offered by both services are also very similar.

But what if you are offered a special deal from DirecTV? Can you still get the same deal if you have been a Time Warner customer for years? And if one service has fewer local channels, can you get the stations from the other service?

We'll answer all of these questions and more. This comparison of Time Warner and DirecTV includes their packages and their special offers.

Time Warner Cable / Spectrum

Price. Service and equipment costs are included in the price for the first 12 months. After 12 months, the price goes up. You will be offered discounted equipment upgrades if you choose to stay with the company.

Packages. The entry package includes around 100+ channel, while the top package offers nearly 200. All packages include the major networks and local channels, depending on location. Both entry and top packages include HBO and Showtime for 3 months if you sign up online. After those three months, you can continue adding the premium channels as part of the add-ons.

Service Contract Periods

Time Warner Cable’s standard contract period is one year from your installation date (not the first day of service). If you choose to cancel within this period, you will need to pay for one full year of service. (In some cases, the provider may offer “no penalty” cancellation after the first 30 days). The standard contract period for DirecTV is usually two years, but does vary depending on whether you choose Dish Network or DirecTV.

Value Packages

Time Warner Cable and DirecTV both offer several payment options such as paying a small fee for each channel, bulk packages of channels, premium channels, and pay-per-view movies. When choosing an option, it is important to know how many channels you will especially watch. For example, if you are a sports fan, you may want to go for the pay-per-view option.

It is also important to note that although satellite TV offers more channels than cable TV, often the same channels are offered. For example, both Time Warner and DirecTV offer about 20 of the major network channels, local channels, and all of the premium movie channels. The main difference is Time Warner offers more networks in a larger variety.

Top Tier Packages

The most popular television drama series like The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad run on basic cable networks ” channels that are not available for every viewer. So if you want to catch up on the series and watch them live, you need to get higher tiered cable service. However, if you can wait for the season finale to have your binge watch on your favorite series, live or recorded, you can cut your cable bill by quite a bit.

Each cable provider in your area has lower level cable packages to fit your needs. The upper tier cable packages offer better channel selections and better benefits for your viewing experience ” usually a combination of channel exclusives (like HBO and Showtime) and movie library selections, better HD channels, and more selection in the On Demand library.


US Satellite TV vs Cable TV

There’s been a lot of debate over which is the best option – cable or satellite TV. Let’s see if we can come to a conclusion to the question, “Is DirecTV or Time Warner Cable better?”

If the variety of programming is your only concern, DirecTV has the edge. The standard DirecTV package has over 300 channels, including 20 HD channels and 3D channels. PS Vue does give you flexibility. But, with more channels, chances are DirecTV has an option that will come close to your cable package.

Next, we’ll consider the hardware. The standard DirecTV package comes with two HD DVRs, whereas PS Vue makes do with just one. Plus, each DirecTV DVR can support two recording devices so you can watch two different programmes at the same time. Of course, you have to pay extra for that option as you would for any other.

As for the gadget compatibility, DirecTV wins this one hands down. You’ll find that most TV devices support DirecTV. You’ll get a blank stare from most people if you ask about PS Vue support.