What Is The Difference Between Prism TV and DIRECTV? - CenturyLinkQuote
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What Is The Difference Between Prism TV and DIRECTV?

Prism TV vs. DIRECTV: Pros and Cons

If you’re looking into which cable programming provider to commit to, you’ve got options. Two of the most highly rated pay television providers are fiber-based CenturyLink® Prism™ TV and satellite-based DIRECTV® —currently the largest pay television company in the U.S. You’ll need to compare each cable company’s features to pick the service that fits your needs, so we’ve compiled an overview of each provider to help make that choice easier.


Prism TV costs vary depending on the package plan and service area. The Prism Essential plan offers over 140 channels for $39.99 a month for 12 months. That deal is available with a 12-month agreement and an additional $9.99 set-top box monthly fee. The highest premium plan offers over 320 channels for $84.99 a month for 12 months, and the same 12-month agreement and additional $9.99 set-top box monthly fee are also required.

Costs for DIRECTV packages vary depending on the plan and service area. The starter Select™ plan offers over 145 channels and costs $19.99 a month for 12 months with a 2-year contract. The top Premier™ package offers over 240 channels and NFL SUNDAY TICKET for $89.99 a month for 12 months with a 2-year contract. Additional fees — like regional sports access and an equipment lease fee — may apply. While the DIRECTV’s lower packages are a bit cheaper, they do requhome-tv-centurylink-prismire a longer contract, which somewhat limits flexibility.


The Prism TV setup is really what makes it stand out from satellite and cable providers. CenturyLink delivers the service via a fiber-optic network, providing a clear and reliable picture. That fiber-optic network, while expanding, is not available everywhere, but homes that fall within the designated service areas won’t have to worry about buildings or trees obstructing their signal.

DIRECTV is a satellite-based system, meaning that TV signals are broadcast through a south-facing satellite dish that is installed on a home’s roof. Because the service isn’t bound by a wire or cable infrastructure, DIRECTV is available just about anywhere in the continental U.S. It is worth noting, however, that the signal can be obscured by tall structures, poor angling, or bad weather.


CenturyLink has a long history of emphasizing a smooth user experience, and the perks of Prism TV highlight that trend. Subscribers can expect a range of features, including the following:

  • Find-It-Fast Navigation — lets viewers quickly search for what they want to watch by actor, title, or director.
  • App Center — accesses Facebook pages, recipes, local news, and even weather, all from the TV.
  • Last 5 — lets users quickly flip between the last five channels watched.
  • Multi-View — displays four screens at one time.
  • Warp-Speed Channel Change — flips through channels quickly, eliminating lag between the TV and remote.

Not to mention, you can also get awesome deals on CenturyLink high-speed Internet service through their homes service bundle options, too.

DIRECTV, on the other hand, corners the market when it comes to sports offerings. The company’s perks focus a lot on providing a great viewing experience for fans of all types of athletic entertainment. The following are just a few of DIRECTV’s sports-based benefits:

  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET — gives football fans access to live home games and out-of-market football content.
  • Game Mix Channel — puts eight sports broadcasts on one HD channel so viewers can watch multiple games at once.
  • Genie® Sports Feature — lets viewers customize a digital hub to view favorite sports teams and quickly scan for the games, teams, or event dates.

Mobile features

The Prism TV app lets customers stream live TV from multiple channels, access portions of the Video On Demand library, and control their set-top box. Several users can access content via the app, but only three viewers can stream content simultaneously. Additionally, all downloading must be done from the home wireless network that the Prism TV is connected to.

The DIRECTV Everywhere app offers similar functionality to the Prism app — it allows users to stream live TV and access select On Demand offerings. DIRECTV also has a free, age-appropriate app for children, allowing parents to ensure that their kids can only access approved content.

DVR capabilities

The Prism TV Whole Home DVR uses a single DVR box to control all the TVs in a home, allowing users to pause recorded content on one television and resume watching in another. Live TV commands — including pausing and fast-forwarding — will only work on the TV directly connected to the DVR. The set-top box can record up to four shows at once, and it’s Energy Star 3.0 certified as well.

DIRECTV’s HD DVR services uses a main Genie DVR unit, and it requires smaller Genie Minis to control DVR capabilities throughout the home.

Ultimately, there are pros and cons to both pay TV providers. If you’re still debating between CenturyLink® Prism TV and DIRECTV, reach out to a service support representative at 1-855-640-4510 to learn more.


*Pricing and plans are current as of writing. Pricing and plans are subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.


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