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Cord Cutting: DirecTV NOW Live Streaming Service from AT&T

DirecTV NOW Roku

More and more people are choosing to ditch their expensive cable bill and move to a cheaper streaming service like Hulu Live or PlayStation Vue. As part of our continuing coverage of cord cutting services and devices, this week we look at what DirecTV NOW offers.

DirecTV NOW

While considered one of the major live streaming services, DirecTV NOW has had a rough going out of the gate. It has been plagued by performance and service issues. Some people have complained of channels not working, major freeze ups, or complete outages. The company has fixed some of those early issues and now it offers a fairly stable service. I have been using it for several weeks now and here is what I’ve found.

DirecTV NOW Plan

It works like the other live TV Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming services out there and includes most of the popular channels like CNN, Syfy, USA, ESPN, and others. The number of available channels and on-demand movies varies depending on the package you subscribe to. The availability of local channels and sports also varies depending on where you live. Local affiliates are mainly only available in large cities.

There are four different packages you can choose from. Like PlayStation Vue, the entry level plan starts at $35 and the top tier is $70.

Here is a look at the four available plans:

  • Live a Little includes 60+ channels for $35/month
  • Just Right includes 80+ Channels for $50/month
  • Go Big includes 100+ Channels for $60/month
  • Gotta Have It includes 120+ Channels for $70/month

In addition to the cable channels you get with the plan you choose, you can also add premium services like HBO or Cinemax for $5/month or $8/month for STARZ.

iPadDirecTV

The DirecTV Now app supports iOS 9.0 or higher. Here it is running on an iPad Mini.

As for devices, DirecTV NOW currently supports Android (4.4+), Apple TV (4th Generation), iPhone or iPad (iOS 9.0+), Amazon Fire TV devices, and Chromecast.

android DTV

The DirecTV NOW app runs on Android version 4.4 or higher.

You can also use your PC or Mac – however only in certain browsers, namely Chrome.

Chrome

Support for other browsers is being phased out and if you try to run it on a different browser you’ll see the following message.

IE msg

DirecTV NOW is dropping support for most browsers and will be exclusive to Google Chrome.

The interface is about what you would expect and is responsive while navigating around. It’s not as elegant as other services, though. The nicest part, it can be argued, is the channel guide. It overlays on the screen while you’re watching a program so you can see what else is on and favorite channels.

channel grid

Bottom Line

The most glaring omission is the lack of cloud DVR support. The company says the feature is coming, but at the time of this writing, DirecTV NOW remains the only service in its class that doesn’t support it.

The exclusion of a cloud DVR feature isn’t the only thing going against DirecTV Now. It seems the company hasn’t resolved all of the early issues that plagued it. There have been many occasions where a signal freezes up or is lost completely. To get it back, many times I would need to exit the app entirely and go back in. Also, I didn’t find the on-demand movie library to be as robust as Hulu Live.

Navigating around channels isn’t straightforward and the navigation methods vary drastically depending on the platform you’re using it on. I tried it on several different devices and (as is usually the case for all video services) the 4th Generation Apple TV was the best.

Unless there’s a major overhaul of the service and bugs get fixed, it’s probably doomed to fail in an already crowded market. And the data is starting to show that. According to a recent Bloomberg report, it has lost over 3,000 customers in February of this year and growth hasn’t picked up in any significant way. I would personally recommend any of the other services like Sling or PlayStation Vue before DirecTV NOW to anyone.

If you’re reading this before August 31st, 2017 make sure to check out how to get a free month of DirecTV Now for Roku. It’s free and better than the short 7-day trial that’s usually offered.

If you are a subscriber to DirecTV NOW or try the trial, leave a comment below and let us know if you like it. How do you think it compares to similar services?

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13 Responses to Cord Cutting: DirecTV NOW Live Streaming Service from AT&T

  1. Jeff Wilbur June 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    I’ve had it from the first day. Yes, initially there were problems, but they have about gone away now. Recently they added support for Roku – so that is great. Yes, still waiting for a DVR. I signed up for the 100+ channels for the introductory price of $35, plus $5 for HBO. Since then they have given HBO to everyone for free for the fist year.
    Before this I had Directv satellite. I was paying $90 a month for minimum selection of channels, not even ESPN – and the price still went up every year. Now I get more sports than I can handle – all ESPN channels, as well as all Fox Sports. Also BBC World News channel, and many, many more. For local news and CBS shows I have CBS all Access ($6 a month).
    I’m more than happy with it. For $41 a month I have all I want – for less than half of what satellite cost. 🙂

  2. Rev. S Greinke June 12, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    Directv Now with Amazon Stick is still a poor app to use. You much clear data before you are able to watch it each day. Much buffering too!

  3. Anonymous June 12, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    You will only have problems on the Fire stick. Problems on the Fire TV Box were extremely rare and the new app on our Roku 3 has only crashed once since released almost a month before this writing.

  4. Delbert June 13, 2017 at 5:11 am #

    I love Directv Now for the channels included in the “Go Big” package. Although there is no DVR service, I prefer to wait. I understand that they will not take longer to have this feature.

  5. kixfan June 13, 2017 at 6:53 am #

    I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks now on the Roku trial. So far I like it. I have had no outages or freezing up. Just not sure if I’m ready to commit to a 30-70 dollar payment every month. I’ll have to check out the tiers and see what channels come with each tier and see if any of them will work for me.

    • Paul June 13, 2017 at 7:28 am #

      I want to try this but every time I go to sign up it says its for a 7 Day Free Trial???? How do I get the Free 1 Month?
      Thanks

  6. Joy June 13, 2017 at 6:54 am #

    I have subscribed to DirecTV NOW for several months. I had Sling previously but prefer the Sports channel options with DirecTV NOW versus Sling. There are issues with connectivity and it freezes rather often, many times requiring an exit to resolve. Still a better option for me than cable or Sling but not thrilled with the service.

  7. Gary Leach June 13, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Did the free trial. Very lacking in instructions. Also, no CBS channel, one of our main interests Cancelled service, very disappointed.

  8. RWG794 June 13, 2017 at 7:28 am #

    I have had this service since 12/2016. It had a lot of issues early on but has greatly improved. I still get some buffering (at least 30 seconds) on most movies. I do not get local channels(NBC,ABC,CBS) in my area of Wisconsin so I will have to go back to cable this fall to watch the Green Bay Packers.

  9. Irishdruid June 13, 2017 at 9:07 am #

    I’m in my second month as a user and I’ve had no major issues so far. One feature I would like to have with any of these services is the ability to set a reminder for an upcoming show and have it automatically switch channels at the appropriate time. I live in Maine so we don’t get any local channels; therefore I can’t (yet) convince my wife to cut the cable cord. If anyone can tell me how to get local channels (without moving) I’m all ears.

  10. Dave June 13, 2017 at 11:34 am #

    I’ve been using DTV now for over 3 months now. Aside from the technical issues, it is a pretty good offering compared to other cord-cutting services like Hulu Live, YouTubeTV, Sling, etc… My major issue is the lack of DVR capabilities which will allegedly be fixed by the end of 2017. If the DVR is good and doesn’t increase the pricing too much, I may stick with DirectTV now.

  11. Alfred June 19, 2017 at 8:31 am #

    I have been using dtv for 6 yrs and to this day have had no problems only when we get a bad storm, it cuts out ,but only for a while, I’ve used other station but not as good as dtv.

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