DIRECTV NOW: Initial Thoughts

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DIRECTV released DIRECTV NOW today and I jumped on their Go Big deal. For $35 (normally $60) you get over 100 channels; some you can stream live and some have on-demand content. I have not had cable for years and while we recently gained access to some local channels via an antenna the biggest thing that I have missed is sports. Every year I pay for MLB, MLS, and NBC Sports Gold (for cycling), but obviously that is still limiting. I also pay $15 per month for HBO Now, pay for Netflix, and watch Amazon Prime Videos with my Prime account. For an additional $5 per month I also got HBO with DIRECTV NOW. So for an additional $25 per month I will now have access to not only sports but quite a few other channels I like: History, Food Network, Discovery, and National Geographic to name a few.

In the few hours that I have been exploring DIRECTV NOW these are what I see as the pros and cons…

Pros

  • No contracts
  • No devices (though no DVR could be a con; see comment below in Cons)
  • Price

Cons

  • CBS is missing from the lineup apparently playing hardball since they offer their own (expensive) streaming service.
  • No DVR feature, though supposedly that will come in the future. However, some stations supposedly will have a 72-hour window to watch previously aired shows. Plus there is an on-demand library.
  • Short live show pause ability. Only about 10 seconds or so.
  • No local major network (ABC, Fox, NBC) live shows for most people (including those in the Portland area).

One of the biggest issues I have seen so far is playing on-demand content via the Apple TV app. I have tried to watch three different movies on three different networks and all three stop playing with a generic error message minutes after playing. Not cool. However, all the live shows I have watched have been crystal clear (even sports) and play with zero issues.

So What Do I think So Far?

After only a few hours, I would say that I am optimistic about DIRECTV NOW. While I have already encountered some issues and bummed I cannot get local network stations, I think in the long run paying an additional $25 per month will be worth it just to watch more sports. I will report back in a couple months though.

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