Review: DirecTV Now
I am a cord cutter, I have been for nearly 12 months. I first started with SlingTV and then almost immediately jumped ship to DirecTV Now when they had a deal on their go big plan for $35 dollars. I now pay $52 with Cinemax, HBO, Showtime, and Starz. Recently at&t the owners for DirecTV Now announced that they have 500,000 subscribers and I figured. Welp time for a review.
DirecTV works by allowing you to use your cell phone and or tablet as a remote, or a small screen. You can stream your channels on up to two devices at a time.
Before I continue with the review, let me share what my setup is:
- 2x Toshiba 4K Televisions with Chromecast Built-in
- Sony Vaio 4K Android Television
- Sharp Aquos Television 1080i (can’t get you the model it’s 17 years old and the model number is worn out)
- Pixel XL
- LG Stylo V2
- Samsung Galaxy Tab A
- iPad Air ver 2
- 400 Mbps Internet
- Google Wifi
The streaming seems to work better with my Android Devices than on my iPad, but I think that has more to do with the fact I am using Chromecast instead of Apple TV. I have heard but haven’t witnessed that Apple TV works flawlessly as well. I must clarify, streaming on the iPad is great, I am referring to stream casting to the televisions.
The two Toshibas with Chromecast built in was a big mistake, DirecTV Now would not cast correctly to those televisions. The stream would just freeze, or skip and rewind itself. I ended up buying two 4K Chromecast devices instead of returning the televisions and they work fine now.
The stream quality is actually fantastic. It looks better than OTA and better than my neighbor’s Cable TV and yes better than Fios. The good great thing about the streams are, you are often served high-quality streams that cable and FiOS won’t deliver and often times the channel won’t deliver to the cable providers. For example, Fox Sports and YES delivery a higher quality stream on DirecTV Now than they do to cable providers. They deliver their programming to traditional cable providers at 720p and the stream DirecTV uses is 1080p. The difference, especially in the live sports programming, is noticeable.
You also get OnDemand channels, and access to Showtime Anytime and HBO to Go. Which is great if you travel out of the country like I do. DirecTV won’t work if you are abroad (however a VPN might come in handy for that).
You won’t get all your local channels and or sports channels, but you will get most of them. Check their site for what channels are available to your zip code.
Package pricing starts at 35 up to 70 dollars.
The pricing packages are great, and if you are an at&t wireless member you are entitled to a $25 dollar discount. I as you can see from the screenshot above, I have their go big plan with all the premium channels.
I love the service but I have my gripes. My first gripe is, sometimes channels won’t load, other times you are watching television and it will randomly say you are streaming on two many devices even though you aren’t. My biggest gripe the one that drives me nuts is the annoying “NAG” you get when you have been watching television too long. Like come on stop being Netflix, I actually watch you DirecTV.
The NAG of Death as I call it, is especially annoying and made me want to through my phone for lack of a remote at the television when watching a sporting event. After about 4 hours DirecTV will ask “are you still there” and it’s a pain in the ass to get it to respond to your phone, and it’s happened twice at very important moments in sporting history. Yesterday when Harper struck out in the 9th and the day before when the Yankees scored a run in game 5 of the ALDS.
They definitely need to work on the service. The bugs are few and far between for me, however, they do tend to pop up at the worst time possible, and that NAG asking if I am still there, always pops up when I am into something good.
The App itself is pretty straightforward, but it’s also a little buggy, sometimes it just keeps asking me to refresh and other times it’s just slow to load.
Overall the service is fantastic, but it needs work. Would I recommend a cord cutter to use DirecTV Now? Yes! Would I recommend my mom to use DirectTV now? Yes! Would I recommend a 92-year-old who just bought an iPad to use DirecTV Now? After I saw she was paying Verizon Fios $210 and they didn’t want to lower it with the channels she wanted, I was able to get her more channels for $45 and her Verizon Fios internet only bill is 80. $140 is an $70 savings for her, so my answer is Yes I would!
We here at HardwareGeeks.com give DirecTV Now 3 stars. Good but needs improvement. But although it needs improvement it is a cord cutters dream. at&t if you are listening invest in DirecTV it’s a great service that has a lot of potential! I must also ad, on several ocassions I have had to contact DirecTV now support. Mainly for billing issues due to my card getting lost twice. Their CS is amazing, super friendly and helpful, and their ability to work on your account has improved each time I have contacted them. So A+ for that!