As just another person that’s disappointed with their cable service, I’m exploring options for getting my entertainment elsewhere. In addition to digitizing the bulk of my video library, I recently saw the advertisements by DirecTV Now. Their introductory offer is three months of streaming TV service for $10 a month; their baseline service.
At this point, I’ve had their service for about 2 1/2 months. Overall, I think everything is gone well. The streaming quality of the service is very good. It’s kind of interesting getting used to having to select channels that are not already numbered. You have to remember that you can’t just open the DirecTV Now service and punch in a number for the channel, you actually have to browse for the name of the channel.
A bonus to their service is that you get to watch streaming TV anywhere you have an Internet connection. you’re limited to two concurrent connections. But if you want to watch TV on your Roku, your tablet, your laptop or your phone, you can do that.
DirecTV Now has a baseline service of $35 a month and it gets you about 60+ channels. Personally, I think the selections that they offer are pretty well-rounded. And for $35 a month, it’s not bad. However, this doesn’t include local channels, so you’ll have to be looking for an over the air solution.
While DirecTV Now does have a range of channels to choose from and their streaming TV service seems to be okay, it doesn’t come with DVR functions; not that I could find. it’s very interesting that there are no DVR functions considering this is a completely digital/streaming solution. As a slight consolation prize to not having a DVR function, you are able to select channel favorites. All the channel favorites do is weed out the channels that you’re not interested in and give you a shorter list of channels to choose from; possibly saving some time.
I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee and I use EPB fiberoptics as my Internet service; gig city. I have no issues with bandwidth or bandwidth caps, so using DirecTV Now wasn’t a problem. but for those locations that have bandwidth issues and data caps, the DirecTV application for Roku didn’t have any settings to adjust the quality of the streaming content. I also didn’t see any settings in the DirecTV application for Roku for helping to manage bandwidth.
Overall, about 90%, I have been satisfied with the service they provided. The lack of a DVR function was disappointing, I would’ve at least like to seen some sort of reminder system of which shows I like to watch. Even with this streaming solution, DirecTV should have been able to understand what I like to watch and then offer suggestions along the same lines; they don’t even try at this point.
The biggest disappointment of DirecTV Now is that it’s a completely digital streaming solution. The streaming TV solution is sent over your Internet network, so you shouldn’t have to worry about satellites and bad weather. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case with DirecTV Now; especially during prime time or peak hours. During the daytime, my wife watches DirecTV Now without any issues, but it seems almost without fail that DirecTV Now has problems between 8 o’clock and 10 o’clock. During those hours DirecTV Now pops up a buffering icon.
Having a buffering icon pop up during a TV show is something that you’re not used to coming from traditional cable services. And it’s a little bit frustrating to see these buffering icons during prime time, knowing that the service was working fine all throughout the day.
This indicated to me that DirecTV Now is going through a few growing pains. I don’t know how their network is segmented or laid out, but it seems like they are barely holding on to being able to stream content during peak hours.
I had another very perplexing experience with DirecTV Now where I was able to watch TV for an entire evening because their service was out. I didn’t have any notification from DirecTV Now about the service being temporarily out, what was happening, if their technicians were working on it; there was no communications at all. And I had no information on the screen to contact the customer service to report problems.
The ironic part about this service outage was that when the East Coast of the United States was experiencing very heavy rain storms, it was the exact same time that DirecTV Now wasn’t able to provide this service at all. Again, I should not be limited by traditional cables or satellites, but from my perspective, it seemed that DirecTV Now is a victim of their own problems with service outages when there is bad weather— just like satellite service.
I think DirecTV Now is a good option at this point. I think there’s some growing pains that they need to work out, but for 35 bucks a month it’s not bad. DirecTV Now is just another option in a market that’s becoming more competitive and clamoring for your business when it comes to streaming TV services.
The good news is that the more streaming TV services there are, the lower the prices are going to be and the more options customers going to have.