Are you considering making a switch to cut the cord and use DirecTV Now as your streaming service? If so, this article is for you. We’ll tell you the pro’s and con’s of using DirecTV Now from a point of view of an actual user.
*Update for 2019 – I recently left DirecTV Now and in this article I’ll review the service and tell you why.
DirecTV Now Review – Table of Contents
- DirecTV Now *Updated* Video Review
- DirecTV Now FAQ’s
- DirecTV Now vs other online streaming tv providers
- DirecTV Now – What’s the Bottom Line
- Other Cord Cutting Tips
DirecTV Now - Video Review
Editor’s Note: This article is part of a series devoted to helping people cut the cord called “Essential Guide to Cord Cutting” – be sure to read that article for more tips about Direct TV Now as well as other streaming options.
Credibility Notice: I am an average consumer just like you. This is an honest review. I am a real life cord cutter.
DirecTV Now Cord Cutters FAQ’s
What is DirecTV Now’s Website?
How do I watch DirecTV Now?
You can watch Direct TV Now on pretty much every streaming device (Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, etc), as well as on tablets/phones and computers.
Bonus – You can watch it anywhere, not just in your house.
Does DirecTV Now Have Different Channel Packages?
Yes, and this is the #1 best thing about DirecTV Now.
If you want a service that offers the most customization options, DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue are your best choices.
HOWEVER, the parent company of DTVN is AT&T and in 2019 AT&T made some major changes to the DirecTV Now channel packages.
Prior to 2019, DTVN used to have 4 plans to choose from that ranged from $35-70/month. It used to look like this…
Sadly that is not the case any longer.
In 2019 AT&T jacked up the prices AND drastically reduced the channels available in the lower priced tiers.
Now there are two options they promote:
The lowest priced option is now $50 and it only includes 40 channels – but they give you HBO. Just to be clear, for that same $50 you used to get 80+ channels.
To be fair, there are still other options, if you don’t mind paying more, you can choose from their other options:
See that Choice Plan for $110? That’s the one that most compares to the old “Just Right” Plan that used to be $50. Ouch – talk about price gouging!
To see a full list of all the current channels for each plan visit this page: https://www.directvdeals.com/directv-now/channels/
Fair Balance: if price is not an issue and you want to be able to customize your package, I will say again that DirecTV Now is still one of the best options for streaming tv online.
Does Direct TV Now Limit the Number of Screens I Can Watch on?
Yes, you can only watch Direct TV Now on 2 screens (AKA streams) at the same time.
If you are willing to pay an additional $5/month and then you can watch it on 3.
On the surface this screen limit seems kind of sucky, and it isn’t good compared to other services like YouTube TV or PlayStation Vue, but remember this only applies to your DTVN viewing so if you have Amazon Prime TV and/or Netflix and/or Amazon Channels and/or you wanna watch YouTube, none of those count as ‘streams’ against your Direct TV Now screen limit so in reality it may not be that bad unless you have a big family.
Does Direct TV Now have a DVR?
Finally the answer is YES. It’s been a loooong wait for DirecTV Now to get a DVR but at last they have one.
As for the DVR itself, the free version gives you 20 hours of recordings and you can save them for 30 days. You can pay an extra $10/month and get up to 100 hours with 90 days storage.
I used to be willing to live with the DirecTV Now DVR but after the price increases, etc I can no longer overlook the fact that it sucks.
DVR Warning – you may or may not be able to skip through commercials – according to the Direct TV Rep I talked to it depends on the network and the show.
Does DirecTV Now have On-Demand TV Shows and Movies?
Yes, besides their ’72-hour’ rewind feature on most networks, DirecTV Now’s on-demand service offers mostly tv shows from the current seasons and some movie content.
Warning – depending on the network and show, you may or may not be able to skip through commercials and you may not even be able to rewind or fast-forward. Lest you think this isn’t important see my “important consideration #4” in my “Essential Guide to Cord Cutting” article for my story about watching Anthony Bourdain with no less than 7 required commercial breaks of 7 commercials each!
Does DirecTV Now offer Local Channels and Regional Sports Networks?
It depends on where you live. In my area they offer a lot and this is another feature in the cap of DirecTV Now.
One of the main reasons we previously chose DirecTV Now as our (former) cord cutting streaming provider was because it offered the best selection of local channels and regional sports networks.
Basically we can get every local channel we want with DirecTV Now and I will say that DirecTV Now is one of the best in terms of local coverage. However YouTube TV is rapidly catching up and PlayStation Vue is still good too.
To see the local channels available from DirecTV Now in YOUR area use this link:
Does DirecTV Now offer Premium Channels like HBO and Showtime?
Yes they do – you can get HBO and Cinemax for only $5 per month and Starz or Showtime for $8/month.
On the surface that seems like a good deal but for some reason the versions on Direct TV Now sometimes don’t seem to have as many back season episodes as the HBO channel you can add on Amazon Prime TV. That could make binge watching a full series difficult. That said, as with all of DirecTV Now you’re not locked in to any contracts so you could try a premium for a month and if it didn’t meet your needs just adjust your plan to remove it.
What Promotions does DirecTV Now offer to New Subscribers?
There is usually always a promotion offered from DirecTV Now for new subscribers. Besides a 7-day free trial, Direct TV Now usually has some pretty sweet promotions, sometimes giving away an Apple TV, Roku devices, etc.
Visit their site to see their current offers or better yet (TIP) use their chat feature and see what kind of deals a Direct TV Rep will make you. I was offered multiple months at 50% off and additional credits when I spoke with them. Look for the CHAT feature at the bottom of this page: https://help.directvnow.com/hc/en-us
Also, if you are an AT&T wireless customer you could save even more: https://www.directvnow.com/unlimitedplus#slide1
What is the DirecTV Now User Interface (UI) like?
The user interface and channel guides are really important in my opinion and can make or break the experience for people who are switching from cable tv to streaming services. For example, Hulu with Live TV has a great product, but their UI is so bad (they basically don’t even have a channel guide!) that the service doesn’t work for us because we can’t find a way to easily navigate to find out what’s on.
Thankfully DirecTV Now recently updated their UI and it’s pretty good. Here are some screenshots:
Compare DirecTV Now vs Other Streaming TV Providers
DirecTV Now - What's the Bottom Line?
As I said, I used to recommend DirecTV Now as my #1 streaming tv provider and I was a long-time customer HOWEVER AT&T has basically ruined the service – higher prices, less channels for lower-priced tiers, a DVR that sucks compared to other providers, and only 2 streams make DirecTV Now a poor choice for most cord cutters.
That said, if money is not an issue and you want a service that provides the most customization options AND gives you access to most/all local channels then DirecTV Now may still be a viable option for you.
It’s just a shame that what could have been an awesome service for most Americans to use to get rid of cable tv has basically been turned into an online version of cable – complete with the high prices and poor service.
Which Streaming TV Providers do I recommend now?
If you don’t need local tv (either because you have an HD Antennae or you don’t care about locals), then I recommend SLING TV.
If you DO want local tv (for news, weather, and local sports teams) then I recommend…
- YouTube TV (if you don’t need the ability to customize the channel package).
- PlayStation Vue (if you want to be able to choose from different channel packages).