I dumped cable a few years ago and replaced it with Hulu, Netflix and Sling TV. So being a cord cutter, I was super psyched by the announcement of DirecTV NOW with its 120+ channel lineup. After several weeks of testing DirecTV NOW, can I testify that it’s ready for prime time? Not quite yet.
The user interface for the DirecTV NOW app is clean and modern, but not very straightforward, so it takes a bit of time to adjust to it. The app lets you do things like set TV channels as favorites, explore a TV guide, and access on demand titles. So far, the app is still buggy, but it’s being regularly updated and improved, and additional on-demand titles are being added. In any case, perhaps the neatest aspect of the DirecTV NOW user interface is that you can continue to watch a show in the background as you scroll around the interface looking for something else to watch.
TV shows and channels stream smoothly and look great. So far, there are apps available for Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android, Chromecast, iPad, and iPhone. In addition to those apps, you can also log in from your browser to stream DirecTV NOW. An app with support for Roku and Xbox One are both on their way as well. I’m personally a Roku fan and look forward to trying the Roku version of the app, which should be released soon.
We first heard about DirecTV NOW as a service with over 120 channels and one that would be $35, but it turns out both of those things aren’t true at the same time. DirecTV NOW has four subscription levels, ranging from over 60 channels to the top level, which has over 120.
- Live a Little – $35 / month (60+ channels)
- Just Right – $50 / month (80+ channels)
- Go Big – $60 / month (100+ channels)
- Gotta Have it – $70 / month (120+ channels)
The 120+ channel lineup for DirecTV NOW impressive, and you can even add on premium channels like HBO and Cinemax for an extra $5 per month each. When DirecTV NOW first launched, they offered a special intro promo which offered their 100+ channel lineup for $35. That promo expired in January, and now they’ve reverted to their regular multiple package pricing which starts at $35 for 60+ channels and goes up to $70 for 120+ channels. Unfortunately, at $70 for 120+ channels, you’re probably better off going directly through your cable provider and getting a TV / Internet bundle that includes DVR features, which DirecTV currently lacks — possibly the biggest flaw of the new service.
Read on for the verdict…