DirecTV Now Review: Is It Worth $35 a Month?

People are cutting their cable in droves and a lot of companies are putting out their online streaming options to compete.

SlingTV is one of the most well-known, their funny ads help, but there's a relatively new entrant to the fray with bigger name recognition. (for whatever it's worth, Sling TV is a subsidiary of DISH Network, which itself is quite well known)

DirecTV Now is DirecTV's online streaming service that works without the need for a clunky satellite dish. 🙂

What is DirecTV Now?

DirecTV Now is the online streaming service of DirecTV, known for its satellite broadcast cable services. They're a subsidiary of AT&T, having been acquired in mid-2015.

In late 2016, DirecTV launched DirecTV Now as its foray into no contract, “over the top” internet television service in direct competition with SlingTV and Playstation Vue (which Sony has announced it will shut down).

You can watch DirecTV Now on nearly any device that has an internet connection and can stream video. Many smart TVs now have that capability but if you have an older television, you can use a streaming attachment (like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Chromecast) to give it internet capabilities. You can also watch it on your computer, iPad, and other smartphones.

Here's the official list of devices:

  • Compatible Devices for TV: Amazon Fire TV Edition Smart TV, Amazon Fire TV media player, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV (4th generation), Chromecast (2nd generation and higher on Android & iOS devices, Chrome browser), Chromecast Built-in TV, Roku (select models).
  • Compatible Smartphones & Tablets: Android phones 4.4 and higher, Android tablets 4.4 and higher, iPad iOS 9 and higher, iPhone iOS 9 and higher, iPod Touch iOS 9 and higher
  • Compatible Browsers: Chrome 50+, Safari 8+

DirecTV Now lets you have two active devices at once and there's no contract, you can cancel anytime.

DirecTV Now Channel Packages

There are four packages:

  1. Live a Little: 60+ channels, $35/month
  2. Just Right: 80+ channels, $50/month
  3. Go Big: 100+ channels, $60/month
  4. Gotta Have It: 120+ channels, $70/month
Gotta Have It Channel Lineup, 120+ Channels

The icons are hard to see but here's what each appears to include (I'm just looking at the logos and typing them out):

  1. Live a Little: A&E, ABC, AMC, Animal Planet, Audience, AXStv, BabyFirst, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg Television, Bavo, CBS, C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, Cartoon Network, CMT,
    CNN, Comedy Central, The CW, Discovery, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, Food Network, Fox, Fox Business, Fox News, Fox Sports, Free Form, FX, FXX, Golovision, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, history, HLN, ID, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, National Geographic, NBC, NBC Sports, Nick Jr. Nick, OAN, Reelz, RFD TV, Spike, Syfy, TBS,
    TCM, TeenNick, Telemundo, TLC, TNT, TruTV, TV Land, Univision, USA, Velocity, VH1, Viceland, WE tv, WeatherNation.
  2. Just Right: Live a Little plus AWE, Big Ten Network, Comedy.tv, Cooking Channel, ESPN News, ESPN U, Fuse, Fusion, GSN, IFC, Jusic Central, MLB Network, Nicktoons, Science, ESPN SEC Network, Sundance TV, Tennis Channel, Travel Channel, ONE, UniMAS, The Weather Channel minus Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
  3. Go Big: Just Right plus American Heroes Channel, BBC World News, CBS Sports, Centric, CNBC World, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY Network, FM, FS2, FXM, Golf, Logo, MTV Classic, Nat Geo Wild, NBA TV, NHL, Olympic Channel, Revolt, Universal Kids, and Universo.
  4. Gotta Have It: Go Big plus Boomerang, Chiller, El Rey, StarzEncore Action, StarzEncore Black, Starz East, StarzEncore Family, StarzEncore Classic, StarzEncore West, StarzEncore Suspense, StarzEncore Westerns, and Univision Deportes.

A deeper dive into the channels shows me that Live a Little probably covers the bulk of channels for most people. Sports fans may want to move up the different tiers to include secondary ESPN properties, MLB, Big Ten Network, SEC Network, Tennis and Travel.

Go Big includes even more like NBA, NHL, and the ever-popular Olympic Channel. 🙂 That tier also gives you some more news like BBC World News.

The Gotta Have It adds a slew of StarzEncore channels.

Premium Channels are available for a small additional charge (cheaper than SlingTV‘s add on):

  • HBO: $5/month
  • Cinemax: $5/month
  • Showtime: $8/month
  • Starz: $8/month

This is in addition to 25,000+ on-demand titles available in the library.

Try DirecTV Now for 7 Days

Is It Worth It?

I think over the top streaming services are the future of television. There's no reason to pay $100+ for cable television (plus equipment rental fees) when you can get something for as little as $35 a month. Heck, even if you pay $70 a month you'll be saving $360 a year!

The question is whether the packages have the channels you watch. If they do, you're golden.

According to some other sites, AT&T has been testing a DirecTV Now DVR and it's in beta. The DVR, plus a new app to replace the current app, will give you the ability to fast forward and pause live TV, store shows for watching later and supported on a wide array of devices. The DVR is on the horizon.

DirecTV Now vs. Sling TV

SlingTV is one of the most popular cable alternatives (read our SlingTV review), so we wondered how they compared.

SlingTV can be slightly cheaper but fewer channels. The lowest SlingTV tier is $20 a month for thirty channels but the highest tier only gets you 50 channels at $40 a month. DirecTV Now's lowest tier is $35 for 60+ channels, so its lowest tier gets you more channels than SlingTV's highest. SlingTV has a lot of “Extras” packages like Sports ($10/mo) and Kids ($5/mo) that you can add on, increasing the channel count. In this way, SlingTV offers more customization.

DirecTV Now's premium channels are slightly cheaper too. HBO is only $5 a month (vs. $15 a month on Sling TV).

There have been reports that SlingTV has buffering issues for some users (we always recommend making full use of the 7-day trial to see if you're one of those homes).

DirecTV Now lets you stream to two devices at once, you can only do one on SlingTV unless you get the higher packages. Finally, neither has a contract – so you can cancel at any time (and start back up again).

DirecTV Now Promotions

From time to time, DirecTV runs promotions where you can get free equipment, like Roku devices, when you sign up. We will try to keep this list updated but with so much competition, things come and go quickly.

The current pricing promotion is DirecTV Now is only $10/month with any qualifying AT&T Unlimited wireless plan. If you have a qualifying plan, you get a $25/month credit so your $35/month fee drops down to $10. After 22 GB of data usage, AT&T may slow your speeds. HBO is also included for AT&T Unlimited Choice and Plus customers too.

Try DirecTV Now for 7 Days

DirecTV Now

8

Overall

8.0/10

Strengths

  • No contract
  • 2 active streams
  • Premiums channels available

Weaknesses

  • No DVR (yet)
  • Slightly more expensive

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Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

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  1. Sid says

    Great stuff but tv commercials ruin the enjoyment of any program. Directv has too many feeble/shallow content channels that are intellectual merde.
    Sid

  2. sara says

    First Direct TV Now is 40.00+ a month… For that you get constant buffering, slow loads, DVR does not record or records does not play, ondemand also barely works, they over charge or charge after you cancel, ESPN no longer has a contract with DTVN so it is a no go and local channels disappear or you get sent to different zip code usually a diff state. There prices for all pkgs will be increasing 10 to 20 all pkgs in 2019, so DTVN will become as expensive as Uverse, DO NOT GET THIS PRODUCT

  3. Steve says

    While the price for DirecTV Now is enticing and I fell for it. This service is not worth the time, money and effort. It is truly not ready for primetime. It freezes, sound does not properly synch on live TV, picture quality is not consistent and forget about the DVR function. Tech support is a waste of time and the only way to reach it is via Chat which doesn’t always work either,

    This is about the worst product/service I have ever used.

  4. Ali says

    Buyer be ware…I just canceled my subscription due to the increasing the price. I have been with them for over a year and the price continues to go up for the basic package. It started at 35, 40, and now 50 a month without me being notified. Keep an eye on your bill if you are trying to find a cheaper solution.

  5. Christopher McGinnis says

    Direct TV now is crap – slow, locks up all the time, behind every other service by about 30 seconds. I hate it!!!!

    • Daniel says

      what are your Download & Upload Speeds? Do you have Fiber Optic 1 Gbps Internet? the UpLoad speeds have to be high to get streaming to work. When I use my Apple TV+ to watch everything I never get any interruptions. I watch AT&T UVERSE on the Apple TV + & I watch all the SHOWTIMES HBO MAX STARZ movies on the Apple TV+ instead of using the DVR that comes with Uverse. We are paying the highest price for the highest package with AT&T and have 4 services and the UVERSE SUCKS. Except when I stream Uverse thru the Apple TV+. Apple TV+ needs to hurry up and offer their own TV Service as big as the others then everyone would switch. They started out with a $4.99 or Free for one Year if you buy a Apple TV You get Apple TV+ for a Year free. It is awesome. I never have had any movie or show mess up while I am streaming thru Apple TV. I think Apple TV + will be bigger in the future the more content they put on there.

  6. Daniel says

    Do any of you guys have FIBER OPTIC 1Gbps Speeds while using DIRECTV NOW??? Streaming needs 1Gbps to function properly.

  7. Daniel says

    Apple TV+ you can get free for 1 Year by buying a new Apple TV. Everything I stream thru the Apple TV runs awesome. Never once have I had interruptions while streaming shows or movies or live tv thru the Apple TV. I am so hoping that APPLE will keep adding to their stuff. Like APPLE could have their OWN CHANNEL LINE up if they would just get in the business of TV. They would put AT&T and COMCAST & DIRECTV out of business.

  8. Trish says

    Streaming does NOT need 1 GB to function properly. That’s a bunch of BS. I used to have 25mbps and had no issues streaming multiple devices.

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