DIRECTV NOW is the live streaming service from AT&T that’s meant to act as an alternative to cable TV. DIRECTV NOW launched in late 2016, and in the time since then, the service has risen to prominence as one of the most popular live streaming services. How does it stack up to services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue? In our hands-on DIRECTV NOW review, we give you our thoughts on AT&T’s streaming service, telling you everything you need to know to decide if you want to give it a try. We answer all of your questions and give you details on the current DIRECTV NOW channels list, price, free trial, and more.
DIRECTV NOW has now been out for several months, and the verdict is in: it’s a solid, affordable, easy to use alternative to cable TV! We’ve gotten our hands on the service and tested it extensively, which is why we’re providing you with this in-depth DIRECTV NOW review. Find out why we think the streaming service does an excellent job at making users who are used to the cable TV experience feel comfortable using the product.
Read on to learn everything we know from the cost to the DIRECTV NOW channels list (note: you can also click here to learn more and try it free for 7 days).
What is DIRECTV NOW?
DIRECTV NOW is a new live streaming service is similar to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Starting at $35 a month for the base package of over 60 channels, it focuses on live channels and caters to cord cutters. It’s a full cable alternative, offering up much of the same channels and content as you’d get with cable – for a cheaper price, and without the long-term commitment. Here’s the basics of how it works:
- DIRECTV NOW works over the internet
- It allows you to stream live TV from 60+ channels
- You use it on all your favorite devices – streaming players, smartphones, computers and more
- No contract is required – cancel any time
- DIRECTV NOW plans start from $35 per month
- Up to 120+ channels are available in the larger packages
- You can watch live and on-demand
- Key channels include ESPN, AMC, CNN, FOX News, TBS, and much more
- In some areas, DIRECTV NOW local channels like FOX, NBC and ABC are also offered
There’s also a FREE 7-day trial of DIRECTV NOW available, which is a great way to test the service out for yourself.
What is the DIRECTV NOW Channels List?
There are a couple different DIRECTV NOW packages, with the base package priced at $35 a month for 60+ channels. They will offer local channels in select markets, as well as a mix of premium channel add-ons, like HBO. You can see the full DIRECTV NOW channel list in the section below.
In total, there will be 4 different channel packages, ranging from $35 a month up to $70 a month. The different DIRECTV NOW plans are explained in detail in the table below.
- Live a Little ($35/month, 60+ channels)-Channels include locals in select markets and A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, Audience, AXS TV, BBC America, BET, Bloomberg TV, Bravo, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, CMT, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, CSPAN, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN 2, Food Network, Fox Business, Fox News, Fox Sports 1, Freeform, FX, FXX, Galavision, Hallmark, HGTV, History, HLN, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, National Geographic, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, Nicktoons, RFD TV, Spike, Syfy, TBS, TCM, Teen Knick, Telemundo, The Weather Channel, TLC, TNT, truTV, TV Land, Univision, USA Network, Velocity HD, VH1, Viceland, WE tv, WeatherNation
- Just Right ($50/month, 80+ channels)-Includes all channels in lower package plus regional sports networks in select markets (regional FOX Sports and CSN), and Big Ten Network, CNBC World, Comedy.TV, Cooking Channel, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Fox Sports Prime Ticket, Fuse, Fusion, GSN, IFC, JusticeCentral.TV, LMN, Longhorn Network, MLB Network, NBC Sports Network, OWN, Oxygen, Science, SEC Network, Travel Channel, Univision Mas
- Go Big (regularly $60/month; 100+ channels)-Includes all channels in lower DIRECTV NOW packages as well as American Heroes, BBC World News, Centric, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY, Fox Sports 2, FXM, FYI, Golf Channel, LOGO, MTV Classic, Nat Geo Wild, NBA TV, NHL Network, Revolt, Sprout, Sundance TV, Tennis Channel, TVG
- Gotta Have It ($70/month, 120+ channels)-Includes all channels in lower DIRECTV NOW packages as well as Boomerang, Chiller, Cloo, El Rey, Starz Encore (8 channels), Univision Deportes, and more.
- HBO and Cinemax can be added to any package for $5 each. (HBO is normally $15 on its own, so this is the cheapest way to get HBO currently)
All DIRECTV NOW packages offer a free week-long trial to begin with!
What About DIRECTV NOW Local Channels?
While most DIRECTV NOW channels are available nationwide, there are a select number of DIRECTV NOW local channels that are only available in select areas. Here are the details:
- FOX – FOX live streaming is available in select markets, including Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas-Ft Worth, Detroit, Gainesville, Grand Rapids, Greensboro, Harrisburg, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando-Daytona, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa-St Petersburg, and Washington, DC.
- FOX on-demand streaming is available nationwide
- NBC – NBC live streaming is available in select markets, including Chicago, Dallas-Ft Worth, Hartford-New Haven, Los Angeles, Miami-Ft Lauderdale, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and Washington, DC.
- NBC on-demand streaming is available nationwide
- ABC – ABC live streaming is available in select markets, including Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose.
- ABC on-demand streaming is available nationwide.
As this service is brand new, new markets are being added all the time. We will keep the guide updated as new information rolls out. For now, you can check channel availability in your area here. Again – keep in mind that 95% of the channels on DIRECTV NOW are available nationwide, it’s just a handful of channels that are region-restricted.
How Much Does DIRECTV NOW Cost?
Pricing for DIRECTV NOW plans start at $35 a month. The basic package will include over 60 channels, and subscribers will have the option of adding other channels/packages on top of this, similar to what Sling TV offers with its genre-specific add-on packages. Reports state, “With DIRECTV NOW(r), you can stream live TV and On Demand programming with several packages to choose from. Premium channels like HBO and Cinemax can be added at any time.”
Additionally, DIRECTV NOW will be offering device deals to new subscribers who commit to 1-3 months of service. This makes the DIRECTV NOW cost even lower when you factor in the free or discounted streaming device.
There is also a 7-day free trial you can try now.
What Devices Can You Use with DIRECTV NOW?
DIRECTV NOW is currently available on various streaming and mobile devices. Since the service is so new, we also expect them to add new devices moving forward. For now, the DIRECTV NOW devices include:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Apple TV
- Google-cast enabled LeEco TVs
- Vizio SmarrtCast displays
- iOS devices (iPhone/iPad)
- Android devices (phones/tablets)
- Web browsers
DIRECTV NOW Roku support was recently added, as well. To celebrate, you can order DIRECTV NOW with 2 months prepay & get a Roku Premiere. Value $69.99. Other DIRECTV NOW devices will likely be added in the near future, as well.
Are There Any Special DIRECTV NOW Device Deals?
You’ll need a compatible device in order to enjoy the DIRECTV NOW channels live, so the company wants to make it as easy as possible for you to get a device. Right now, you can take advantage of the following special deals:
- Prepay 2 months of DIRECTV NOW & get a Roku Premiere
- You can also try a FREE 7-day trial of any package
If you already have a DIRECTV NOW compatible device, you could just go with the free trial to see how you like the service. If you don’t, definitely take advantage of one of the free device deals!
DIRECTV NOW Review: Any Special Features?
Many, but not all, of the channels will have a 72-hour catch-up window, allowing you to go back and watch any shows you might have missed over the last 3 days.
Multiple streams are limited to two concurrent streams, which may affect people sharing their accounts within their family, but in most cases, this shouldn’t really pose an issue.
If you’re an AT&T mobile user, you won’t be charged for the data you’re using to watch DIRECTV NOW. Of course, critics and cell users of other companies may take issue with that as an unfair advantage. Still, it is one thing we know you can expect.
Looking for DVR functionality? Unfortunately, the first version of DIRECTV NOW will not include a cloud DVR. However, AT&T plans on adding the functionality at some point next year.
DIRECTV NOW Review: What Service Will Be the Best?
DIRECTV NOW is most comparable to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. It’s hard to say which service will end up being the best. Really the service that comes out on top often depends on personal preference. If you want the cheapest budget-friendly option, Sling TV is probably your best bet with its low price point starting at $20 a month. If you want a better selection of channels, DIRECTV NOW or PlayStation Vue may be the best option for you. Of course, PlayStation Vue has mobile restrictions that make mobile watching nearly impossible so that gives DIRECTV NOW an edge.
Additionally, we believe DIRECTV NOW is the best streaming service for the person who is transitioning from cable TV and wants something close to that experience but without the drawbacks of high prices and contracts. DIRECTV NOW will feel familiar to the typical cable user with its grid guide and great channel selection. Long story short; is DIRECTV NOW worth it? Absolutely!
Is There a DIRECTV NOW Gift Card?
Currently, DIRECTV NOW does not offer a gift card. This is not too surprising, considering that the service is so new. We’ll keep this section updated if a DIRECTV NOW gift card is ever introduced.
Is There a DIRECTV NOW Free Trial?
DIRECTV NOW offers a free 7-day trial, which is the same thing competitors Sling TV and PlayStation Vue offer. Customers who choose not to keep the service after the trial will be downgraded to DirecTV Freeview, which is a lower tier, limited content package supported by ads.
DirecTV and AT&T will still be offering traditional cable services, as well. Of course, if you’re looking to save money, DIRECTV NOW might be the cable/streaming service you’ve been waiting for. Click here to try it free for 7 days.
Have questions about this DIRECTV NOW review? Comment below!