DIRECTV NOW is the new streaming service from AT&T. After months of hype and speculation, with details trickling out slowly about the live streaming service, DIRECTV NOW is finally live and you can learn all about it in this hands-on DIRECTV NOW review. This is another exciting choice for cord cutters that will aim to compete with other live streaming, cable alternatives like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Thanks to removing the equipment and labor that comes with cable services, DIRECTV NOW is able to offer more competitive rates for people that have left cable.
The details about DIRECTV NOW have come pouring out on the heels of the company’s big launch press conference, and more information is sure to be released in the coming months as new features are rolled out. We’ve gotten our hands on the service and tested it extensively in the last few weeks, 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 will focus on live channels and it will cater to cord cutters. As this is truly more of a cheaper alternative to cable or a cable replacement, the goal will be gaining that customer base that left cable because it was too expensive.
We also know that DIRECTV NOW will limit subscribers to two concurrent streams per account. So if more than two people in your household want to use the service simultaneously, you’d need to get another account.
What is the DIRECTV NOW Channels List?
The company says that you can expect “much of what is available” from DirecTV to be available with DIRECTV NOW. 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 packages of DIRECTV NOW channels are as follows:
- 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, and BTN, 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, Dallas-Ft Worth, Detroit, Gainesville, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando-Daytona, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, 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, we don’t yet have a full list of the cities where these channels are available. 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’s basic package starts at $35 a month. This 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®, 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. For those who sign up for a month of service, DIRECTV NOW will offer a free Amazon Fire TV Stick. Those who sign up for 3 months of service are slated to get a free Apple TV. This makes the DIRECTV NOW cost even lower when you factor in the free 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 is currently not available. Noticeably absent from this list is Roku, which the company says it hopes to support in early 2017. Other DIRECTV NOW devices will likely be added in the near future, as well. We’ll keep this updated when DIRECTV NOW Roku support is implemented.
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 for 1 month (any package) and get a FREE Amazon Fire TV stick
- Prepay for 3 months (any package) and get a FREE Apple TV
- 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 flexibility and value, Sling TV is probably your best bet with its low price point starting at $20 a month and its skinny add-on packs of channels. If you just want a huge volume 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 NOWoffers 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!