What is DIRECTV NOW? Review, Channels List, Cost, Free Trial Info, More (2018)

OUR RATING — a breakdown of our DIRECTV NOW review:

DVR  ★☆☆☆☆
Sports  ★★★★☆
Channel Count   ★★★★☆
Local Coverage  ★★☆☆☆
Streaming Quality  ★★★☆☆
OVERALL —★★★☆☆

DIRECTV NOW(Live a Little)

Price:
$35/mo.
Contract:
None

  • Channel variety for everyone to enjoy

DIRECTV NOW is AT&T’s internet television streaming service that is available in four packages ranging in price from $35-$70. The service is a great buy if you’re looking for a lot of channels for a moderate price. It’s definitely cheaper than cable, and you can add premium channels like HBO for a steal. So if you’re trying to cut the cord but need your Game of Thrones fix, this service could easily be the best TV streaming option for your household.

All that being said, though, it’s not the cheapest streaming TV service available, nor is it the highest-quality option in the industry. It also features a pretty lackluster DVR service compared to other streaming providers.

So how do you know if DIRECTV NOW is right for you? We’ve broken it down for you so you can get all the details on the service—from channel availability to playback options.

What is DIRECTV NOW?

DIRECTV NOW is a subscription streaming service, designed for customers who either can’t get cable or satellite TV—or don’t want it. The service was launched in late 2016 and is owned by DIRECTV, a subsidiary of AT&T. It is available throughout most of the US and offers an inexpensive way for customers to enjoy the TV programming they love without the contracts, high prices, and other downsides of cable TV service.

When you sign up for this service, you get access to a number of live and on-demand TV channels that, until recently, were available only with a cable package. To sign up for for the service, all you need to do is download the app on a compatible device (see our compatible devices section below for more on that), and start watching—no contracts, credit checks, or installation fees necessary.

DIRECTV NOW Packages

You’ve got four different options for DIRECTV NOW channel packages. Choose wisely.

  • Live a Little: $35 a month. Comes with over 50 channels, which is the cheapest price per channel for any base streaming package. You get NBC, ESPN, and FX, and more.
  • Just Right: $50 a month for over 80 channels. Along with everything in the Live a Little package, you get ESPN U, Travel Channel, Game Show Network, and more.
  • Go Big: $60 a month for over 100 channels. Everything in the previous two packages, plus NBA TV, the NHL Network, and the Golf Channel and more.
  • Gotta Have It: $70 a month for over 120 channels. Every channel from other packages, but you also get channels like Starz, El Rey, and Boomerang.

Each package features a variety of channels, some of which are available live, on demand, or both. Here’s how that breaks down:

DIRECTV NOW Packages Comparison

Live a LittleJust RightGo BigGotta Have It
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial
Live Channels67*90*115*127*
On-Demand Channels57*67*80*92*
Price$35/mo.$50/mo.$60/mo.$70/mo.
Live Channels
On-Demand Channels
Price
Live a Little Just Right Go Big Gotta Have It
Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial
67* 90* 115* 127*
57* 67* 80* 92*
$35/mo. $50/mo. $60/mo. $70/mo.
*Actual channel count varies by area

DIRECTV NOW Channels

When you factor in add-ons and international packages, DIRECTV NOW doesn’t offer quite as many channels as say, Sling TV. Even so, it still features a fairly extensive lineup. The top plan (Gotta Have It) features 120+ channels (actual channel count depends on your area), which is essentially the same as getting a “skinny” cable package.

To see which package you’ll need based on the channels you want, check out the DIRECTV NOW channel lineup below:

DIRECTV NOW Channel Lineup by Package

ChannelLive/ On DemandLive a LittleJust RightGo Big Gotta Have It
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial
A Wealth of EntertainmentLIVE
A&ELIVE / VOD
ABC*LIVE / VOD
AMCLIVE / VOD
American HeroesLIVE
Animal PlanetLIVE
AudienceLIVE / VOD
AXS TVLIVE / VOD
Baby FirstLIVE
BBC AmericaLIVE / VOD
BBC World NewsLIVE / VOD
BETLIVE / VOD
Bloomberg TVLIVE
BoomerangLIVE / VOD
BravoLIVE / VOD
Big Ten NetworkLIVE / VOD
C-SPANLIVE
C-SPAN 2LIVE
Cartoon NetworkLIVE / VOD
CBS*LIVE / VOD
CBS Sports NetworkLIVE
CentricLIVE
ChillerLIVE / VOD
CMTLIVE / VOD
CNBCLIVE / VOD
CNBC WorldLIVE
CNNLIVE / VOD
Comedy CentralLIVE / VOD
Comedy TVLIVE
Cooking ChannelLIVE / VOD
The CWLIVE / VOD
Destination AmericaLIVE
DiscoveryLIVE / VOD
Discovery FamilyLIVE
Discovery LifeLIVE / VOD
Disney ChannelLIVE / VOD
Disney JuniorLIVE / VOD
Disney XDLIVE / VOD
DIY NetworkLIVE / VOD
E!LIVE / VOD
El Rey NetworkLIVE / VOD
ESPNLIVE / VOD
ESPN 2LIVE
ESPNEWSLIVE
ESPNULIVE / VOD
FMLIVE
Food NetworkLIVE / VOD
FOX*LIVE / VOD
FOX BusinessLIVE
FOX NewsLIVE
FOX Sports 1LIVE / VOD
FOX Sports 2LIVE
FreeformLIVE / VOD
FuseLIVE
FusionLIVE
FXLIVE / VOD
FX Movie ChannelLIVE / VOD
FXXLIVE / VOD
FYILIVE / VOD
GalavisionLIVE / VOD
Golf ChannelLIVE / VOD
Free TrialFree TrialFree TrialFree Trial
GSNLIVE / VOD
Hallmark ChannelLIVE / VOD
Hallmark Movies and MysteriesLIVE / VOD
HGTVLIVE / VOD
HistoryLIVE / VOD
HLNLIVE
IFCLIVE / VOD
Investigation DiscoveryLIVE / VOD
Justice CentralLIVE
LifetimeLIVE / VOD
Lifetime Movie NetworkLIVE / VOD
LogoLIVE / VOD
MLB NetworkLIVE
MSNBCLIVE / VOD
MTVLIVE / VOD
MTV2LIVE / VOD
MTV ClassicLIVE
Nat Geo WildLIVE / VOD
National GeographicLIVE / VOD
NBATVLIVE
NBC*LIVE / VOD
NBCSNLIVE / VOD
NHL NetworkLIVE
Nickelodeon/Nick at NiteLIVE / VOD
Nick JrLIVE / VOD
NickToonsLIVE
Olympic ChannelLIVE
One American NewsLIVE
OWNLIVE / VOD
OxygenLIVE
Paramount NetworkLIVE /VOD
PopLIVE
REELZLIVE
RevoltLIVE / VOD
RFD-TVLIVE
ScienceLIVE
SEC NetworkLIVE / VOD
SundanceTVLIVE / VOD
SyfyLIVE / VOD
TBSLIVE / VOD
TCMLIVE / VOD
TeenNickLIVE / VOD
TelemundoVOD
Tennis ChannelLIVE
TLCLIVE / VOD
TNTLIVE / VOD
Travel ChannelLIVE / VOD
TruTVLIVE / VOD
TV LandLIVE / VOD
TVGLIVE
TV OneLIVE
UniMásLIVE / VOD
UniversoLIVE / VOD
UnivisionLIVE / VOD
Universal KidsLIVE / VOD
Univision Deportes NetworkLIVE / VOD
USA NetworkLIVE / VOD
VelocityLIVE
VH1LIVE / VOD
VicelandLIVE / VOD
WE TVLIVE / VOD
Weather ChannelLIVE / VOD
WeatherNationLIVE
Regional Sports NetworksCheck AvailabilityCheck AvailabilityCheck AvailabilityCheck Availability
Live/ On Demand Live a Little Just Right Go Big Gotta Have It
Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial Free Trial
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE /VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE / VOD
LIVE
Check Availability Check Availability Check Availability Check Availability
*Local channel offerings vary by area.

As you can see from the chart above, the plans tend to build on each other—the higher the package you select, the more channels you get.

In general, Live a Little is a decent package for TV skimmers, so if you want a low-cost package that gets you the 60 or so top channels, that’s the package for you. Just Right, on the other hand, is a good package for sports fans, as it includes channels like ESPNU, the MLB Network, and the SEC Network. Of course, hardcore sports fans will likely prefer Go Big for its deeper sports channel offerings (like NBA TV and the NHL Network), whereas households with both sports and entertainment needs may want to consider the Gotta Have It package.

Channel Add-Ons

One of the biggest advantages of this service is its low-priced premium channels. While other streaming TV providers like Sling TV charge you $10–$20 for each premium channel add-on, DIRECTV NOW charges only $5–$8. That’s huge savings if you’re a Homeland junkie who wants Showtime without sacrificing your wallet. Check out the channel add-ons available:

  • HBO ($5 per month)

This add-on gets you HBO East, HBO Family East, HBO Latino, HBO GO login credentials, as well as access to an extensive on-demand video library of HBO content. You can also enjoy a 7-day free trial for this add-on, and there’s no contract on your HBO service, so you can cancel it if you change your mind.

  • Cinemax ($5 per month)

With the Cinemax add-on, you can enjoy Cinemax East, MAX GO access, and an on-demand library of classic Cinemax movies and series. The Cinemax add-on also comes with a 7-day free trial and is contract-free.

  • Showtime ($8 per month)

The Showtime add-on is a little more expensive than the HBO and Cinemax add-ons. However, it gets you access to Showtime East and SHOWTIME ON DEMAND, so you can stream original Showtime series, documentaries, comedies, movies, and any sporting events carried on the channel.

  • STARZ ($8 per month/included with a Gotta Have It plan)

If you get the Live a Little, Just Right, or Go Big plan, you can add select STARZ channels to your package for just $8 per month. The add-on features STARZ East, STARZ Kids & Family, STARZ ENCORE East, and STARZ On Demand. Altogether, that gets you more than 5,000 streamable on-demand titles. And like the other add-ons, STARZ comes with a one-week free trial and the option to cancel anytime.

Local Channels Available with DIRECTV NOW

DIRECTV NOW holds its own fairly well against other providers in terms of local channels with 64 ABC stations, 38 CBS stations, 70 FOX stations, and 46 NBC stations nationwide. That’s not as many as YouTube TV or Hulu Live, but it’s still more than six times the number Sling TV offers.

Long story short, we’d say DIRECTV NOW is middle of the pack in terms of sheer number of local channels available.

Want to figure out if DIRECTV NOW offers ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC in your area? Below is the complete list of areas where the service offers local channels, along with the specific stations offered in each area. Scroll down, see if your region is listed, and check out which local channels you can get with this service.

  • Anchorage, AK:, KTBY (FOX)
  • Juneau, AK: KJUD (ABC)
  • Kodiak, AK: KTBY (FOX)
  • Huntsville – Decatur, AL: WVTM (NBC)
  • Mobile, AL – Pensacola, FL: WEAR (ABC)
  • Little Rock, AR: KATV (ABC)
  • El Centro, CA – Yuma, AZ: KECY (FOX)
  • Mesa – Phoenix, AZ: KNXV (ABC), KSAZ (FOX)
  • Fresno, CA: KFSN (ABC), KMPH (FOX)
  • Los Angeles, CA: KABC (ABC), KCBS (CBS), KTTV (FOX), KNBC (NBC)
  • Palm Springs, CA: KDFX (FOX)
  • San Diego, CA: KGTV (ABC), KSWB (FOX), KNSD (NBC)
  • San Francisco – Oakland – San Jose, CA: KGO (ABC), KPIX (CBS), KTVU (FOX), KNTV (NBC)
  • Santa Maria – Santa Barbara – San Luis Obispo, CA: KEYT (ABC), KCOY (FOX)
  • Hartford – New Haven, CT: WTIC (FOX), WVIT (NBC)
  • Washington, D.C.: WJLA, (ABC), WTTG (FOX), WRC (NBC)
  • Fort Myers – Naples, FL: WZVN (ABC), WBBH (NBC)
  • High Springs – Ocala – Gainesville, FL: WOGX (FOX)
  • Orlando – Daytona Beach – Melbourne, FL: WFTV (ABC), WOFL (FOX), WESH (NBC)
  • Sarasota – Bradenton, FL: WWSB (ABC)
  • Petersburg – Tampa, FL: WFTS (ABC), WTVT (FOX)
  • West Palm Beach, FL: WPBF (ABC), WPTV (NBC)
  • Hilo, HI: KHVO (ABC)
  • Honolulu, HI: KITV (ABC)
  • Idaho Falls – Pocatello, ID: KXPI (FOX)
  • Bloomington – Indianapolis, IN: WRTV (ABC), WXIN (FOX)
  • Evansville, IN: WEVV (FOX)
  • Hutchinson – Wichita, KS: KAKE (ABC), KWCH (CBS)
  • Louisville, KY: WHAS (ABC), WLKY (CBS), WDRB (FOX)
  • Lafayette, LA: KADN (FOX)
  • Boston, MA: WCVB (ABC), WBZ (CBS), WFXT (FOX), WBTS (NBC)
  • Providence, RI – New Bedford, MA: WLNE (ABC)
  • Bangor, ME: WFVX (FOX)
  • Detroit, MI: WXYZ (ABC), WWJ (CBS), WJBK (FOX), WDIV (NBC)
  • Kalamazoo – Grand Rapids – Battle Creek, MI: WZZM (ABC), WXMI (FOX)
  • Minneapolis – St. Paul, MN: KSTP (ABC), WCCO (CBS), KMSP (FOX), KARE (NBC)
  • Jefferson City – Columbia, MO: KQFX (FOX)
  • Pittsburg, KS – Joplin, MO: KFJX (FOX)
  • Springfield, MO: KRBK (FOX)
  • Joseph, MO: KNPN (FOX)
  • Biloxi – Gulfport, MS: WXXV (FOX)
  • Columbus – Tupelo, MS: WLOV (FOX)
  • Bozeman, MT: KWYB (ABC)
  • Missoula, MT: KTMF (ABC), KTMF (FOX)
  • Belmont – Charlotte, NC: WSOC (ABC), WJZY (FOX), WCNC (NBC)
  • Goldsboro – Raleigh – Durham – Fayetteville, NC: WTVD (ABC), WRAL (NBC)
  • Greensboro – High Point – Winston-Salem, NC: WXLV (ABC), WGHP (FOX)
  • Albuquerque – Santa Fe, NM: KOAT (ABC), KOB (NBC)
  • Las Vegas, NV: KTNV (ABC)
  • Buffalo, NY: WKBW (ABC), WUTV (FOX)
  • New York City, NY: WABC (ABC), WCBS (CBS), WNYW (FOX), WNBC (NBC)
  • Schenectady – Albany – Troy, NY: WNYT (NBC)
  • Cincinnati, OH: WCPO (ABC), WLWT (NBC)
  • Columbus, OH: WSYX (ABC)
  • Lima, OH: WLIO (NBC)
  • Akron – Shaker Heights – Cleveland, OH: WEWS (ABC), WOIO (CBS), WJW (FOX), WKYC (NBC)
  • Bend, OR: KFXO (FOX)
  • Eugene, OR: KLSR (FOX)
  • Harrisburg – Lancaster – York – Lebanon, PA: WPMT (FOX)
  • Pittsburgh, PA: WTAE (ABC), WPXI (NBC)
  • Florence – Myrtle Beach, SC: WFXB (FOX)
  • Spartanburg – Greenville – Asheville, SC: WLOS (ABC), WYFF (NBC)
  • Memphis, TN: WHBQ (FOX)
  • Nashville, TN: WTVF (CBS)
  • Austin, TX: KVUE (ABC), KXAN (NBC)
  • San Antonio, TX: KSAT (ABC)
  • Salt Lake City, UT: KSTU (FOX), KSL (NBC)
  • Hampton, VA: WVEC (ABC)
  • Seattle – Tacoma, WA: KOMO (ABC), KCPQ (FOX), KING (NBC)
  • Green Bay, WI: WBAY (ABC), WGBA (NBC)
  • Huntington – Charleston, WV: WCHS (ABC)

DIRECTV NOW Features

Being able to watch all the channels you want is only part of what makes a good streaming service. You also need the right combination of features to make your home streaming experience as enjoyable as possible. Here’s how DIRECTV NOW stacks up.

Cloud DVR

HoursPrice
Basic Package20 hrs.*Included
Basic Package
Hours Price
20 hrs.* Included
*Recorded content can only be kept for 30 days.

DIRECTV NOW just launched True Cloud DVR, so it’s still pretty new. That being said, we tried it out and can say we think it’s pretty middle-of-the-pack.

DIRECTV NOW packages now include 20 hours of cloud DVR space. That’s just enough for you to save a single season of This Is Us, plus maybe a couple of other shorter shows—not too impressive considering every other service (apart from Sling TV) includes at least 30 hours of DVR space.

That being said, the True Cloud DVR is perfectly usable. It’s certainly a big improvement over what DIRECTV NOW used to offer (i.e., nothing). Supposedly, the service will roll out a DVR upgrade this summer, which will offer a total of 100 hours of DVR space for $10 more per month. But given DIRECTV NOW’s track record of promising DVR capabilities and then delaying them indefinitely, we’d recommend not holding your breath for it.

Simultaneous StreamsStreamsPrice
Any Package2Included
3 streams upgrade3$5/mo.
Simultaneous Streams
Any Package
3 streams upgrade
Streams Price
2 Included
3 $5/mo.

As far as simultaneous streaming goes, this service is on par with most streaming services. Customers can stream on two devices at once, so you can watch TV in the living room while your kids watch upstairs.

If you do happen to need more than two simultaneous streams, though, you can sign up for the 3 streams upgrade, which (as its name implies) gets you three simultaneous streams. Any more than that, and you’ll need to sign up for (and pay for) two subscriptions. If you fall into that boat, you’d probably be better off getting PlayStation Vue or Hulu with Live TV.

Commercials on DIRECTV NOWLiveOn DemandDVR
Any PackageYesYesYes
Commercials on DIRECTV NOW
Any Package
Live On Demand DVR
Yes Yes Yes

As of right now, all content on the service features commercials. But while commercial breaks on livestreams are exactly the same as you’d get if you watched via a cable package, on-demand content features limited commercials. That means you have to sit through only a couple of commercial breaks, and each break has only 30–60 seconds’ worth of ads. That sure beats sitting through a five-minute ad break for every three minutes of show.

As for recorded content, you do have the option to fast-forward through commercial breaks in 15-second intervals. That’s not ideal when you have to muscle through a 5-minute-long ad break, but it beats sitting through all the commercials.

Playback FeaturesLiveOn DemandDVRPrice
PausingYesYesYesIncluded
RewindingNoYesYesIncluded
Fast forwardingNoYesYesIncluded
Playback Features
Pausing
Rewinding
Fast forwarding
Live On Demand DVR Price
Yes Yes Yes Included
No Yes Yes Included
No Yes Yes Included

As far as playback features go, this service has its ups and downs. While other streaming services don’t allow you to pause live TV for more than a couple of seconds, DIRECTV NOW lets you pause for up to 70 seconds. After that, it stays paused, but it jumps forward five seconds for every additional five seconds that you keep the show paused.

That at least gives you time to get a drink or explain a plot point to a friend, though you can’t rewind if you missed something, which is a bummer. You also can’t fast forward after pausing to skip commercials (like you can with Sling TV).

Fortunately, you can pause, rewind, and fast-forward to your heart’s content when watching recorded shows. It’s the same with on-demand content, but be prepared to sit through the enforced commercial breaks anytime you try to skip past them.

Streaming Quality and Interface

Streaming quality on DIRECTV NOW is pretty decent, but it depends a lot on your internet connection. On a high-speed internet connection, you’re unlikely to experience major lagging or picture quality issues, though you may have to deal with a few seconds of buffering any time you start a new show, fast forward, or rewind.

directv now interface

On a cable internet or dial-up connection, though, you may experience more severe lagging. In testing out the service on a cable connection, we noticed that in peak usage hours (evenings and weekends), it took longer for content to load, and there were more frequent pauses for buffering. We’d definitely recommend taking advantage of the free trial period to see just how well the service works with your connection before committing to it.

Picture quality is also pretty fair—better than Sling TV, but not quite as good as PlayStation Vue. In general, we’ve noticed that the picture quality suffers and gets laggy whenever you switch inputs or jump between livestreams. Also, the service currently doesn’t offer any content in 4K, but 4K offerings are supposed to be coming soon (presumably around the same time as the DVR).

Where DIRECTV NOW really shines, however, is in its interface.

directv now interface

The user interface is pretty easy to navigate. DIRECTV NOW service includes a channel guide so you can see what’s coming up on each channel’s livestream, and the service features a pop-up window that allows you to continue watching the last live TV channel you tuned in to—no matter where you go in the app. That way, you don’t have to lose your place or jump back to live TV just because you want to see what else is on.

directv now channel guide

On the whole, that makes this service’s interface very similar to Xfinity TV and other familiar cable packages. So if you’re looking for a service that’s easy to use right off the bat, DIRECTV NOW is a solid choice.

DIRECTV NOW Device Compatibility

One of the best parts of signing up for a streaming service is realizing you don’t have to pay extra to rent your provider’s set-top box anymore. Instead, you can buy your streaming device of choice (most start around $35), download the DIRECTV NOW app, and get started.

The service is available on most popular devices, including video players like the Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Android TV, and various TV sticks. You can also stream on the go using your mobile device.

Gamers may want to steer clear of DIRECTV NOW, though, as it isn’t currently compatible with any gaming consoles. It is rumored that the 2018 update will include Xbox compatibility, but for now, you can access the DIRECTV NOW app on these devices:

  • Amazon Fire TVs (and Fire TV Sticks)
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Roku
  • Macs
  • PCs
  • Android phones
  • Android tablets
  • iPads
  • iPhones
  • iPods
  • Gaming Consoles (not currently compatible)

DIRECTV NOW Promotions

If you’re looking to save a little money on either a device or your streaming service itself, DIRECTV NOW offers a number of promotions to help you out. Perhaps our favorite ongoing promotion is the AT&T Unlimited Data Plan deal, which gets you a $25 credit on your monthly streaming bill if you get an unlimited cellphone plan with AT&T. That makes the service just $10 per month, which is an absolute steal.

DIRECTV NOW Sign Up Deal

DIRECTV NOW Review Summary: Our Verdict

Pros:

  • Fairly affordable price
  • Cheapest option for premium channels
  • The most local ABC coverage nationwide
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Decent channel count
  • Good streaming quality
  • Availability on the most popular devices

Cons:

  • Limited DVR space
  • Limited CBS and FOX availability
  • No 4K streaming
  • No compatibility with gaming devices

Overall, we like DIRECTV NOW. It’s not as cheap as Sling TV, and it doesn’t have the local channel availability and picture quality of YouTube TV. Instead, it achieves a pretty good middle ground between quality and affordability.

We’d definitely recommend the service to anyone looking for inexpensive access to HBO and other premium channels. We also think you’ll love it if you’re looking to access your local ABC station and want a user experience that mirrors cable TV.

But we’d recommend steering clear if you’re a heavy DVR user. Even with its new DVR service, DIRECTV NOW just doesn’t offer the robust recording space that many users need.

We’d also recommend going with another service if you want local CBS access, 4K content to keep up with your devices, or a service you can stream on your gaming console. There are just better options suiting those needs.

The bottom line: DIRECTV NOW is a quality service that’s still working on improving. But ultimately, whether it’s right for your household depends a lot on your needs, your area, and your budget. And if you’re unsure, you can always take advantage of the free trial period to test it out and make sure it works for you.

DIRECTV NOW Review FAQs

How Does DIRECTV NOW Work?

DIRECTV NOW is a streaming service, owned by AT&T. To use the service, you don’t need to have a DIRECTV or AT&T account—you can just visit the site and sign up. Once you’ve signed up, you can stream live TV and on-demand content from a host of compatible devices, including your Apple TV, Roku, or Chromecast.

What Makes DIRECTV NOW Different from Cable?

Unlike cable TV, DIRECTV NOW is delivered via your internet connection. It costs a lot less than cable, and you don’t have to sign a contract, so you’re free to cancel and restart anytime. The service also offers fewer channels than cable, which gives you more freedom to choose a package that offers what you need and eliminates what you don’t.

How Much Does DIRECTV NOW Cost?

Pricing varies depending on the package you get. The most basic plan (Live a Little) is $35 per month—considerably cheaper than most cable packages. The most comprehensive plan (Gotta Have It) is $70 per month, making it closer to what you’d normally pay with cable.

Can I Try DIRECTV NOW for Free?

Absolutely. The service offers a free 7-day trial, so you can try it out and make sure it’ll work for you.

Can You Use DIRECTV NOW Credentials to Authenticate TV Everywhere Apps?

Yes. In general, you have to be signed up for a package that offers the channel you’re looking for. So if you’re trying to access CBS Sports and have anything lower than a Go Big package, your DIRECTV NOW credentials won’t work on the CBS Sports app.

Here’s the complete list of TV Everywhere apps that currently accept DIRECTV NOW credentials:

  • A&E
  • ABC
  • AMC
  • BBC America
  • BTN2GO
  • BET
  • Bravo Now
  • CBS Sports
  • CMT
  • CNBC
  • CSN BayArea
  • CSN California
  • CSN Chicago
  • CSN Mid-Atlantic
  • CSN New England
  • Comedy Central
  • DisneyNOW
  • ESPN
  • IFC
  • FOX Now
  • FOX Sports Go
  • Freeform
  • FX Now
  • FYI
  • History
  • HBO GO
  • Lifetime
  • LOGO
  • MAX GO
  • MLB Network (web)
  • com At Bat (app)
  • MSNBC Now
  • MTV
  • National Geographic
  • NBC
  • NBC Golf
  • NBS Sports
  • UNIVERSO NOW
  • Nick
  • Nick Jr.
  • The Olympic Channel
  • Oxygen Now
  • Spike
  • Sprout Now
  • SundanceTV (web)
  • Syfy Now
  • Telemundo Now
  • TV Land
  • USA NOW
  • VH1
  • Viceland
  • WEtv

Does DIRECTV NOW Include NFL SUNDAY TICKET?

Unfortunately not. As of now, the only way to get NFL SUNDAY TICKET is to sign up for a satellite TV package with DIRECTV. But if that changes and the package comes available for DIRECTV NOW customers, we’ll be sure to update this page and let you know.

Does DIRECTV NOW Offer a DVR?

Yes, DIRECTV NOW has officially launched its DVR service. It’s still technically in beta, so it’s not as comprehensive as DIRECTV NOW claims it eventually will be. As of right now, you can get 20 hours of recordings included with your package, and you can hang on to your recordings for up to 30 days. Look for a $10 upgrade for 100 hours, supposedly coming out sometime in Summer 2018.

How are the DIRECTV NOW Video and Audio Quality?

Pretty good, though probably not quite as good as PlayStation Vue. You’ll see some buffering at the beginning of a new show, before and after commercial breaks, and anytime you fast forward or rewind.

On a bad internet connection, you might also get more buffering breaks than usual. But the picture and audio are pretty consistent and smooth. Overall, we think you get a good livestreaming experience for the money.

What Internet Speed Is Needed to Stream DIRECTV NOW?

According to DIRECTV NOW, you need a minimum download speed of 2.5 Mbps for HD content, while mobile devices need a minimum download speed of 150 Kbps. In general, the service recommends broadband speeds of 12 Mbps or higher in order to get the best possible TV-watching experience.

Can I Watch DIRECTV NOW on Multiple Devices Simultaneously?

Yes. As of right now, the service lets you stream on up to two devices simultaneously, meaning you can watch on one device while your spouse or kids watch on another. Or you can upgrade to three simultaneous streams for an additional $5 per month.

What Are Other DIRECTV NOW Reviews Saying?

About the same thing we do. Like us, a lot of other reviewers have praised the service’s user interface and bemoaned the service’s lack of DVR, and most other reviews give the service about 3 stars.

Is There a DIRECTV NOW Gift Card?

Not currently. However, you can use a prepaid Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express card to pay your bill as long as the card in question has recurring payments enabled.

Where Can You Get DIRECTV NOW?

To sign up for a DIRECTV NOW free trial, visit the service’s website.

Learn More

We hope we’ve answered all your questions, but if not, check out the DIRECTV NOW website for more information. You can also check out the service’s FAQ section and use its ZIP finder to look up which local channels are available in your area.

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Courtenay Stevens

Courtenay has been a professional writer for nearly 7 years. She loves that she can now help people cut the cord by merging her affinity for writing with her passion for watching TV, talking about movies, and keeping up with her various fantasy sports teams.
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13 Comments on "What is DIRECTV NOW? Review, Channels List, Cost, Free Trial Info, More (2018)"

  1. I couldn’t wait for Directv now. I put together my own servive. It consists an OTA Tv antenna hooked up to our old Comcast wiring (after we gave xFEEnity the boot) three Roku’s, two Chromecasts and an OTA Tivo Roamio w/ lifetime sub. Total cost $600. The savings after three years…$2500 and growing…Paul

  2. does this include THE Fox News channel live? The Fox and Friends?

  3. Direct TV now does not allow you to use chrome cast with apple products. DO NOT use this service is that is your streaming device. Sadly we were unable to find that information before signing up for service and Direct TV customer service offers no help and will not refund your money if you are dissatisfied with their product.

  4. Does this work with roku?

  5. Leslie Lacome | January 4, 2017 at 7:25 pm |

    Am so disappointed that Hearst and Direct TV could not come together on our channel 6. They remind me of my boys fighting in the sandbox. We the consumers are the losers. DTV prices are so high that I am considering a move. Older people like me find the price almost out of our range. TV is our window to the world and its getting dirty……..

  6. William T Shannon | January 10, 2017 at 7:16 pm |

    I currently have TWC/Spectrum. We have six tv’s throughout the home, what would you suggest for hookups? What I mean, will I need 6 Chromecasts for each tv.

  7. Kathy Goodish | January 16, 2017 at 3:46 pm |

    Can you stream off ps3

  8. How do I watch live Nascar races?

  9. April Hatter | April 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm |

    Why does Directtv Go not offer root sports?

  10. Have direct tv now $35 package, trying to figure out what is include for channels and apps.

  11. Is the YES network available as an add on?? I’ve got to watch my Bombers!!

Comments are closed.

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