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DirecTV Now Review: A Cord-Cutting Alternative?

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DirecTV Now is a new streaming only service by DirecTV. Read my review to see how the service works and if it's worth the cost.

DirecTV recently launched their answer streaming content – DirecTV Now. I spent several weeks using the platform to do a DirecTV Now review for readers looking for solutions to cut the cord and save money on their cable bill.

With the growing number of cord-cutters, it makes sense for DirecTV to launch this service, especially given that Dish launched Sling TV over a year ago. The DirecTV Now platform isn’t perfect, by any means, but it’s good to see another player in the cord cutting space. Following is what to keep in mind if you’re considering signing up for DirecTV Now.

How Much Does DirecTV Now Cost?

 

Since we canceled DirecTV 18 months ago, we’ve loved the extra $90 or so in our budget each month. We’ve tried a number of cord cutting options but have said “No” to most, if not all, of the options we’ve tried as it’s just not worth the cost. The first thing we look at when considering a new option is cost and if we’ll receive value from it.

DirecTV Now offers four different pricing plans. Those plans start at $35 per month and go up to $70. I will add that DirecTV Now does offer a free seven-day trial, which is what we did before they start charging you for service. In all honesty, the charge, while without a contract, is too expensive for my blood.

DirecTV Now

Yes, you don’t have to deal with the contract, and that does provide some value, but it comes at too high of a cost in my opinion. This is especially true given the fact that the service they seem to be pushing goes up to $60 if you miss the introductory offer.

How Can I Stream DirecTV Now?

 

One nice thing about DirecTV Now is you don’t need to have them install some nasty satellite dish or box. You simply sign up through the DirecTV Now site or through your smart TV. All you need to enjoy DirecTV Now is an Internet connection and a device to access the platform.

You can stream DirecTV Now through the following devices:

Unfortunately, Roku only works with certain devices. I would love to see that changed in the near future. I will also add that you can stream DirecTV Now on two devices at the same time.

I tested the platform on Google Chrome, Safari and our Fire Stick and all worked just fine. I was able to watch two programs at once, and when I started a third viewing option, I was instantly kicked out of one of the other viewing platforms.

DirecTV Now Channel guide

 

One of the most important features of a streaming service is going to be its channel lineup and how much you must pay to receive those channels. Nearly as important is how much it costs to upgrade the service.

As you can see from the picture below, DirecTV Now offers a decent range of channels. I particularly like that you can get channels like ESPN and CNN in the base package, plus some other popular channels. When comparing that against Sling TV, I think the edge goes to DirecTV Now.

DirecTV Now

Another nice feature with the DirecTV Now channel guide is you can add access to HBO or Cinemax for $5 per month. We pay $15 for the standalone HBO Now service, so there is value there. It’s important to point out that DirecTV Now currently does not offer Showtime, so if that’s important to you, you may want to look at other options.

DirecTV Now – The Good

 

There are a number of things I really like about DirecTV Now; here are some of them:

The channels load relatively fast. Whenever you change a channel on DirecTV Now it takes about 1-2 seconds to change. Compared to Sling TV that is pretty fast; I didn’t feel like I was waiting for channels to change.

They have a simple to use guide. This is another feature somewhat lacking in Sling TV that DirecTV Now improves upon. As you can see in the picture below, they list out the channels. If you want to watch something, you simply click on it. If you want to see what’s on later, you click the arrow buttons in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You can also find out what’s on one specific channel by simply clicking its icon on the far left of the screen.

DirecTV Now

You can create your own guide. If you look at the above picture, you’ll see a heart symbol to the left of each channel. If you click on that symbol, it goes to a “Favorites” guide you can use instead of scrolling through 60, 80 or 100+ channels. This is great if there’s only a handful of channels you like to watch.

There’s no contract. This is a huge plus in favor of DirecTV Now as you can cancel at any time.

You can watch and search at the same time. If you like to scroll through channels, you don’t need to get out of what you’re watching to find something else. The guide simply overlays what you’re currently watching so you can still watch and listen to the program.

The platform is smart. When you turn off the DirecTV Now platform, it saves the channel you were watching. So, when you turn the platform back on it goes right back to that channel. Sling, on the other hand, starts you back at the beginning.

Searching is relatively simple. DirecTV Now currently offers several dozen on demand movies you can watch. They’re categorized, sort of Netflix-style, making it relatively simple to find a movie.

DirecTV Now – The Bad

 

I’ll be honest, there are a number of things I really like about the DirecTV Now platform but there are also a several things not to like – such as:

The cost. The average cable bill is over $103 per month. As ridiculous as that is (and it really is), you want to be careful what cord-cutting options you choose as they can quickly add up. At $35 per month right out of the gate, DirecTV Now is no different. That’s not too bad, but if you throw in any other services like Netflix or Hulu that only adds to the cost – getting you close to the average cable bill and defeating the purpose of cutting the cord. If you go with the highest cost service, you’re only saving $30 per month at best and put yourself back in the same situation. This really isn’t specific to DirecTV Now as the other major streaming platforms offer similar pricey upgrades.

You likely still can’t watch local channels live. A lot of services fall short on this and DirecTV Now is no different. The only way you can watch local channels live is if they’re run directly by the network. However, if they’re run by an affiliate, and a lot are, you’re out of luck – as was I here in Omaha. In that case, you have to wait a day to watch your shows, just like on Hulu. If that’s important to you, do yourself a favor and spend $10 per month on Hulu and save your money. You can also buy a Mohu Leaf antenna to get locals, which is what we use.

There’s no DVR option. Just as with other providers, DirecTV Now does not offer a DVR. There are rumors Sling TV may offer one in the future. You can get a cloud-based DVR with a Playstation VUE, but that’s the only option out there. If DirecTV Now were to add a DVR option that would improve its value in my opinion. You can buy a Tivo Roamio to get DVR capability for local channels but it’d be nice to see DirecTV Now to add it as a feature.

The platform doesn’t let you know when the next episode is on. This is specifically for a series. While the guide is really helpful, they don’t let you know when the next episode is on – so you must know or you’ll be out of luck.

Limited pause, rewind and fast-forward options. I was able to pause a number of different live channels, but could not rewind. I tried the same on a number of movies and could do some pausing, rewinding or fast-forwarding but it was very limited. They do warn you that it’s limited when watching something on demand.

No access to NFL Sunday Ticket or Red Zone. I’m imagining they may add this in the future, but I assume it’s going to come at a cost. If access to either of those options is important to you, you’ll again be out of luck with DirecTV now.

You won’t be able to access football on local channels. This could be another biggie for many people. Thanks to the local channels restrictions, it’s very likely you won’t be able to watch football and other sports on local channels. You’ll see this with other major players, so it’s not really specific to DirecTV Now.

DirecTV Now Promotions

 

DirecTV Now offers several promotions to get new users. As you can see from the picture below they’re offering an Amazon Fire TV Stick if you prepay for one month or an Apple TV if you prepay for three months.

DirecTV Now

While tempting, it’s my opinion you’ll end up saving money in the long run by simply buying those items outright if they’re of interest to you of course. You can also get a free 7-day trial of DirecTV Now to start out – so you can see if you like the platform or not.

DirecTV Now vs Sling TV

 

Sling TV is one of the other major players in the streaming space; in fact, it was one of the first. In light of that, it’s important to compare DirecTV Now vs Sling TV if you’re looking to cut the cord. Here are some of the key things to compare when looking at Sling TV vs DirecTV Now:

  • Cost is pretty much equal when you take the add-ons at Sling TV into consideration.
  • Sling TV offers no access to local channels; DirecTV Now currently is on demand, for the most part.
  • Sling TV offers one device streaming with basic packages, or three at the higher tiers; DirecTV Now offers two with all packages.
  • Sling TV offers parental controls; DirecTV Now does not.
  • Both Sling TV and DirecTV Now have no contract requirements and can be canceled at any time.
  • Sling TV has significant buffering issues, with a far clunkier platform – here’s my Sling TV review for a full breakdown of their service. DirecTV Now, on the other hand, appears to have no buffering issues and, while more simplistic, has a more user-friendly platform.

Taking a look at DirecTV Now vs Sling TV, DirecTV Now wins the comparison in my opinion.

DirecTV Now is a new streaming only service by DirecTV. Read my review to see how the service works and if it's worth the cost.

DirecTV Now Review – My Take

 

I love seeing another player in the streaming space as that gives us additional options to ridiculous, high-priced cable contracts. While still in its infancy, I believe we’ll continue to see growth in the space that will force new products and a better overall service.

To be honest, however, I’m hard pressed to recommend DirecTV Now to many people. While cost isn’t always the most important factor, a quick look at the options at DirecTV Now shows the potential of not saving much and still paying the same people – DirecTV, just for a different service. Ultimately, I think it’s simply a marketing ploy that DirecTV is using to retain customers they’re losing from their traditional service.

Yes, $35 is relatively cheap for the channels they provide, but there are a lot of drawbacks to that $35 – namely the lack of live local channels and lack of a DVR. It just doesn’t pay, in my opinion, to sign up for DirecTV Now as the value isn’t there; especially if you sign-up for one of the higher, more expensive packages.

With that in mind, what good options are out there, besides DirecTV Now, for someone who wants to cut the cord and save money? Here are a few of the top options we’ve used to cut the cord, plus a few extras:

  • Hulu – $7.99 per month, or $11.99 if you don’t want commercials
  • Amazon Fire TV Stick – $39.99 one-time cost which gets you access to content on Amazon plus a wide variety of different free apps.
  • Amazon Fire TV – $89.99 one-time cost, this is the same basic thing as the Fire TV Stick but is a small, set-top box with additional features.
  • Mohu Leaf 50 antenna– varies in price, but is currently $69.95 and works great to get all your local channels. There are many other digital antennas you can use, here’s a list of the best ones on Amazon.
  • Tivo Roamio – varies in price, but is around $350 and is one of the top rated stand alone DVR options in the market. While the price may seem a bit high, the Roamio doesn’t have the nasty monthly fee most other DVR options carry. Per Amazon, this only works to record channels you get through a digital antenna. If you like to record shows on network channels, this can be an option to consider.
  • Roku Streaming Stick – varies in price, but is currently $47.98 and works much like the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

There are many other options available to help you save money on cutting the cord; these are just some of the few we own or have tried. As you can see, you can get much of what you want for a lower monthly cost, or a relatively small one-time cost that still allows you to shed that high monthly cost of contract cable or satellite TV.

 

What are your thoughts on DirecTV Now? What streaming services have you tried to save money? Do you still have cable, why or why not?

 

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I'm the founder of Frugal Rules, a Dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry. I'm passionate about helping people learn from my mistakes so that they can enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. I'm also a freelance writer, and regularly contribute to GoBankingRates, Investopedia, Lending Tree and more.

94 Comments

  • Good overview, John, and timely as my wife and I are looking to put together our “cord cutter package” and see what is out there. I was considering Sling TV but I’m struggling to see how it’s any better than DirectTV Now. Also, at the end of your article you pose the Mohu Leaf, Fire TV stick, and even Roku as an alternative to DirectTV Now. I think the Mohu Leaf could be called an alternative, but at the same time it offers something different imo – local channels. So more of an add-on with no monthly costs for streaming local TV. I also think of the Roku, Amazon Fire, etc. as not exactly competitors to DirectTV Now but hardware or a platform for streaming options. I’m still undecided about what direction to go, but I absolutely love that there are options with no monthly contract. As of today I’m leaning towards DirectTV Now, Netflix, and local TV.

    • TJ says:

      Take a look at Playstation Vue. It includes local channels in some markets.

      • John Schmoll says:

        I’ve read that as well TJ. I believe it’s not the case in all markets…curious as to what the restrictions are for locals.

        • TJ says:

          I’d bet good money on owned and operated affiliates.

          What I mean is, if Playstation VUE has an agreement with Disney for ESPN, Disney Channel etc, they probably included the local ABC affiliates, which would be New York, Los Angeles and a few others. I assume DirecTV will eventually follow that model as well.

      • Dale Parker says:

        Assuming that Directv now will be available on Roku in 1st qtr of 2017 I would definitely choose Roku over Amazon Fire Stick. I have both and Roku is so much easier and better to use. There is no comparison to the remotes as Roku is great and Fire Stick is confusing!

        • John Schmoll says:

          I’ve not used the Roku, but I’d disagree with your assessment of the Fire Stick. I think it’s very straightforward and easy to use. But, you gotta go with what you prefer.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks DC. If you’re looking at Sling vs. DirecTV Now I’d say the latter is far better – especially when you don’t take cost into consideration.

      Good point on the Mohu. I would agree that the others aren’t really competitors in the true sense of the word, but I believe any of them could take care of much what someone may be looking for in a Sling/DirecTV Now package – and getting you out of that monthly cost.

    • Tony says:

      Don’t do it. We cut the cord and went with direct tv now and it has been a nightmare. They simply have not figured this out yet. Give it a couple of months to see if they fix their many problems. We did this on the advice of our son, but regret cutting the cord.

      • John Schmoll says:

        Sorry to hear that Tony. We’ve had a relatively great experience in the times we’ve used their free trials. The savings from cutting the cord can be substantial, so sorry to hear about your frustrations.

    • Supuman says:

      I currently use PSvue with a Roku 4 and it is great have very few issues. The “my shows” DVR is simple to use. Tag the show and it will capture the last month worth of the show and new episodes will be available 2 minutes after they air. My biggest complaint is there is no on screen guide while watching a show nor does it let you know when new episodes of your shows are available until you select the show on the my shows tabs. I do believe directv now has a better mix of channels, so I may try the 7 days to see if it is a viable option. The local channels/DVR debate can easily be resolved with a Tablo networked DVR (199.99 to 299.99) and A QUALITY DAS antenna mounted in the Attic, the Leaf is far from quality if you need to pull in a signal 20+ miles away. I bought mine from DAS Antennas Direct. Tablo service is 5 dollars a month and this includes remote access thru port fowarding on your router on every imaginable platform ios, android, web, samsung smart tv, lg etc… Allows unlimited streams.

  • Richard says:

    I’m lovin’ Directv Now.
    I haven’t had cable Tv for years. Relied only on my over the air antenna.
    Now for $35 a month and a free apple Tv 4, WOW a big leap forward for me.
    Also, Apowersoft has a screen recorder program for download that’s currently a one time cost of $19.95 with coupon available on their web site.
    I record Directv Now programing almost everyday. That gives me the option to skip commercials. Lovin’ this new set-up.

  • I can’t get an antenna to work at my home but once I do I am definitely cutting the cord. Unfortunately I still like watching the local networks, especially watching football on the weekends. So once a company can break through on the local channels and even better with a DVR I will be cutting the cord officially.

  • RT says:

    Does Directv Now allow “tv anywhere” support? That is, can I used my login with WatchESPN, HGTV and other networks? Sling only supports ESPN while PS-Vue supports most apps.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Great question RT. From what I’ve read they’re offering support to some – WatchESPN, HBO Now and a few others but that it’s not all – but they are looking into adding more so it might be a touch & go situation.

      • Jeromy says:

        There are only a few networks that my Direct TV Now login allows me to access directly. Unfortunately Direct TV Now isn’t mainstream enough to be on all of them.

  • Ben says:

    I disagree about Directv Now at $35 not being an especially good value. I haven’t had cable TV for 7 years now. I use an outdoor antenna and a TiVo Roamio OTA DVR ($350 one time cost (discounted) with no monthly fees to record over the air programming from the 50 channels I receive (broadcast networks, PBS, and sub-channels like Me TV. But I did decide to sign up for the 3 months prepaid deal at $35/month Directv Now and got the Apple TV 4 (a $149 value for free). Between having local channels via antenna and over 100 cable channels from Directv. Now I have roughly the equivalent of a cable subscription that could easily cost over $100 per month for only $35. If Directv can add DVR functionality next year as predicted, and add Roku devices I think they have a winner on their hands. I would agree that at the full value of $60 per month the value becomes more questionable and probably wouldn’t interest me. But for now I’m pretty impressed and may decide to keep the service after the 3 months I have prepaid.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad you’ve found something to work for you Ben. In some circumstances, I’d cede your point. Here’s the problem though – at the base plan you’re at nearly $40 with taxes. If someone has that and they add in Netflix, Hulu or anything else they’re going to quickly eat into the savings and can conceivably end up with a savings of only $20-30/month. It’s my opinion that many could simply use Hulu/Netflix and get an antenna for locals – coming out to $20/month and a one-time charge for the antenna. I do think adding a DVR & Roku capability will give it a good edge, but I doubt the DVR capability will come for free.

      • Ben says:

        I do have Netflix but I split the cost with my son, so my total cost with DTVN and Netflix including taxes is $42 per month. Cable in my area with all fees is well over $100 (non-promo price) and I’d likely still keep the Netflix. So I’m saving over $60 per month and all total I have about 150 channels and pretty close to the same channel package as I would with cable. With my TiVo whole home system we have full DVR funtionality on 5 TVs in the house. That would mean additional outlet fees from cable meaning I’m saving even more. So for me I consider it a tremendous value.

        • John Schmoll says:

          Glad to hear you’ve found value in it Ben. My larger point is that starting at $35, it could mean little in savings – especially if people get higher tiered packages that eat up any savings you get from cutting the cord. If you do your due diligence, like you did, then it’s fine if you manage to keep the costs low. However, for my family, it’s not a value as we only watch a small handful of channels and I think many are in that same position.

          • Wes says:

            If you use ATT for your wireless provider and have choice unlimited, they give you a $25 credit each month on DTVN. That makes it only $10 a month. At that point, there is no decision to make. You sign up.

            • John Schmoll says:

              I understand that Wes, but that’s also assuming AT&T is the only/cheapest option for Internet service. If it’s not, then it doesn’t necessarily make it an open & shut case.

      • Jeromy says:

        I don’t think using a Netflix subscription is a fair comparison. A lot of what Netflix offers is useful whether you have cable or not. I had ATT Uverse for years but also had Netflix for some of their original programs and kids movies. This has almost become a normal cost of entertainment. You shouldn’t need Hulu with Direct TV Now since you can stream their network shows since they don’t allow you to watch them live. Moving to Direct TV Now with an Apple TV and adding an attenna with an HDHomeRun receiver and streaming it to a Channels app on my Apple Tv, I can have all my local channels and cable(ish) type channels on one device without switching inputs. Sure there is no DVR option, but since most of the networks offer an on demand option it almost isn’t necessary unless you want to record a sporting event.

        • John Schmoll says:

          You’re actually helping me make my point Jeromy. 🙂 Netflix has become more robust with the original content, deal with Disney bringing more stuff in, etc. that I believe it’s possible to use just that and something like Hulu to get most content. Going that route helps save more money, especially if you don’t mind watching shows you can’t catch on a local channel the next day.

    • Robert Arutunian says:

      You also have to include cost of your ISP. How much is that cost/month?

  • Sam A says:

    Have had DirecTV Now for 2 weeks. Works fine, we have the $35 promo Go Big package. We cut the cable cord for TV 6 yrs ago. We pay for 200mb/sec internet and have 2 antennas in our attic which gives us over 35 OTA local channels.
    Wife had to retire a few months ago for medical reasons and I was looking to provide her with more viewing options during the day. Yeah we could have gone back to cable tv but that would have dropped us to a lower internet speed tier to keep what we wanted to pay per month. So now for a total cost of $110/mo we have fast internet and roughly 135 channels of DTVNow & OTA.

    For our situation DirecTV Now works. If the price shoots up in the future who knows if we’ll keep it.

  • JP Colin says:

    Anyone looking to use DirecTV Now should be aware that an overwhelming number of people are having continuous buffering, login, and other issues associated with the service. IMHO, the service was rolled out long before it was completely ready. There are an astounding number of channels available for the $35. The lack of the other DVR and other features are mostly a problem for those whose cable or satellite is they long-running standard. If one was already a “cord-cutter,” DirecTV Now held out the promise of a larger number of channel choices, without worrying so much about the “bells and whistles.” However, that is all moot. The service works fairly well on mobile devices. For those using Amazon Fire devices, Apple TV, or Chromecast, the problems are nonstop. The “Apps” on those devices were clearly not well-tested prior to the launch of the service. AT&T is going down the toilet unless they can do something to solve those issues quickly. I have been searching the Internet and found thousands of complaints about the service, which is a little over a couple weeks old. Heads should roll at AT&T, because this will likely end up costing them a lot of money on wasted R&D, if this thing continues in the same direction and tanks. Unless they fix this short-circuited service, it WILL tank. It is shameful that they rushed to launch before the service was ready. It says a lot about how much AT&T cares about its customers. Apparently, they don’t.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Very interesting to hear JP. I’ve not had any of those issues myself, it worked great for me. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me to know that many of these issues exist for a chunk of users. I’d also agree that AT&T doesn’t seem to care about its customers – it’s been that way for too long in my opinion.

    • Suze says:

      JP, we got DirecTV Now the day after it launched. We have not had any buffering or login issues. I wonder if it has to do with the speed of the user’s internet service? Ours is cable internet from Brighthouse/Spectrum and it’s 60 whatever, lol.
      What we did have an issue with, that inexplicably started several weeks into the service, was a problem with the video and sound not being synced. The video lagged. It drove us nuts for awhile, especially since it had been fine at first. We tried deleting and re-installing the app and a number of things chat on DTV had us do (clear the cache on the Fire TV and other things). We use an Amazon Fire TV device in the living room (where the issue was) and a Fire stick in the bedroom (which was fine). What finally worked… wait for it… was to reboot the Amazon Fire TV! We were convinced that it was the DTV app or service because every other app seemed to be fine. It wasn’t them at all.
      All to explain, I think there are a number of factors involved in a streaming service. DTV Now DTV Now may well be having issues, but in all fairness, they’re only part of the equation. We were frustrated at the time, but overall, we have really enjoyed the service and love the UI.

    • Aaron says:

      Directv now did not work for me. I tried on many devices and tested on many broadband connnections with speeds consistently ranging from 20-100 Mbps. Used my iPad Air 2 and Apple TV and had many problems with audio continuing to play and video freezing. Content not available in the on demand section. I signed up at the beginning but now ended it and going back to regular cable. I disliked the remote on Apple TV. I would go to pick up the remote and if I didn’t pick up the remote a certain way it would change channels. I found it clunky and unresponsive. If you are TRULY needing these channels and cheap, the $35 intro price with free Apple TV made it worth trying. However this was not a quality product for me. Glad to hear others have had luck.

  • Cathy says:

    This is all good, but how do you get your internet service. The only reason I went with Verizon from antena tv was to get internet. Any suggestions?

  • David says:

    Thanks for the writeup! I’m currently OTA + Roku w/Sling. For $20, Sling carries a lot of channels that my family enjoys. For $20/month, I can usually put up with the quirks of Sling.

    I’ve tried PSVue and consider that the gold standard of these types of services. The base package offers more sports, science, and kids programming, a cloud based DVR (which holds shows for about a month), 5 simultaneous viewers, and sign-in for channels like History. For us, those are such positives, that I’m really tempted by a 75% price increase over Sling. But I’m not quite ready to pull that trigger.

    Enter DirectTV Now at a similar price point to PSVue. However, it sounds like they do not one-up PSVue. They probably are winning the number of channels race, but I still prefer quality over quantity. (There’s a bundle of Sling channels I’d trade for one or two more quality channels.) Regardless, I’m hopeful that the competition in this space can spur things along and am interested to see what comes down the pipe from all three of these services.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Thanks for your thoughts on Sling TV vs DirecTV Now vs Playstation Vue. I’ve not tried Playstation Vue, but have heard good things and think, on the surface it’s likely a little better than DirecTV Now. Completely agreed, I’m hopeful the rising competition will bring about more good things for us as consumers.

  • Tom says:

    I have been longing to cut the cord for some time. When I saw the ad for Directvnow for $35 per month and heard I could be grandfathered in, I went for it. I took my $210/month triple play and downgraded to just internet. Ported number to magic jack ($3 month), Directvnow ($35 – first payment, tax included in price), and $60 for internet. I am saving $100 plus per month. The bad is that Directvnow has been glitchy but has improved in the last week. If grandfathered in at $35, I think it has great potential. Also use OTA for some local channels but it is very limited on Long Island. May I just have the wrong antenna. Thank you for the information here, it is appreciated.

  • Lynn says:

    I am strongly considering divorcing cable as I just don’t watch tv that much. My 1 yr special bundle price is about to expire. My problem is I work nights so what I do watch, I dvr. I read a review last night about PlayOn software that will record your tv to your hard drive for a lifetime subscription of $40. I’m thinking I would need an external hard drive as my laptop is older. Again that would be a 1x expense. I already own an OTA antenna but can’t remember how good my reception was. That will be Monday’s investigation. Already have 2 smartv w/ WiFi and a fire tv stick so those expenses are already made.

    Just wondering now what kind of internet service I will need to continue so I can watch tv w/ minimal buffering and such. I’m not fully computer savvy so I’m not sure if I worded that right.

    I’m going through a divorce and am trying to trim the budget while maintaining some entertainment. Computer use for FB, email, internet banking and Amazon or eBay shopping are about all I do. I have Amazon Prime for the free shipping and unbelievably Netflix is one of the court ordered items I am pay for my ex.

    Any info is greatly appreciated as I am figuring this out by reading informative articles like this.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I’ve not worked with or used PlayOn, but I’d agree that you’d likely need an external hard drive.

      Not certain of the exact speed you will need to avoid buffering, but the faster the better. I will say that our ISP was able to help us with that so you may just want to ask.

      • Lynn says:

        Thx for the reply. Someone to reinforce my assumptions is helpful.

        Plugged in the OTA, which is the Moho Leaf 50. I get quite a few channels. Unfortunately, about 4 of them are QVC, about 4 other shopping networks, several Spanish stations, PBS, ABC pixilates often, ION, and one nonlocal news station.

        • John Schmoll says:

          Interesting you get those shopping networks via the antenna. We don’t get any at all here in Omaha, which makes me happy. 🙂

          • Austin says:

            John,

            I live in Omaha and I’m looking at getting the Mohu Metro @ $19.95. Their website estimates that I will get 21 channels based off my address (near aksarben). Would you recommend the metro unit and is their estimate based on address usually correct?

          • John Schmoll says:

            Austin, I live in West O & have had 2 Mohu Leafs for several years and haven’t had an issue at all – I’m thinking you should be fine.

  • eideard says:

    OTA worthless in NM even in Abq or up here in Santa Fe. D* sub over 20 yrs; but, cost vs cumbersome too big pkgs makes renewal every cple yrs problematical.

    Was ready for Comcast trial when I learned they’ve begun downscaling to 720p nationwide. Coupled w/notorious compression artifacts, that choice useless.

    Rdy to try D*Now; but, not till DVR capacity. I rely on AppleTV as often as possinle. Strong Comcast web connection makes 1080p solid. Same for the little 4K around. No real TV geek can live w/o time shifting…choosing to skip commercials.

  • Tom says:

    Thank you John! It was a tough one because of how it could impact the wife and kids. I’m with you in hopes that Directv Now will add DVR. I see Directv Now as an alternative to cable. With the introductory price of $35 flat, I get nearly all the channels I had with cable (over 100 channels) at the price of renting 3 cable boxes. This is actually the $60 Go Big plan and is a promo. I am investing in this in hopes that it will improve. For those waiting for it to improve, they could miss the opportunity to get in at $35 for the Go Big plan and get less channels for that price in the future. Just thought I would throw that in. I tried the free trial on both Sling and PS Vue and while I did not experience any streaming issues, the picture quality did not compare to Directv Now. If DTV Now gets their act together within the next couple of months, my gamble could pay off. Just my 2 cents! I truly appreciate this forum.

  • Tom says:

    My apologies for rambling. I work with families in need and cable and cell phone bills eat their budget because they do what everyone else does!

  • bob says:

    I just signed up for the $35 intro package and am curious to see how this performs. I’ve been using PS Vue since April and have loved it – aside from the occasional freezing issue (which I chalk up to the connection anyway) and laggy menus, it’s been fantastic. The cloud-based DVR is nice and even something as simple as a “last channel” option is awesome. Plus, living in Chicago, I get all the local affiliates AND can stream them via my FireStick (I noticed NBC was only available for streaming over PC or mobile on Directv Now). Overall, stream quality is nice, customer support has always done me well and it’s been very enjoyable by and large.

    However, the “Buts” are that PS Vue doesn’t carry the Viacom channels, so not being able to watch Comedy Central has become an increasing annoyance to me. And, HBO Now is not included and is an additional $15/month.

    I figure the $20 savings is enough to at least make the week-long trial worth my while, as I do think this service definitely has room to grow. The lack of DVR or inability to watch the NBC or CBS football games might be reason enough not to switch over, especially with the playoffs coming. I suppose that’s what antennas are made for.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I’ve not personally used PS Vue, but sounds like you’ve had a good, overall, experience – in general.

      Agreed, I don’t think it’s necessarily enough to switch over for good but they do have a decent start.

    • Cyndy says:

      The fire stick will stream Thursday night football and 10 CBS and NBC football games this fall

  • jeff says:

    I just got done talking with DirecTV and everything you say is still the case until January 9. I also agree that I need the DVR. If DVR was an option I would jump on it. So I will be waiting with baited breath for that to come and then I switch. In the meantime, I lowered my Standard package to the lowest offering. They probably could get a few more bucks out of us if they would hurry up with the recording component.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Well, yes, the promo pricing dies after 1/09 but everything else holds true. That said, completely agreed, if they were to offer a DVR option they’d get a lot more customers.

  • Chuck Dunbar says:

    I believe you many very valid points but I just wanted to add something to this discussion. We recently moved to new home in NE PA. and we tried to take our satellite service with us which was Direct TV but we live in a wooded area and the tech couldn’t get line of service. We had Dish tech out with the same results. Next try was local cable company but they don’t provide service to our area. (Live three miles past their area). When this Directv Now option came around, for us it was a god send. We tried Sling but way too glitchy. Thanks for all your help/info

    • John Schmoll says:

      I can imagine being in a more remote/wooded area would pose problems for getting service. I think streaming services like this will help with that, assuming there’s a decent ISP option in the area. Glad it has worked out well for you!

  • terry james says:

    Verizon mobile customers get all NFL games free on mobile devices and apple tv can ‘airplay’ from iPhones and iPads mirroring the games to tv.

    i was wrong about airplay… sorry

  • Thomas M. says:

    Are the base prices of $35 for DirectTV Now and $20 for Sling TV the total cost, or are there any taxes and fees added on?

  • Keith says:

    DirectTV Now is a joke, constantly buffering, and getting error messages, and then there is the billing issues, you cancel well before the trial period they still charge your card. I tried Sling TV not worth since you have to pay for add-ons, and no DVR At the moment sometimes buffering issue arise, the interface is clutter, user guide could be better Playstation VUE is the only one worth having until the others decided to join the game like Hulu Live and Youtube Live. Until then I highly suggest PlayStation Vue

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sorry to hear about your frustrations with the platform Keith. We’ve actually had none of those issues & have had them with Sling TV. The cancelation process is pretty simple and straightforward in my opinion.

      • Keith says:

        Not according to all the complaints about it and also about the platform and the buffering all over there Facebook webpage. I have to agree with them. But PlayStation Vue is the best out of all of them. Still waiting for Hulu and YouTube live though.

    • Robert Arutunian says:

      Hi Keith,
      Trying Youtube TV. Seems to work well though channels are less. The Cloud DVR will keep your library for 9 months though compared to 28 days for Vue. More channels coming to Youtube TV next few weeks including AMC, BBC Sundance and few others at no increase in price.

      • John Schmoll says:

        I like what I see coming out with Youtube TV but they’re unfortunately only rolling it out to a handful of cities to start with. Hopefully it becomes national in the near future.

    • John White says:

      Keith – We will be another Direct TV Now former customer as it keeps kicking us out of the programmming after it finally loads, then continuously stops to reload. It really stinks.

  • John White says:

    Had ATT Direct TV Now since the beginning. Found it should really be called Direct TV Eventually as it takes a long to load, then kicks you out of the ATT app on a regular basis. We will be cancelling our subscription this month and looking for something else more stable. ATT Direct TV now was frustrating and not worth the saving in money.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Yea, it has been called DirecTV Now all along though I know there has been some crossover promotion between the two. That being said, sorry to hear about the hassle – I’ve not run into that, but it’s admittedly not a perfect platform.

  • D. Calder says:

    Direct TV Now locks up after 4 hours on 3 of my Apple TVs if you don’t change the channel. No other app does this. At first I thought it maybe the Apple TVs so I put it on my Amazon fire TV and it actually popped up with a message you have not changed it in 4 hours and then locked up! I think AT&T is dumping you to save bandwidth if it thinks your not there. So if your watching a long race, change the channel once in awhile! Don’t think you can go to bed and not wake up in the morning with it working either. It will be sitting on the last channel you were on FROZE.

  • John says:

    I have used all 3 major services. Sling IMHO is a waste of money for what you get for the price, unless they have the channels you want. PS Vue I liked, but was missing History channel. Directv Now has everything I want, and having gotten in at the $35 promotion it is great. My only issue is the DVR. I am trying PlayOn but so far in my testing I can’t get it to play any DirecTV Now channels. It also kills my work VPN from my laptop when working from home (only Playon trying to connect to DirecTV Now). If I can get it working then the combo of PlayOn with DirecTV now will be perfect. Yes, I need hardware, but the new microPC’s and small profile hard drives should make it a very small footprint (smaller than a traditional DVR/Tuner service.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I would tend to agree with your assessment John. Sling is a waste of money in my opinion. I think once Youtube TV grows out of its infancy we may see more providers offer some sort of DVR capability – that’s my hope at least.

  • Amy says:

    I currently have sling and added dvr. I love it. I also have 2 local channels. I don’t think I could switch to DirecTV until they get DVR.

  • Robert says:

    I just cancelled DirecTv NOW today. It was impossible to watch any show without multiple freezes and once the freezing started, it would keep doing it until I restarted my Fire Stick. My 8 year old was watching the Disney Music Awards and it kept freezing. I had both DirecTV Now and Sling – so I added Disney to my Sling account and we watched the rest with no problem. I was going to cancel one of them anyway after trying them both out and this made my decision easy. The 100 channels for $35 is great – if you can watch them. I held out for a while because I didn’t want to lose the $35 deal (and because it works great on my phone), but I have come to the conclusion after several months that it will never get better. So now I have the Blue and Orange Sling packages with Kids and Comedy extras and the DVR. It’s more than the DirecTV NOW special deal but at least it works. If Sling was crap too I would probably just go back to regular TV.

    • John Schmoll says:

      Sorry to hear about that Robert. We’ve had relatively good luck in our trials with DirecTV Now and more of a headache with Sling. None of them are perfect unfortunately.

  • Ronald Gijzen says:

    When I look at Amazon it says that the Tivo Roamio can only record TV picked up from an antenna. You suggest that is a replacement for the lack of a DVR option with DirecTV now. So, I just wanna be sure, can the Tivo Roamio record from Directv Now or not?

    • John Schmoll says:

      You are correct Roger. It only works with antennas, per Amazon. I didn’t list it as an alternative to DirecTV Now, just that’s it’s one of the options to use if you want to cut the cord as many like to DVR shows on network channels. I’ve updated the post so it’s not confusing.

  • Carl says:

    I’m currently a directv customer who’s paying the 114 a month even though my wife and I don’t watch a lot of tv. I had directv only Bc my need for Sunday ticket. Well I’m now ready to give that up and reviewing cord cutting options. However, even though this is a ‘cord cutting’ article I wondered how you felt about the new spectrum bundles being offered? 109 after taxes gets me all the main channels and espn CNN etc, dvr, 100 mbps internet, and phone. I’m currently paying 54 for 20mbps internet.
    So when comparing to the cord cutting options. I feel i avoid the cost of additional hardware. Once you take away the internet portion I’m paying close to directv now while having dvr and not having to worry about streaming issues or local channel issues. And they buyout my directv plan. And they claim it’s no contract even though the prices are stated as ‘for 12months’.
    What are your thoughts?

    • John Schmoll says:

      That’s a good question Carl. I’ve not heard much about spectrum plans so I’m not confident enough to give a good answer to those. That being said, I’d be tempted to look at something like you’re describing assuming it truly does get me out of a contract and only gives me the things I really need. You’ve likely already thought of this, but you also want to look at what the cost goes to after the 12 months. It could easily turn into a situation where you save in the short-term, but they charge you considerably more in the long-term.

  • Kimberl says:

    Hi,

    Looking for any help I can get, my father recently passed away and I have taken over my mothers finances and trying to cut some of her monthly costs she has At&t for cable and internet for right at 190.00/month. I just purchased a fire stick Ive never used one but I was thinking if I got it and could get it set up I could cut a lot of cost. I need some help though so I would obviously need to keep her wifi internet on through them but wondering what the best choice for her is she doesn’t really watch much tv maybe local news and a little lifetime. I was thinking I could just get her net flixs on it and be good? she doesn’t need to be able to record shows cause she has that option now and does not use it. Only other thing is we don’t watch any sports except football so what are good options for that? And one more thing is there an antenna I can get to just get her a few local channels, does that mean I have to change the TV from HDMI to regular tv? HELP ME!! I’m looking for any suggestions i am not good with this tech savy stuff so up for any ideas??

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hi Kimberly, sorry to hear about the loss of your father. I lost my Dad unexpectedly 18 months ago and can empathize. That being said, it’s thankfully pretty simple to get what you need. Netflix could work, but I’d look at Hulu as an option as they offer a good number of Lifetime shows. Yes, she will need an antenna to access local channels. I list my favorite ones here in the post, so you should check those out and they’re all relatively simple to set up. If I can do it – as I’m VERY non-tech savvy I’m confident you can too. 🙂

  • Pamela says:

    I am 71 and low income paying $130 for xFinity. Had to do something to cut this bill. Got Fire Stick and netgear modem. Already had Sony Smart TV. Fire Stick was good at first. After 4 days there was a lot of lagging and freezing screen. I had to delete cache and unplug. Final straw was screen just went black many times. Replaced Fire stick with Roku Stick. so far ok. some spinning of content (lagging) but ok. I tried Directvnow, Fubo, Hulu, Amazon, Sling… ultimately Directvnow was best fit for me. Cost ok. At first xFinity told me Internet only would be $60/mo. I did research and found they had a pkg for $29.99/mo with 25 mbps (little low which might be cause of delays) but I am happy. Total $65 sure beats $130. -Pamela-

    • John Schmoll says:

      Glad to hear you got a workaround Pamela, and half the cost. I suspect you may be right – that the speed might be the cause of the delays. At the very least you’ve slashed your bill in half. 🙂

  • Victoria Archer says:

    Looking to cut Comcast cable cord along with their internet as well. Our total cable bill monthly is running close to $200. Have been researching the Direct TV Now option with ISO using AT&T hot spot box which uses their 4G/LTE platform. They claim that if I use their Direct TV Now while using their Hot Spot box it will be an unlimited data use. I will be running Direct TV Now on 4th gen Apple TV. They also claim I can sign up with a $25 credit to either of the Direct TV pkgs I choose. We camp a lot and they say we can take the system with us to use as long as we get a 4G/LTE signal. I’m kinda scared to cut the cord. What do you think?

    • John Schmoll says:

      I think it’s worth a try Victoria. I’ve admittedly not used that feature from them, so don’t know how it’d work. That being said, you could get pretty significant savings by making the switch. I know it can be scary, but it’s relatively simple to cut the cord and you’ll love the savings.

  • Brandon says:

    Sorry, but PS Vue for the win. The fact that you can stream four at a time and it’s feature set is on par or better than the competition is compelling. The only thing and I mean only thing that it needs is a better guide on Roku. Otherwise, it’s perfect.

  • Pamela B. says:

    I am a 70 yr single woman on social security. My comcast was $130/mo. I had to do something. Tried Fire Stick. I continued to shut off and even froze the screen. After a while went to Roku Stick (great!). Subscribed to Sling and DirectvNow. Directvnow has some minor buffering but not like Sling. Wish there was a DVR with DTV but maybe later. Worse problem I have is the 4 hr. power pause. I hate that, especially if you are in the middle of a program or movie. Soooo annoying. I have checked my settings. I am sure it is DTV but no setting to shut that off. I might mention that the Fire Stick got super hot to touch. The Roku does too but not as hot. At first I had some added items that I thought were free. Fixed that right away so will only have wifi at $29.99/mo plus $35 for DTV/mo. Better than $130. 🙂 (also picture is really nice and clear).

    • John Schmoll says:

      Hmm, sorry to hear about the hassle Pamela. We don’t have Roku, but do have several Fire Sticks and haven’t experienced the being too hot to touch. At any rate, glad you found something that works for you and enjoy the savings. 🙂

  • John says:

    I don’t see any mention to increased internet costs when using streaming tv. Many ISP’s s have a data limit each month unless you pay more.

    • John Schmoll says:

      I didn’t mention it John because it can vary widely based on your provider, amount of devices and so forth. It’s also not something we’ve come close to encountering, thankfully.

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