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DIRECTV NOW Review 2019

Posted by  | Jul 26, 2019 | Streaming Review

Directv Now | 2019’s Best Live TV Streaming Services

Price
$50-$135/mo.

Customer satisfaction

(4.24 /5)

Pros

  • Featured packages with HBO®
  • Over 150 available channels
  • Over 20 sports channels

Cons

  • Expensive packages
  • Gaps in on-demand series
  • Restrictive cloud DVR

Data effective 7/26/19. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

The bottom line

Recently, DIRECTV NOW has been inching ever closer to its DIRECTV satellite TV roots.

It has lots of channels, sure, but they’re tied up in packages that cost as much as (or more than) traditional DIRECTV packages.

DIRECTV NOW’s shortcomings are so numerous we’d rather recommend you get the classic DIRECTV satellite TV service or any other live streaming TV service.

DIRECTV NOW deals

Right now you can save $15 per month off your first two months on a DIRECTV NOW PLUS or MAX package.

Despite the stifling package limitations, you’ll save a total of $30 off if you stay the full two months. That’s even more savings than offers with its 40% off deal.

To get DIRECTV NOW’s deal, enter the promo code 15OFF2 at checkout.

DIRECTV NOW packages

PriceLive channelsOffers local channels
Our Pick
MAX
View plan
$70/mo.45+Yes

PLUS
View plan
$50/mo.45+No

ENTERTAINMENT
View plan
$93/mo.65+No

CHOICE
View plan
$110/mo.85+Yes

XTRA
View plan
$124/mo.105+Yes

ULTIMATE
View plan
$135/mo.125+Yes

OPTIMO MÁS
View plan
$86/mo.90+No
Our Pick
MAX
View plan
Price$70/mo.
Live channels45+
Offers local channelsYes

PLUS
View plan
Price$50/mo.
Live channels45+
Offers local channelsNo

ENTERTAINMENT
View plan
Price$93/mo.
Live channels65+
Offers local channelsNo

CHOICE
View plan
Price$110/mo.
Live channels85+
Offers local channelsYes

XTRA
View plan
Price$124/mo.
Live channels105+
Offers local channelsYes

ULTIMATE
View plan
Price$135/mo.
Live channels125+
Offers local channelsYes

OPTIMO MÁS
View plan
Price$86/mo.
Live channels90+
Offers local channelsNo

Data effective 7/26/2019. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Let’s talk about DIRECTV NOW’s ludicrous number of packages.

Most streaming live TV services come with somewhere between one and four packages. These slim lineups make it easy to compare and choose the best plan for you.

Instead of sticking with this new streaming style, DIRECTV NOW changed its packages in March 2019 to resemble traditional TV packages.

And maybe you like having choices for different price points. After all, this change means that DIRECTV NOW offers a base package with 141 channels (plus local broadcasts where available). That’s more than any other live streaming service. Rad!

No—sorry—we meant “bad!”

Compare DIRECTV NOW’s streaming plans to DIRECTV’s satellite plans. (We know, using the same names for streaming and satellite TV gets confusing.)

DIRECTV NOW plans vs. DIRECTV plans

PackageDIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
DIRECTV
(satellite)
SELECT™N/A155+ channels
$35/mo.*
PLUS40+ channels
$50/mo.
N/A
MAX50+ channels
$70/mo.
N/A
ENTERTAINMENT65+ channels
$93/mo.
160+ channels
$40/mo.*
CHOICE85+ channels
$110/mo.
185+ channels
$45/mo.*
XTRA105+ channels
$124/mo.
235+ channels
$55/mo.*
ULTIMATE125+ channels
$135/mo.
250+ channels
$60/mo.*
PREMIER™N/A330+ channels
$110/mo.*
ÓPTIMO MÁS™90+ channels
$86/mo.
205+ channels
$35/mo.*
PackageSELECT™
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
N/A
DIRECTV
(satellite)
155+ channels
$35/mo.*
PackagePLUS
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
40+ channels
$50/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
N/A
PackageMAX
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
50+ channels
$70/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
N/A
PackageENTERTAINMENT
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
65+ channels
$93/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
160+ channels
$40/mo.*
PackageCHOICE
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
85+ channels
$110/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
185+ channels
$45/mo.*
PackageXTRA
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
105+ channels
$124/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
235+ channels
$55/mo.*
PackageULTIMATE
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
125+ channels
$135/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
250+ channels
$60/mo.*
PackagePREMIER™
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
N/A
DIRECTV
(satellite)
330+ channels
$110/mo.*
PackageÓPTIMO MÁS™
DIRECTV NOW
(streaming)
90+ channels
$86/mo.
DIRECTV
(satellite)
205+ channels
$35/mo.*

Data effective 7/26/2019. Pricing subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

*For 12 months with a 2-year contract, paperless bill, & autopay. Price increases for months 13-24.

As you can see, DIRECTV NOW’s ULTIMATE plan is $135 a month for 125+ channels. The satellite plan has 250+ channels at $60 per month for twelve months. That means with DIRECTV NOW, you’re paying $75 more each month for about half as many channels.

Wasn’t cord-cutting supposed to save you money?

We guess DIRECTV NOW didn’t get the memo.

To be fair, there are other factors to consider, like how DIRECTV NOW has no contract, while DIRECTV requires a two-year contract and raises the prices after the first year.

So if you’re still interested in DIRECTV NOW, check out the featured package MAX. It comes with HBO® and CINEMAX® included, and it hits the right notes for family and sports channels.

It’s still rudely expensive, though.

DIRECTV NOW channels

When you count add-ons, you can get up to 164 channels through DIRECTV NOW. Only Sling TV and fuboTV have more, with 266 and 182 total channels respectively.

On-demand shows

DIRECTV NOW isn’t built around binge-watching the way Netflix or Hulu is, but it still has some on-demand availability. Some shows have only a couple of episodes, but there are many with full seasons (though rarely the complete series):

  • The Bachelor
  • Deadly Class
  • The Good Doctor
  • I Am the Night
  • Manifest
  • Miracle Workers
  • Project Blue Book
  • Siren
  • Suits
  • This Is Us

Channels as of 7/26/19

Live sports

If you’re a sports fan, DIRECTV NOW will scratch that itch. But Pac-12 Network fans be warned, fuboTV or Sling TV are the only streaming services that carry that particular channel.

Pac-12 aside, DIRECTV NOW offers lots of sports channels in English and Spanish:

  • ABC
  • Big Ten Network
  • CBS
  • CBS Sports Network
  • ESPN
  • ESPN Deportes
  • ESPN2
  • ESPNEWS
  • ESPNU
  • FOX
  • FOX Deportes
  • FOX Sports 1
  • FOX Sports 2
  • GolTV
  • NBA TV
  • NBC
  • NBCSN
  • NFL Network
  • NHL Network
  • Olympic Channel
  • SEC Network
  • Sportsman Channel
  • Tennis Channel
  • TNT
  • TVG
  • Univision Televisa Deportes

Channels as of 7/26/19

Can I get NFL SUNDAY TICKET with DIRECTV NOW?

Unfortunately, you can’t get NFL SUNDAY TICKET with DIRECTV NOW. If you still want NFL SUNDAY TICKET, you’ll need to sign up for DIRECTV satellite TV service. We hope this changes soon for all of our pro pigskin fans out there.

Local channels

DIRECTV NOW offers live channels on select packages:

  • MAX
  • CHOICE
  • XTRA
  • ULTIMATE

However, local channels aren’t available everywhere. To check to see which channels are available in your area through DIRECTV NOW, enter your ZIP code on its website.

Pro tip: You don’t need DIRECTV NOW to get access to your local channels. We can show you how over-the-air (OTA) TV picks up local broadcasts for cheap.

Channel add-ons

Although you can get HBO and CINEMAX included with the MAX package, you can also add on these and other premium channels to any package:

  • HBO for $15/mo.
  • CINEMAX for $11/mo.
  • SHOWTIME® for $11/mo.
  • STARZ® for $11/mo.

DIRECTV NOW also has two Spanish-language channel package add-ons:

  • DIRECTV NOW Deportes for $5/mo.
  • DIRECTV NOW Español for $10/mo.

Combine DIRECTV NOW with another streaming service

With help from a few other streaming services, you can power up your DIRECTV NOW for the ultimate TV experience.

fuboTV
$54.99/mo.
Netflix
Starting at $8.99/mo.
Hulu
Starting at $5.99/mo.
DIRECTV NOW is excellent for sports, but you can amplify that experience with channels like Pac-12 Networks on fuboTV.Since DIRECTV NOW’s on-demand series often lack seasons, Netflix can help fill in the gaps.Like Netflix, Hulu has a bunch more on-demand content and some killer original shows to fill in DIRECTV NOW’s offerings, too.
fuboTV
$54.99/mo.
DIRECTV NOW is excellent for sports, but you can amplify that experience with channels like Pac-12 Networks on fuboTV.
Netflix
Starting at $8.99/mo.
Since DIRECTV NOW’s on-demand series often lack seasons, Netflix can help fill in the gaps.
Hulu
Starting at $5.99/mo.
Like Netflix, Hulu has a bunch more on-demand content and some killer original shows to fill in DIRECTV NOW’s offerings, too.
fuboTV
$54.99/mo.
Netflix
Starting at $8.99/mo.
Hulu
Starting at $5.99/mo.

DIRECTV NOW specs and features

DIRECTV NOW comes with a stingy cloud DVR and an average number of streams. The video quality isn’t exceptional, but the interface is a breeze to use.

Cloud DVR

PlansStoragePrice
All DIRECTV NOW plans20 hrs. for 30 daysIncluded with plan
PlansAll DIRECTV NOW plans
Storage20 hrs. for 30 days
PriceIncluded with plan

Every DIRECTV NOW subscription comes with a cloud DVR. But it has only 20 hours of storage, which may not even be enough space for two seasons of your favorite show.

On top of that, it saves the recordings for only 30 days. You could easily forget to watch your recordings if you’re out of town or simply busy for a while.

In short, DIRECTV NOW’s cloud DVR is one of the worst out there, and you can’t upgrade it for a better one. Use this cloud DVR at your own risk.

Multiple streams

If you have lots of people clambering to watch TV, the two streams that come with DIRECTV NOW packages won’t be enough. For $5 per month, you can boost that number up to three and get more peaceful TV time.

Unfortunately, you can’t get any more than three streams total, so check out Hulu + Live TV if you have lots of people who want to watch TV simultaneously.

PlansStreamsPrice
All DIRECTV NOW Packages2Included
3 streams add-on3$5/mo.
PlansAll DIRECTV NOW Packages
Streams2
PriceIncluded
Plans3 streams add-on
Streams3
Price$5/mo.

Compatible streaming devices

If you’re trying to decide how to watch DIRECTV NOW on your TV, no worries—lots of conventional streaming devices support DIRECTV NOW:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android mobile
  • Apple TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • iOS mobile
  • iPod touch
  • Mac computers
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Windows computers

But unlike some live TV streaming services, you won’t be able to watch DIRECTV NOW on any gaming consoles. It also isn’t available on Android TV, Amazon mobile devices, or Windows phones.

Check out Sling TV if you want to be sure you can stream on almost any device.

DIRECTV NOW plays its HD channels in 720p (which isn’t Full HD) or higher. You can change your streaming quality on mobile devices, but on other devices, it sets automatically.

As you can see below, there may be noticeable blurs on your shows, even if you’re watching on super fast internet.

Poorly done, DIRECTV NOW.

First Take on ESPN2HD from DIRECTV NOW at 220 Mbps download speed

Interface

DIRECTV NOW’s interface is straightforward and easy to navigate.

The homepage starts streaming a show for you right away based on the last channel you were watching. It’s nice to get that classic switch-on-the-TV-and-veg feeling.

However, if you’re scrolling through some of the suggested shows, you’ll find premium shows from channels that you might not even subscribe to. It’s a bummer to have stuff you can’t watch shoved in your face.

The Library tab includes both your cloud DVR recordings and any shows you’ve bookmarked for your reference. Bookmarking is a great way to keep track of on-demand shows.

Under Discover, you can find all sorts of series and movies on demand. You’ll get popular movies, genre collections, and tons of must-see recommendations.

Finally, Guide shows all DIRECTV NOW’s live TV channels. You can even filter them under a few different categories:

  • Favorites
  • TV shows
  • Movies
  • Sports
  • Kids

So while DIRECTV NOW’s packages might be confusing, at least once you’ve signed up, you won’t have a hard time finding your way around.

DIRECTV NOW’s homepage

Our final take

DIRECTV NOW isn’t the best for families who need lots of streams. But if you’re a sports fan or love premium channels—and don’t mind shelling out cash—DIRECTV NOW might be what you’re looking for.

DIRECTV NOW FAQ

What is the difference between DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW?

DIRECTV is a traditional TV service that uses a satellite dish set up on your home to get your favorite TV channels.

On the other hand, DIRECTV NOW is a streaming live TV service that lets you watch TV channels using your internet.

How do I sign up for DIRECTV NOW?

Head over to DIRECTVNOW.com, and click the blue START STREAMING button in the top right corner.

If you get the PLUS or MAX packages, you can save $20 per month for the first three months when you sign up using the code 20OFF3.

How do I record DIRECTV NOW?

When you’re watching a show, click REC in the lower right of the screen. Or you can use the search function to find a series, then click Record Series under the series summary.

How do I cancel DIRECTV NOW?

Select the gear symbol to change your settings. From there, go to Account Details, and then Manage subscription.

Scroll to the bottom of the subscription page, and select the small I Want to Cancel link.

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