The age of cordcutting has begun. With services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon for streaming video, it’s hard to justify the high price of cable. Additionally, the ease with which you can torrent movies and TV shows further negates the need for cable and satellite. There are even services such as Couch Potato for automating downloads.
DirecTV and AT&T partnered to launch the awesome DirecTV Now service aimed at cordcutters. The streaming service debuts on Nov. 30, 2016 and details reveal tiers, channels, and compatible devices. The forthcoming service aims to compete with similar streaming services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.
At launch, DirecTV Now comes in four packages:
- Live a Little: $35/mo. 50+ channels
- Just Right: $50/mo. 80+ channels
- Go Big: $60/mo. 100+ channels
- Gotta Have It: $70/mo. 120+ channels
There’s also an add-on for HBO and Cinemax. An extra $5 a month adds these two premium services to the lineup. While the upper tiers offer more channels, there’s a higher price. However, DirecTV Now offers a few incentives. If you sign up for the “Go Big” plan (100+ channels) at launch, you’re grandfathered into that plan at $35/month so long as you maintain a subscription.
Initially, compatible devices include the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, as well as Android, iOS, Chromecast, Apple TV, and Google Cast TVs. Plus, it’s available in-browser using Google Chrome, Safari, and more. If you pre-buy a month of service, you get a free Fire TV Stick, and if you pre-purchase three months of service you get a free Apple TV.
The pre-buy incentives are perfect for cordcutters who might be enticed by DirecTV Now but don’t have a compatible set top box. Notable excluded devices include the Roku, but reportedly AT&T plans to debut apps for Roku streaming players and TVs as well as Samsung smart TVs and Amazon Fire tablets in 2017.
The base package includes the likes of Nickelodeon, CNN, ESPN, FX, and AMC. Stepping up to the Just Right package adds ESPN U, IFC, Fox Prime Ticket, and more. The Go Big tier throws in such stations as Sundance TV, MTV Classic, BBC World News, and Oxygen. Finally, Gotta Have It lends Chiller, Boomerang, and El Rey among others. Considering Chiller’s weekly Sunday evening “The X-Files” marathon, it’s probably worth upgrading if you don’t already have access via Netflix or Amazon.
For local channels (Fox, ABC, NBC, etc.) those will be available in owned markets. So markets where broadcast networks own and operate the local stations themselves. While there’s no DVR functionality initially, AT&T does have plans to roll out this feature in 2017.
Overall, DirecTV Now is a pretty solid service despite the downfalls. Lack of DVR and limited device compatibility is offset by competitive pricing. Plus AT&T does plan to address these with updates in 2017.