Hands On With DirecTV Now, AT&T’s new streaming service for cord cutters

This week, AT&ampT unveiled its new Television streaming service for cord cutters, who are not prepared to subsist totally on Netflix, YouTube and whatever else they can watch for free around the web. Launched on Tuesday, DirecTV Now offers access to over 120 reside Tv channels, in addition to on-demand programming, and the alternative to add on premium networks like HBO and Cinemax for just $ 5 a lot more per month.

With launch pricing of only $ 35 per month for the “Go Big” package of more than 100 channels (typically $ 60/month), and promotions that contain a cost-free Amazon Fire Television Stick or Apple Tv with prepaid service of 1 or three months, respectively, DirecTV Now is worth a appear if you’re in the market for a streaming Tv service.

But how effectively does it really perform?

Having only a couple of days with the service so far, it is as well quickly for a comprehensive overview. That mentioned, from this initial glance, it is fair to say DirecTV Now offers a compelling alternative to current rivals like Sling Tv or PlayStation’s Vue.

Pros: Pricing, Cheap HBO, Zero-Rated

Starting with the price, if you sign up at the $ 35 per month rate, you’ll be grandfathered in at that very same rate for as long as you use the service. If you miss the limited time promotional pricing, you’ll be able to select from 4 diverse packages:

Reside a Tiny – $ 35 / month (60+ channels)
Just Proper – $ 50 / month (80+ channels)
Go Huge – $ 60 / month (100+ channels)
Gotta Have it – $ 70 / month (120+ channels)

Even at the common pricing, $ 35 per month delivers a lot of channels with out resorting to add-on bundles like Sling, and even if you tack on HBO for yet another $ five, you are still coming in well under the average cable Television bill of $ 103.ten.

DirecTV Now event

HBO and Cinemax are more affordable on DirecTV Now at $ five per month. Sling Television, by comparison, charges $ 15 for HBO as does Vue, and Sling charges $ 10 for Cinemax.

In addition, AT&ampT subscribers can stream from the service to their smartphones and tablets with no tapping into their wireless data plans. (How the FCC will react to this remains unknown, even though.)

DirecTV Now event

Cons: No CBS, missing devices, no DVR, only two streams

The biggest drawback to DirecTV Now is that it only allows you to watch on two devices at the identical time. That is fewer than PlayStation Vue, which permits up to 5 total streams at a time. Meanwhile, Sling Television has two packages: Sling Orange only gives one particular stream, but Sling Blue gives up to three.

At launch, can use DirectTV Now on iOS and Android devices, Apple Television, Chromecast (Android for now), the internet, Amazon Fire Television and Fire Television Stick, and select Google Cast-enabled wise TVs.

Yes, there are some devices missing at launch, most notably Roku, Fire tablets and some wise TVs.

DirecTV Now event

But DirecTV Now already has plans to expand its device help next year, just like it also plans to upgrade its service soon after launch with more functions.

For instance, its cloud DVR function isn’t expected till subsequent year. PlayStation Vue has a cloud DVR and Sling just announced its DVR is in beta.

Lacking a DVR isn’t massive concern in terms of basically having something to watch, given that DirecTV Now is not only a live Tv service – it also consists of on-demand programming. At the begin, 15,000 on-demand titles are available for instant viewing.

A bigger worry, perhaps, is that DirecTV Now does not provide CBS and Showtime, though it is nonetheless attempting to make a deal to bring those to its service. (NFL games are an additional matter – they’re on CBS All Access, while Verizon still has the exclusive on mobile streaming.)

Channel Lineup

With DirecTV Now, the ability to live stream other broadcast networks like NBC, ABC, and Fox is restricted to select markets. But this doesn’t necessarily make it any worse than Sling Tv or Vue – neither of which prioritize reside streaming of broadcast Television. Those competitors also only make live broadcast streams available in pick markets, and Sling sells its “Broadcast Extra” as an add-on.

On DirecTV Now, you can nevertheless watch shows from networks like Fox, ABC or NBC – you just might have to watch them on demand. (A list of VOD vs reside channels is right here. To see if your city has nearby live channels, you can check this list as an alternative.)

The rest of the channel lineup is every little thing you’d count on from cable Tv, from life-style programming, to sports, to news, to educational channels, and children Television, like Nickelodeon and Disney.

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Plus, DirecTV Now has access to Viacom channels, including Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Spike, MTV, Comedy Central, and other individuals, which PlayStation Vue just lost.

It has a ton of sports channels, as well, like ESPN and its connected networks, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Golf Channel, NBA Tv, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, Tennis Channel, and other individuals, as effectively as some regional sports networks, based on availability.

AT&ampT is also bundling its its teen-focused Fullscreen network, and a handful of originals. Fullscreen is not a large promoting point, unless you have kids. And the originals are paltry and lower top quality than what you’d find on Netflix.

User Interface

One of the most significant selling points for DirecTV Now, at least in this cord cutter’s opinion, is the user interface. As an individual who has tried both Sling Tv and Vue, I found I considerably choose DirecTV Now’s look-and-really feel.

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Sling Tv is nonetheless a nightmare to navigate, but DirecTV Now is easier. There are only 4 tabs at the leading for moving by means of the content material: the homepage, “Shows,” “Movies” and “Networks.” Unlike cable Television where you are presented with a linear programming guide, DirecTV Now has a bit of a Netflix-like really feel to it.

In the Tv section, curated categories point you to different Television genres, and not just “drama” or “comedy,” either. As an alternative, there are groupings that feature suggestions like reality game shows, option cartoons, shows for teens, crime Tv shows, and much more. These collections have catchy titles like “Made You Think” (educational shows), or “Way Out There” (shows with the man vs nature theme).

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There are also rows that function DirecTV Now’s personal suggestions, new shows and returning shows. DirecTV Now claims its service will personalize itself to your interests more more than time. (As will its advertisements!).

The Films section is more simply organized by higher-level genre (Action, Family members, Drama, Comedy, and so on.).

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DirecTV Now could make it easier to add on to your service or upgrade your strategy, nevertheless.

On the “Networks” tab, it shows a list of “unsubscribed” channels beneath those you can access on your present program. Here, it doesn’t only tease with an HBO add-on, but also a couple of channels that are actually incorporated in the pricier tiers.

When you click “subscribe,” you’re informed you need to have to alter your program to gain access.

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But doing so signifies navigating to the Settings, clicking “User Account,” then “Manage My Plan.”

A a single-click upgrade appropriate from the Networks screen would be a lot simpler.

I’m also not a fan of it taking two clicks to see all a network’s Tv shows on a single web page – that must be the default right after you click on the logo. (Proper now, you have to click a “Show All” button.)

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If you’re a lot more interested in just watching what’s airing reside, the Property tab will direct you to those shows. Like Sling Tv, it ditches the text-only linear guide for rows of thumbnails you click by way of as the default encounter, but you can still click over to “Guide” if you choose a classic layout. Plus, the Home page also gives recommendations of other issues to watch, ranging from New Shows to Featured Films and other content collections.

Performance

Once more, in restricted testing, I ran into a couple of issues with faulty streams – errors when loading a video, or just slow loading. But some cord cutters did see far more error messages and even crashes. The interface also at times was slow to load content as you scrolled additional down the web page.

Some testers also ran into errors claiming they had gone over their number of permitted streams, though they hadn’t. Hopefully this, also, will be fixed quickly.

To what extent these are just launch week hiccups that will be worked out, versus a lot more critical underlying infrastructure problems can’t yet be determined.

Individual Decision

DirecTV Now is not the clear winner compared with Sling Tv and PlayStation Vue.

It will come down to what’s most essential to you: Pricing? A number of streams? Channels? Device assistance? Less expensive HBO? User encounter? And so forth.

But it is undoubtedly a service that is in the operating, provided the attributes it delivers today and these it has planned for the near future.

TechCrunch

Vimeo is functioning on a subscription streaming service

Levin didn’t give any specifics, but mentioned that Vimeo will experiment with proprietary subscription services. To get the essential content, the organization will lean on its pro subscribers, who are usually emerging filmmakers, directors and producers. He points out that High Maintenance, for instance, aired for two seasons on Vimeo prior to HBO picked it up, and that three of four Oscar-nominated shorts come from Vimeo directors.

The internet site currently offers video streaming solutions by way of its On Demand service, with content from independent producers and main studios like Lionsgate. Nevertheless, users need to buy videos à la carte, whereas the new streaming service would be on a subscription basis.

We will supplement our creators with original and licensed programming, and can fill out a robust slate of programming for tens of millions, not billions, of dollars.

“[We] can fill out a robust slate of programming for tens of millions, not billions of dollars,” Levin mentioned. Noting that the internet site has 240 million month-to-month viewers “with a sturdy propensity to devote,” he adds that “if we can convert just a tiny portion of our audience, we have a quite huge business.”

Levin acknowledges that Vimeo is in tough against established websites like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, and notes that the site is still losing income. But he stated that profitability is not the near-term goal, and that the service has a distinctive niche. “It is the mixture of each the tools and the audience in a single platform — a one-quit shop for creators to bypass the entire current media infrastructure,” he stated. Of course, Barry Diller tried to beat the existing broadcast infrastructure with Aereo, and that didn’t work out so properly.

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Roku lands its very first streaming deal in Asia with Philippines-primarily based PLDT tie-up

Roku, the streaming media organization, has netted its first deal with an operator in Asia after it announced an agreement with Philippine Lengthy Distance Phone Company (PLDT).

PLDT is no stranger to deals with tech organizations, it invested in Rocket Net to create technologies for Southeast Asia and was an early backer of Netflix-like service iFlix, which also operates in Southeast Asia.

Now, via its deal with Roku, PLDT will sell a dedicated, own-branded Roku streaming player and offer an accompanying streaming service from Q2 2017. The organization mentioned the content material will consist of programming from its Cignal network, iFlix and “content from worldwide providers”, although a cost has not been revealed yet. That represents a comparable deal to Roku’s agreement with British broadcaster Sky, which also sells its box and service in Italy, among other partners.

“We’ll be in a position to offer consumers a low-price device with access to the very best content from the Philippines and about the world through an easy-to-use user interface,” PLDT’s Oscar Reyes Jr. said.

“In the past, operators 1st had to construct or lease committed infrastructure in order to deliver Television services to the residence, but with streaming that is no longer the case. As a outcome, we see a lot of interest from all over the planet for our Roku Powered plan from each telecom and spend Television operators,” Andrew Ferrone, vice president of pay Television at Roku, added in a statement.

Regardless of that interest, a Roku spokesperson confirmed to us that there is no quick strategy to expand its coverage in Asia at this point. The PLDT providing will not go on sale until mid subsequent year, so we may possibly see enhanced activity close to, or soon after, it goes live.

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