Initial Impressions of DirectTV Now

I’m a pretty happy user of Playstation Vue, especially since they recently released an AppleTV app.  But I can’t help but be tempted by the value proposition of DirecTV Now, particularly with their introductory offer, so I decided to sign up for the seven day free trial.

For me, it was great when I was streaming on my Apple TV in the mid/late afternoon. I also briefly tried the iOS app on my iPad and my iPhone.  After playing around for a few minutes, I left it playing in the background while I did some actual work.

No hiccups, until around 6:30pm, I got an error message about exceeding my streaming limit, even though the only stream I had running was on my Apple TV. I thought maybe the apps on the iPhone and iPad were still registering as connected somehow, even though they were no longer actively being used, so I force quit the application on both of those devices. The error message persisted.  Then, I force quit the application on my AppleTV and restarted it.

The first time I restarted the application, it reported that the service was “temporarily unavailable”.  I couldn’t do anything in the app at that point; there was no retry option. So I force quit again. This time it loaded up, and all seemed well, until a few minutes later when I got the error about exceeding my streaming limit again.

I discovered that if I switched channels, it would come back temporarily, but within a couple of minutes the error would reappear. The message referenced a particular error code to look up in their help center if the problem persisted. Unfortunately, all the help center did was basically repeat the error message: you can only have two streams active at a time. Duh.

I tried watching for another 15-20 minutes but finally gave up since the error kept reappearing every couple of minutes.  I switched back to my trusty PS Vue app for the night.

I’m glad they have a 7 day trial. I’m still on the fence. I love the value proposition and the number of channels (especially the +$5 for HBO which I pay $15/mo for now), but I really use the Cloud DVR a lot on PS Vue. I know they are supposedly adding a cloud DVR feature in “2017”.

Hoping that it was just capacity issues related to it being launch day.  We’ll see what day 2 brings.

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