Comparing Live TV Streaming

The cord is cut! Live streaming TV with DirectvNow (using Apple TV)

img_1452It’s been 3 weeks of testing out the various Live Streaming TV providers: Sling, PS Vue and DirecTvNow, it’s time to pick one.  Even though this provider didn’t have a DVR, I chose DirecTvNow for one main reason: they were offering a “free” Apple TV with a 4 months prepaid subscription.

I have 2 televisions: downstairs in the den/ family room and upstairs in the master bedroom. The downstairs one is a Samsung 4K Smart TV but apparently it’s old and not that smart.  It didn’t have the latest apps, not even Sling!  I could get a Roku or Amazon stick to solve that, but why not just get an Apple TV with 4K capability?

I signed up for the 4 months of DirecTvNow, and about a week later my Apple TV arrived.  It was super easy to set up.  When you first turn on the Apple TV, you’re greeted with a magnificent 4K aerial photo of a snowy mountain.  I was so mesmerized, it took me a moment to finish setting it up.


Stock footage

Apple walked me through each step, first having me pair the unit with my Wi-Fi, and having me log into my Apple account so I could pair my other Apple devices like my Mac and my iPhone.  In fact, my iPhone can be used as my Apple TV remote control.

With my Apple account linked, my photos and even my iTunes account are linked to the Apple TV, so I could also play my iTunes in the background or watch my photos on my iPhone. In addition, you can download other apps like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and any other apps that iTunes has, including DirecTvNow.

So how does DirecTvNow fare?

I still think Sling is a better product, in terms of fewer glitches.  However, the streaming quality of DirecTvNow is not bad.  I noticed while watching ABC shows, I don’t get to see the local commercials.  I get a “we’ll be back to the program after this commercial break” message instead.  At night I seem to encounter a few buffering problems with the On Demand programs, but it only happens in the beginning.

DirecTvNow works great with the Apple TV and also with my Roku TV (in the master bedroom).  My main concern was watching live sports, and I was able to view the Ducks vs. Boston Bruins game on January 30th without any problems, such as buffering or sound issues.

For $50 a month, I am paying a lot less than my prior $170 satellite bill.  Well, true, I don’t have 900 channels, but I do have my sports, local channel (but not CW), and plenty of other channels to watch.  If I want to “get all the channels” I can pay $20 more and get everything DirecTvNow has to offer, and it’s still $100 cheaper than before.  Plus, no contract, no equipment to buy, and if I don’t like DirecTvNow, I can go to Sling or any other Live Streaming provider.

My thought is… why didn’t I cut the cord before?