AT&T/DirecTV launched their internet-based service DIRECTV NOW just over a month ago, offering new customers free trials, an Amazon Fire TV Stick, or 4th-generation Apple TV depending on commitment. The service runs on a dedicated app for a number of streaming devices (or on PC browser), but reviews of the apps across most platforms have been less than complimentary. In fact, the app has been called an “absolute nightmare,” “trash,” and “not even remotely worth it” by product reviewers.
The DIRECTV NOW app looks and works very similar to other streaming video apps including Amazon Video, Hulu, Sling TV, and of course Netflix. Most of these services have borrowed from, or at least been influenced by each other’s interface design and information architecture. You might also include premium channels such as HBO and Showtime in the mix, but while the apps look similar in design they don’t have near the amount of content, channels and categories to contend with.
But the interface design isn’t really the problem here. The problem is with the functionality of the apps. One reviewer called the Android DIRECTV NOW app “DirecTV Beta” which may sum up the abundance of issues customers have expressed grief about.
We read reviews about the Apple iTunes, Google Android, and Amazon app versions of DIRECTV NOW, all of which had more one-star rankings than two, three, four, or five stars. “What an absolute nightmare” an Amazon reviewer wrote in a two-thousand word scrutiny of the app and all its defects.
“Wonderful idea and lineup, [but] executed horribly” wrote another reviewer — this time of the Apple iOS version. “What a shame” a customer said of the version for Android devices.
In our own review of the service we found the DIRECTV NOW apps to drop out, freeze, crash, hard to navigate, and stream in poor quality for long periods of time even with substantial and fast internet service. Yeah, the DIRECTV NOW apps should have been called public betas. No question about it.
All three versions of the DIRECTV NOW app have been updated to fix some of the bugs, but there is still a long way to go. In our experience, we might be looking at more streamlined apps within 6 months, if AT&T puts enough budget towards improvement.
As far as the browser version for PCs, well, changing the channel is about as awkward as it can be. And, finding content within the minimalistic design isn’t as easy as it could be. But considering the cost and amount of channels available (local networks excluded), this service from AT&T has huge potential and will likely persevere as all the wrinkles get ironed out.
Regardless of the app’s downfalls, DirecTV has some great launch deals going on. As we mentioned above new customers can get a free Amazon Fire TV Stick or 4th-generation Apple TV free with a short-term commitment. Just be willing to withstand the imperfections. Read more about the deals here.
ATTENTION ATT DIRECT TV CUSTOMERS!
I signed up for ATT Direct TV Now, got the free Apple TV, etc. About a month ago, I traveled out of my home area to visit family and ATT Direct TV Now failed to work while I was away on my mobile device, but “magically” worked once I got home. About two weeks ago, I traveled for business and the same thing – failed to work when I was away, but worked just fine after I got home. From my conversation with ATT Technical Staff, ATT BLOCKS DIRECT TV NOW ACCESS BASED ON YOUR IP ADDRESS!! Direct TV Now only works from ONE IP address/ONE LOCATION. FRAUDULENT ATT DIRECT TV ADVERTISING, extremely poor service model since it is tied to one physical location!! AVOID…
Can’t get any info about Roku support. Getting close to scrapping DirectV now. Why the heck can’t AT&T be forthcoming with information. Seems incompetent and poorly run program.
Streaming with hdmi cable since Roku not available yet. Getting tired of waiting.
Cancelling service. The nerve of the “tech support” reps laughing suggested that at least we could sell our now useless Apple TV box on amazon. Wow, I haven’t witnessed this poor customer service ever. Absolutely no attempts to make this right. Quickly losing faith in ATT&T.
Signed up for 3 months with the free Apple TV box. The system is a complete joke. Not only could we not immediately get a viable signal, repeated attempts for help calling ATT&T stores as well as diredtv now “help” lines was met with comments such as “we can’t help you, the platform is too new”. This was enough for us. The one time the set up worked, it drained our data; ironically, this is their selling point. By all means, stay away from this. It’s way to convoluted and you are on your own for tech support. Thus, the system is a joke, just don’t go there.
The new DirecTV Now online streaming cable service rolled out by AT&T is turning out to be quite the scam. The service is so flawed and dysfunctional that any legitimate business would acknowledge their shortcomings and honor a cancellation and refund request.
Not AT&T which has set up the support for this service with no contact phone number, just online text chat. Guess what? Whenever their streaming goes down (and it goes down a lot), it takes down chat with it too. How convenient AT&T.
Just in case anyone was considering subscribing to this service, don’t bother. The company is dishonest and the streams go down often, sometimes with extended blackouts.
Here is my chat log with their customer support. As you’ll be able to see from this text, they have been instructed to block all requests for refunds and their sole tactic is to say they are working on improving the service. AT&T executives must be some shady people. They will love Trump’s new FCC chief who is gutting all consumer protections to protect us. If you don’t want to bend over for a corrupt company, don’t use AT&T’s DirecTV Now service.
This is the chat log:
AT&T: Welcome to DIRECTV NOW. May we have your name while we pull together resources and links to help get us started?
Patty: Thank you for contacting DIRECTV NOW service. My name is Patty. How can I help you today?
You: Your service doesn’t work. It crashes constantly. I want to cancel my account and get a refund
Patty: I apologize for the inconvenience. I can help you with that.
Patty: Can you be more specific about the issue?
You: The app crashes all the time and when it does crash it logs itself out. And you have had multiple outages where your whole system is down for an hour at a time. I have invited people over to watch shows and we ended up with nothing. Your online service is a buggy piece of junk
Patty: I’m sorry to hear that.
Patty: May I know on which device you are having this issue?
You: All of them, Android app, website streaming and on the Amazon app. Same problems on all three ways of viewing. They have faulty servers that crash. The only other specific information is the Android app logs itself out constantly, sometimes more than once an hour.
Patty: Thank you for the information.
Patty: Please uninstall and reinstall the app and restart the device and check if the issue is resolved.
You: You think I haven’t tried that more than once? That is not a solution
Patty: I’m sorry.
Patty: I’ll escalate the issue to our internal team and we’ll fix the issue soon.
Patty: Please be rest assured.
You: What? I asked to cancel the account and receive a refund, not for assurances about future technical improvements. YOUR SERVICE DOESN’T WORK. I want my money back
Patty: As of now there is no option to refund.
Patty: Please be rest assured, we’ll fix the issue in short span of time.
You: What are you talking about? Are you a legitimate business or not? Of course there is always an option for refund. I know you are getting tons of complaints and your bosses are telling you to discourage refunds, but that is not my problem. YOUR SERVICE DOESN’T WORK. If you don’t give me a refund, then YOUR COMPANY IS STEALING MY MONEY. Are you a real company or are you thieves?
Patty: If I had an option I would have definitely helped you out.
You: Listen, this log will be a record of our conversation, so I don’t want to give you a hard time personally, because I know you do not set policy. But before we finish here I want to give you one chance to refund me so go ask your supervisor now and tell that if I don’t get a refund I will tell my 20,000 social media followers the truth about AT&T and their DirecTV Now scam and how a greedy and incompetent company launched a service that doesn’t work and is now stealing customer money when they rightfully request a refund for something that does not work. Now please go tell your supervisor this
Patty: I totally understand your concern.
Patty: Please give me 3 minutes.
You: I am waiting
Patty: As you reached me the best I can do for you is I can credit you $5 on your account.
You: Sorry, that is just sad. It must feel awkward working for such a bad company. OK, I’ll have to notify the public of the scam this company is running and I’ll be posting this conversation in its entirey. Nothing personal. You just work for them so it is not your fault
Patty: I am very sorry to hear that.
Run, do not walk away from DTVNow. Thoroughly flawed service is unwatchable. The only use I have for it is that some apps like ESPN that require you to validate a paid TV service to use their APP will accept DTVNow subscription. Then you can use their app that actualy works. I have had for a month and have not been able to watch one complete show. Not one. I pretty much gave up on the channels I am streaming through DTVNow and had hoped that DTVNow would fix things. Not happening. I prepaid three months and they say no refund since I got a free streaming device. So until my three month sentence is served, I will live without the DTVNow unwatchable channels and then revert to Cable or another service that works. AT&T and Direct TV are scamming people – they are taking money for a service they know they cannot deliver and do not appear to be taking concrete steps to fix any problems. I will be keeping my eyes open for a class action lawsuit to join so I can claw back some money from them.
I had high hopes for this service and subscribed over a month ago. At the same time I dropped Sling TV. I’m finding the service to be basically worthless. It constant freezes and this morning it’s not evening working on most channels. I don’t know where the problem lies: AT&T wants to drive $35 per month subscribers away or if it’s a problem with Comcast, my cable provider. There’s no problem receiving Netflix, NASA TV or Amazon so I know it’s not the internet connection. Very frustrating: the same problems continue to preside and seem to be getting worst. I about ready to throw the towel in admit defeat.
Dropping this service asap, garbage to put it mildly.
No local channels in South Florida. No BEIN sports. No access through provider to network’s apps. No reliable signal. And on top of all that, No meaningful customer support. Yet, i am giving them until the end of the month. I hope i dont have to cancel this thing and go back to playstation vue
Service does not work. I have a 200 mbps connection and have no problems with HULU, Netflix or Apple. I have tried the service on Apple TV, Safari and Chrome. I have NEVER watched a show that didn’t have some problem and in two months have been unable to watch more than 4 hours of tv because errors. DO NOT even think about signing up for service. I am waiting for the class action lawsuit.
“No reliable signal.”
Sounds like your commenting on the satellite service and not the streaming service (which is what this article is about…)
I really WANTED to like this service but the non-existent technical support and lack of response from AT&T in taking ownership of issues was just too much to take. I got a couple of welcome emails a few days after I signed up but then nothing. If AT&T publicly acknowledged that there were serious unforeseen issues I might have cut them a bit of slack but instead their chief technology officer, Enrique Rodriguez had the nerve to say at CES that “the problems were not as big as I expected”. WOW! Other than a total system melt down, I don’t know how this roll out could have been worse. To top it off, as of today the price for the standard package is doubling. AT&T should be offering refunds and apologies for forcing early adopters to alpha test this horrible product. I will not be renewing services.
DirectTV Now is a hot pile of garbage. Tried to stream the show “Shooter” and it kept streaming “Law and Order SVU.” I constantly have to reset the Chromecast to get it to work. UI is not friendly either. Can’t wait to see what Vidgo looks like. Hopefully the long wait will mean no issues like DirectTV Now.
Sports fans in Tampa Bay are not happy either. The Fox Sports Sun channel is carrying out-of-market games (Miami Heat, Orlando Magic) in iieu of Tampa Bay Lightning hockey, which is being carried by competitor Sling TV. Complaints have gone unanswered, and the “chat” icon option has disappeared from the customer support site. Time to cancel and go back to Sling.
I was succored into Direct TV from U verse. 50 percent of the channels are to sell you something like a new frying pan. The other 30 percent are pay per view. As soon as the contract is up, I will cut the cable and do Netflix and Hulu with an antenna for local stuff. We have all been pushed way too far.
This isn’t regarding THAT DirecTV. DirecTV Now is a streaming TV service offered in place of your typical DirecTV with satellite dishes.
Cancelled this horrible service tonight. Complete failure from AT&T.
CSN California suscribers in the San Francisco area are routinely blacked out of San Jose Sharks hockey games when theu are played at the same time as an out of market NBA – the Sacramento Kings. Not offering the overflow CSN+ is going to infuriate sports fans, especially in the spring when the Giants and the A’s come online. I can see a scenario when the Giants & the Warriors on CSN Bay Area are playing at the same time and baseball fans are left out in the cold…And A’s fans getting ignored and Directv Now suscribers getting a black screen telling us the out of market NBA KIngs are not available. It is going to be fluster cuck. BTW, Sony Vue is cheaper and they get the CSN+ channels- you know that,right, AT&T?
Oh, when or when is the Roku app going to be launched???? We have three Roku’s.