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DirecTV Now Reviews Are In: Good Price, Not Much Wow

If you're seriously considering cutting the cord, AT&T and DirecTV are hoping you'll consider their new streaming service DirecTV Now.

With more than 120 live TV channels, more than 15,000 on-demand shows and movies, and the ability to pay a bit extra to get HBO and Cinemax, DirecTV Now looks awfully appealing on paper as it attempts to compete with the likes of PlayStation Vue, Sling TV, and others. But since the service launched on Wednesday, many would-be cord-cutters haven't had the chance to drop the $35 or more it takes to sign up. And they're undoubtedly wondering whether it's the right service to check out.

Based on early reviews, the response hasn't been overwhelmingly positive, especially in regards to CBS missing and the lack of DVR functionality at launch. But nearly all signs point to DirecTV Now being a service to check out if you're serious about cutting the cord. Stay tuned for our in-depth review on Tom's Guide.

The Verge

The Good

The Verge's Chris Welch took DirecTV Now for a spin and was pleased to have found that the service "includes many popular channels." He also touted the service's $35 entry fee, adding that in many cases, it's possible for you to save some cash by cutting the cable cord and going with DirecTV Now. He was also happy to see channels load quickly.

The Bad

Welch had some major gripes with DirecTV Now, saying that its guide feature could be wonky at times and some refinement to the general user interface would be nice. He added that it's lacking many of the features you might want, including DVR support, the ability to get NFL Sunday Ticket, and more. He added that on the Apple TV, at least, some of the swiping gestures are a little awkward.

MORE: PlayStation Vue vs. Sling TV: Face-Off

USA Today

The Good

USA Today's Ed Baig was pleased to find so many channels in DirecTV Now, and touted that the service acts more like a cable service with so many channels and on-demand programming rather than a "skinny bundle" you might find from Sling TV. He was also happy to see the service didn't require any hardware beyond what you might already have and at $35 to kick things off, its promotional pricing is outstanding.

The Bad

Baig had several complaints for DirecTV Now and even kicked off his review saying it's "more about later than now." He criticized the service's lack of DVR support, was unhappy to find no 4K or surround sound support, and couldn't help but take issue with the service not offering CBS and Showtime, two prominent broadcasters. What's more, he said, NBC local programming is "for now limited to phones, tablets, or computers." No TV viewing for you.

Engadget

The Good

Engadget's Devindra Hardawar wasn't the biggest fan of DirecTV Now. That said, he acknowledged that the service should be able to "find some footing in the newfangled streaming TV ecosystem," thanks in no small to its support for popular set-top boxes, including the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick. He added that DirecTV Now "delivered a solid TV streaming experience" and was pleasantly surprised by how quickly content loaded. He also said the "video quality looked good."

The Bad

Engadget's Hardawar was quick to note that DirecTV Now won't "offer up many surprises." Instead, the service is rather run-of-the-mill, offering the ability to access live programming and on-demand content. He criticized DirecTV Now for not offering a cloud-based DVR and was displeased with the decision not to include support for Roku devices. He also criticized AT&T's pricing scheme of offering a promotion now but higher pricing later. He called the service "decent."

CNET

The Good

CNET reviewer David Katzmaier was impressed with the number of live channels offered in DirecTV Now and celebrated the company's decision not to bundle "hidden fees or contracts or extra equipment" with the service. He also found DirecTV Now to be nicely affordable.

The Bad

Katzmaier had some gripes with DirecTV Now. He said that the $35 price might be nice, but it's going to "expire eventually," causing the service to lose some of its market appeal. He also criticized DirecTV Now for only supporting live ABC, Fox, and NBC programming in "a handful of major cities," and like the others, says it's needs DVR support.

The Good

Digital Trends reviewer Keith Nelson Jr. called DirecTV Now "smooth," adding that the user interface delivers a "pretty streamlined" experience for you to check out. Nelson added that the service generally worked well on the devices he tested it on and thought it was a smart idea by AT&T to make DirecTV Now free with the purchase of certain hardware.

The Bad

Nelson had some trouble with DirecTV Now. He criticized AT&T's decision not to offer DVR support and thought it was a mistake by the company not to make voice searching available. On the mobile side, he said, he had a gripe with the service's move to go full screen from the search bar "instead of putting it in portrait mode for you to search more content."

Business Insider

The Good

Business Insider reviewers Jeff Dunn and Nathan McAlone offered up some early impressions on the service, saying that programming "streams with little issue" and its "app works quickly enough." Most importantly, they found that finding channels works better in DirecTV Now than it does on Sling TV.

The Bad

The reviewers had several complaints about DirecTV Now. They didn't like not having a cloud DVR and the software won't make it easy to determine what supports on-demand playback. They added that the "more expensive bundles probably won't add much value" and called programming suggestions just "fine." They even experienced some technical issues that cause the app's main menu to be "sluggish."