What is DIRECTV NOW, How Does it Work, and What Channels do they have?

By Lauren

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, take a look at my disclosure policy.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, take a look at my disclosure policy.

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    It sure seems like Cable TV is on the run with all of the cheaper and more flexible alternatives to cable there are. Well, one of the newer kids on the block is DIRECTV NOW. The number of DirectTV NOW channels you can get is pretty impressive. Depending on the size of the package you have, you can have anywhere between 60 and 120+ channels!

    It is a little more expensive than SlingTV, but it falls in line with SlingTV‘s pricing structure with what you get. SlingTV offers 40+ Channels for $25/mo as their midline package, and DIRECTV NOW‘s base package is $35/mo for $60+ Channels. So in terms of dollars per channel, they're about the same in value.

    BUT… if you're an AT&T Customer already, DIRECTV NOW gives you a very compelling advantage over SlingTV (see below).

    Here's a breakdown of the three main questions people have about DIRECTV NOW:

    1. What is DIRECTV NOW?
    2. How does it work?
    3. What is the DIRECTV NOW Channel list?

    1. What is DIRECTV NOW?

    DIRECTV NOW is an internet streaming service that offers live and On Demand* programming for many of your favorite TV channels… yes, even sports channels. Some of the main features they offer are:

    • A Free 7-day trial – Sign up HERE
    • 4 Pricing packages ranging from $35 for 60+ channels up to $70 for 120+ channels
    • No Credit Check
    • No Contract
    • 2 streaming devices at once

    *On Demand Programming means that you can watch pre-recorded shows whenever you want (on demand). Similar to how you watch on Netflix or Hulu.

    2. How does it work?

    DIRECTV NOW uses many of your internet connected devices to watch shows and movies.

    You can use your computer and head over to their website and log into to your account to watch. Or, you can use their app on your:

    • Amazon Fire
    • Android Devices
    • iPhones
    • iPads, and
    • Apple TV (4th Generation)

    But, it doesn't work on ROKU yet… which is kind of a bummer for me. You can view a full list of compatible devices here if you want.

    DirecTV NOW

    On the computer, the interface is pretty slick. You can search by channel, or you can view the guide which shows you what programs are currently live.

    Here's my FAVORITE part of DirecTV NOW

    If you sign up, and you already have AT&T as your phone carrier, streaming in the DirectTV NOW app doesn't count against your data! Yup. That's right. I'm not talking about your wifi streaming, I'm talking about cell data. So, you can stream whatever you want in the app (like on long car trips) and it won't eat up your precious GB's or make you go over on your data!

    Unlimited streaming with their app… in a world with ever-increasing competition among streaming services, this is a great differentiating feature!

    3. What Channels does DIRECTV NOW have?

    Knowing the DIRECTV NOW Channel list is going to make or break the decision for most people. What stinks is that they make you sign up for the free 7-day trial before you can really see what channels they offer!

    Well, I did the heavy lifting for you.

    Here is the full list of DIRECTV NOW Channels for each package. There's some pretty sweet stuff on there!

    The $35 package:

    • A&E (live/on demand)
    • ABC (on demand)
    • AMC (live/on demand)
    • Animal Planet (live)
    • Audience (live/on demand)
    • AXS TV (live/on demand)
    • Baby First (live)
    • BBC America (live/on demand)
    • BET (live/on demand)
    • Bloomberg TV (live)
    • Bravo (live/on demand)
    • C-Span (live)
    • C-Span 2 (live)
    • Cartoon Network (live/on demand)
    • CMT (live/on demand)
    • CNBC (live/on demand)
    • CNN (live/on demand)
    • Comedy Central (live/on demand)
    • Discovery (live/on demand)
    • Disney Channel (live/on demand)
    • Disney Junior (live/on demand)
    • Disney XD (live/on demand)
    • E! (live/on demand)
    • ESPN (live/on demand)
    • ESPN2 (live)
    • Food Network (live/on demand)
    • Fox (on demand)
    • Fox Business (live)
    • Fox News (live)
    • FOX Sports 1 (live/on demand)
    • Freeform (live/on demand)
    • FX (live/on demand)
    • FXX (live/on demand)
    • Galavision (live/on demand)
    • Hallmark Channel (live/on demand)
    • Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (live/on demand)
    • HGTV (live/on demand)
    • History (live/on demand)
    • HLN (live)
    • Investigation Discovery (live/on demand)
    • Lifetime (live/on demand)
    • MSNBC (live/on demand)
    • MTV (live/on demand)
    • MTV2 (live/on demand)
    • National Geographic (live/on demand)
    • NBC (on demand)
    • Nick Jr. (live/on demand)
    • Nickelodeon (live/on demand)
    • RFD-TV (live)
    • Spike (live/on demand)
    • Syfy (live/on demand)
    • TBS (live/on demand)
    • TCM (live/on demand)
    • TeenNick (live/on demand)
    • Telemundo (on demand)
    • TLC (live/on demand)
    • TNT (live/on demand)
    • TruTv (live/on demand)
    • TV Land (live/on demand)
    • Univision (live/on demand)
    • USA Network (live/on demand)
    • Velocity (live)
    • VH1 (live/on demand)
    • Viceland (live/on demand)
    • WE tv (live/on demand)
    • WeatherNation (live)

    To check out the full channel list of the other packages, sign up for a free trial HERE.

    Now remember, Enjoying life on a budget is important. It's our mantra here! So, I definitely wouldn't recommend using SlingTV or a full cable package in addition to this. If you're interested, you should probably cancel one of (or all of) your other entertainment services before you sign up for DIRECTV NOW.

    Make sure the plan you decide on fits within your budget. If a $70 cable package didn't fit in your budget before, then a $70 streaming service package won't either. But, DirecTV NOW, could cut your bill significantly and give you exactly what you wanted without having to pay for a bunch of extra channels you won't use.

    DIRECTV NOW: How it works, and the Channels they have - they have ONE cool thing that the others don't...


  • I did see a lot of channels I enjoy watching on cable, but where is CBS? I didn’t see it, & I watch a lot of shows on that channel 🙁

    • As of right now, they don’t have it 🙁 But it is rumored that they will pick it up soon. Lauren and I are huge Survivor fans (a CBS show), so we may have to stick with SlingTV for now because of that.

      • If the networks have on-demand available, then I imagine you could watch them. But it wouldn’t be a live airing, you would have to wait until the next day.

      • You realize that with a very inexpensive antenna you can pick up free HD channels over the air right?

    • Live shows you get to watch at the time that they air. With on-demand, you still get to watch the same shows, but usually have to wait until the day after they air to be able to access them.

  • DirectvNow, has made significant improvement in their streaming since it launched in late November. I am happy with Go Big plan at $35 and now getting HBO for free for a year. YEA!!!

  • Do you have to sign up for Direxr Tv packages with AT&T to get the streaming option? Or can you just subscribe to the streaming? AT&T now has the unlimited packages with a hotspot, do you know how those work? It thinking I could cut out time warner Internet and use the hotspot if it really works that way.

    • Hi Christy – the way I understand it is that you only get streaming for free over data if you are using the app on your phone or cell-connected tablet. If you are using your phone as a hotspot, that would still count against your data.
      And you would just sign up normally… when you download the app on your phone and sign in, I think it would automatically recognize that you are an AT&T customer.

  • Not to be clueless or anything, what is the difference between live and on demand? We pay a lot for DTV, Netflix and Hulu. The only reason we haven’t cancelled our DTV subscription is that we like a handful of shows on the networks. Not much, but enough to continue paying a lot more money than this program you are talking about.

    • Live shows you get to watch at the time that they air. With on-demand, you still get to watch the same shows, but usually have to wait until the day after they air to be able to access them.

  • Yes, I agree DirectvNow, has made significant improvements and I was surprise to receive an email with the FREE HBO FOR 1 YEAR!! I love my Go Big plan at $35, you just can’t beat this deal!!

  • HI,
    There are so many options out there that I’ve wanted to look into but haven’t had the time. Do you already have an article about all the different options….such as Roku, sling TV etc?

  • Just to clarify, you can only Directv now with an apple tv device correct? So if we have roku the kids could still watch netflixs but can’t watch direct tv unless on phone b/c we have att?

    thanks for the information

    • You can use it with Apple TV, and Amazon’s streaming devices, not a Roku 🙁
      BUT – they have a deal right now where they give you the newest Apple TV for free if you sign up for 3 months. And the cost of the service for 3 months ($105) is LESS than the cost of the Apple TV ($150). I’m actually considering going this route and canceling Sling.

    • And you can still watch DirecTV on your phone without AT&T. It’s just that with AT&T, you aren’t charged for data if you are outside of wifi. But it will still work just fine on all the carriers.

  • I was wondering can you watch local tv broadcasts on Directv or Apple TV. We live in Lake Tahoe and reception is very limited or not at all. I was told by an AT&T rep that if you go into settings and open up your location app and it will reconize your signal location and allow local television broadcast. Is this true or was She just talking thru her hat?

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