SOUND OFF: Streaming apps in the guide?

DISH does it. DIRECTV doesn’t. Which is your personal preference?

I’m talking about streaming apps in the guide. If you look in the DISH guide you’ll find it as one of the channels you can tune to.

Of course you’ll need a Hopper 3 for this trick, but that device has been out for a while so that’s not likely to be a problem.

There are other providers that combine streaming and live TV into one guide as well. But, DIRECTV has moved away from this kind of thing for its satellite product. DIRECTV Stream allows you to use a box that provides full live TV functionality as well as a menu that gives you streaming apps as well. Is this the future, or just a bit of confusion?

My opinion

I think there’s nothing wrong with mixing streaming and traditional pay TV. Companies like Comcast and Spectrum routinely let their users choose apps instead of receivers. That way if you have a Roku, Apple TV, or other smart device, you can easily switch services. I don’t know if this is something that DIRECTV is investigating. During the AT&T days, there was definitely a feeling that it was better for AT&T to supply their own streaming box instead of working with popular competitors.

Both DIRECTV and DISH use boxes based off the Android TV platform. That platform, which is morphing into Google TV, is getting better all the time but still lags behind the titans in the streaming box space. I’d consider it a “good enough” solution but not a “top notch” one.

But getting back to integrating streaming apps into the receiver experience? I think it’s fine for what it is, but it’s never going to satisfy me. I use about 15 different streaming apps regularly and I doubt that any pay TV provider would integrate all of them into the guide. So I’m always going to want to bop out of the pay-TV provider’s playpen and go somewhere that I can use all the apps I want.

It’s worth pointing out that at one point DIRECTV did support YouTube in its menus, and they still support Pandora. But for the most part they backed away from this “one-box-for-all” methodology about a decade ago and I’m personally ok with that. Unless you can deliver a perfect experience for the customer, maybe it’s ok if you don’t provide any streaming experience at all.

What’s your opinion?

Let me know! Leave a comment below. Do you want DIRECTV to start integrating streaming apps into their boxes as part of the guide? Or would you rather that they went a different direction, or no direction at all? It’s up to you… let the conversation begin!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.