Which is better for you, DIRECTV Satellite or DIRECTV NOW?

There’s no one right answer. That’s the cool thing, though — depending on who you are you might like DIRECTV satellite service or DIRECTV NOW, the streaming service that works on your mobile devices. If you ask yourself a few questions, you can come up with an answer that works for you.

Do you need a DVR?
While DIRECTV NOW has gotten better on this point, it does not offer a true DVR function. You can pause live TV on most channels, and there are about 10,000 programs available on demand. However, if you’re looking for that playlist full of things you personally want, stick with satellite.

Do you need to watch in more than 2 rooms?
DIRECTV NOW gives you two screens at the same time, while a DIRECTV Satellite system is basically scalable to a minimum of 8 rooms and in some cases there’s no limit.

Do you want to be able to cancel at any time?
If you think you’ll be leaving town soon, don’t get tied into a 2-year contract. DIRECTV Sateliite does require a 2-year commitment in almost every case, while you can go month-to-month with DIRECTV NOW. Drop it for a month and come back when you want, that’s no problem.

Do you want a rich mobile experience?
Here you are in luck. DIRECTV Satellite and DIRECTV NOW both have excellent apps for mobile devices. With both you can browse a guide, watch live TV, and watch on demand programming. DIRECTV NOW’s app looks a bit more modern which may be appealing to some people and since it’s geared around live TV you can start watching sooner. But really this is a tie because both apps are great.

Do you watch a lot of local TV?
There’s a clear winner if you watch a lot of local TV. DIRECTV NOW has at most 4 channels of local TV and there are some areas that don’t have any local channels yet. That’s going to change eventually but today, if you watch a lot of daytime TV on local channels, or if you’re interested in local news and events, you really have to stay with DIRECTV satellite. Most markets have between 6 and 25 local channels available, with some markets like New York and Los Angeles having even more.

If you’re not sure if DIRECTV NOW is for you, it’s easy to sign up for a month and try it. You can even suspend your DIRECTV satellite service for up to six months and it will come back when you’re done, so there’s really no risk in trying something new.

DIRECTV satellite service is available by calling Solid Signal at 877.312.4547 and you can sign up for DIRECTV NOW at directvnow.com.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.