DIRECTV NOW vs. DIRECTV Satellite — one weird difference

DIRECTV NOW is great. In fact live streaming is great. Forgive me for sounding like a fanboi but how cool is it that you can get live HD video straight from the air on your phone or TV? I mean satellite TV is awesome too but the technological limitations of live streaming are so much greater. That’s why we’ve had satellite TV for about 25 years and we’ve only really seen explosive growth in live streaming in the last couple of years. I just don’t think it was actually possible before then.

It’s not the 1980s anymore

Today’s living room is a lot more sleek and streamlined than the living rooms of the 1980s and 1990s. The 1980s were all about “components.” It was thought, that if you had everything completely separate, everything could work just how you wanted it. That’s how we got separate tuners, A/V receivers, cable boxes, and the like. This random image on the internet says it all.

Of course that doesn’t include the TV, which would have been about the size and weight of a queen-size bed with all its heavy projection equipment.

Slowly, things consolidated and got smaller. Not everyone wanted a living room that looked like NASA launch control, replete with a dozen confusing remotes. Receivers and giant speakers gave way to sleek sound bars. DVD players disappeared in favor of streaming boxes. TVs, of course, got flat.

Today’s home theater is likely to be one or two tiny black boxes, a TV and a sound bar. And that’s exactly how people like it

Portrait of a modern cord-cutter

If you want the best of entertainment today but aren’t interested in paying for sports or premium channels, you’re probably a cord-cutter. You’ve ditched cable TV in favor of streaming. You might still miss live TV, and that’s why you’ve subscribed to DIRECTV NOW, which gives you over 65 live TV channels plus DVR service for about a quarter of what most people pay for live TV. Sounds like a great plan to me.

There’s one little change you’ll need to make.

When you used cable and satellite, you got used to just turning off the TV and walking away. The cable or satellite box might have stayed on or it might have turned off, depending on your personal preference. Either way you were really ok.

When you switch to DIRECTV NOW or any other live streaming service, there is a change you need to make when it comes to your “walk-away” behavior. If you turn off your TV, your streaming box may stay on. If it does, you’ll still be streaming even though you’re not watching. If your internet provider has data caps, you’re getting closer to them by streaming and not watching. If you have other people in the house, their internet speeds my be affected.

Point is there’s no reason for your streaming box to be pulling all that data when no one’s watching. If nothing else it’s wasteful and no one likes waste.

So here’s the little change…

Your behavior just needs to change a little bit. If you walk away from the streaming box, press its home button or menu button first to go back to a static screen. In other words, a screen where there’s no live video. This will stop the streaming and in most cases your streaming box will go to sleep by itself in under an hour.

If you have a universal remote you can program it to take this step, or if you’re using the provided remote, just press the right button before you walk away. It’s not much of a difference in your life and it will make a difference in the way your internet works.

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.