Should I get DIRECTV NOW or Sling for my business?

No, my friend, you should not. In fact you can’t. Not legally, anyway. Neither package is available for commercial customers as I write this. It’s also against your customer agreement to sign up as a home user and just bring the streaming box into your business.

No mistaking… they will find out

Even if you go through great pains to hide it, the people at DISH or AT&T are going to find out if you try to do this. First of all your location is always available to them. You can’t use either service unless it thinks you’re in the right place.

You could set up a VPN to get past that, I suppose. Set up a VPN at home then connect to it from work and that would confuse the fraud squads for a little while. You might pull it off for days, weeks, even months.

And then, just out of nowhere, you get a visit from an attorney or process server. Content providers and pay-TV companies employ hundreds of people whose job it is to find fraud. They just go to places and look for things that aren’t supposed to be there. Some companies even offer large cash rewards for their employees who report piracy, which can add millions of eyes. If one of them spots a streaming box, you’re going to be in trouble pretty soon.

Why you can’t stream in your business

There’s nothing so really different about streaming as opposed to satellite or cable. In every case, the laws about “public performance” come into play. When you watch TV at home, that’s called “private viewing.” It’s understood that you’re not making money from the broadcast and you’ll have a relatively small number of people in your home.

In business, any areas where customers could go are designated “public viewing areas.” In the eyes of the law, that TV show is helping you make money because it’s serving your customers. And if you’re making money, the people who made the TV show have a right to some of it. So, you’ll often be asked to pay based on the occupancy of your public areas. This can get expensive.

Streaming is the same way. Most streaming providers just aren’t interested in taking money from businesses, so they just say you can’t do it. This is especially true of live TV services like DIRECTV NOW and Sling. You would think those services wouldn’t have a problem with streaming since the same lawyers negotiate the contracts for satellite and streaming, but it seems no one is really ready to cross that bridge.

And then, the bandwidth

You may have a great internet service provider for your business. Most businesses aren’t so lucky. On average, businesses pay up to four times more and get only about half the speed that home users get. Because businesses are larger and spread out, it costs more to bring high speed lines to them. Also, there’s a long long history of businesses paying more for technology and some ISP’s really take advantage of that.

In order to use DIRECTV NOW or Sling, you need a nice smooth sustained stream of 6-8 megabits per second. That doesn’t sound like much but keep in mind that’s per device. Imagine a bar with 25 TVs.  That’s a lot of bandwidth. That’s the big reason that businesses aren’t lining up around the block for streaming.

Forget streaming, get satellite instead

Satellite TV is great for businesses. It’s very reasonably priced in most cases and the installation can be done practically anywhere, even in the most remote business park. Satellite TV is the best way to satisfy customers in waiting rooms, bring people into bars, and keep people watching in hospitals, senior living facilities, and just about any other sort of business. Not convinced? Give the folks at Signal Connect a call to find out more, or fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you in about one business day.

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.