DirectTV Now, without a doubt, is the best priced streaming and live TV service that I have found. No additional cable equipment and customer’s are able to both stream live TV and watch past episodes of their favorite TV shows in addition to movies and premium channels. HBO is only $5 extra per month, so realistically you can get the total package for about $40/month (assuming they are still running that deal).
However, I cancelled my DirectTV Now account. After countless hours on the phone with my internet service provider – Xfinity, asking over and over and over again very slowly, “Now you’re sure I have enough bandwidth to STREAM LIVE TV through my internet service?” and after being continually re-assured that I can stream 50 devices and also power all of my hair electronics too through my internet service (joking), the only conclusion I could come to is that there were serious problems with DirectTV Now. I mean, it is a big deal when you have waited a year for your favorite show to premiere and you try to watch it live yet the streaming service is so bad it times out every few seconds. I gave the service a good year to fix its issues and when I realized it was not going to change any time soon, I gently broke-up with DirectTV Now. A positive to ending this relationship is there was no contract and/or no hard feelings from DirectTV Now and it was pretty easy to login to my account and cancel service. Also, no equipment to return. I was truly given (as a gift, no strings attached) an Amazon Fire TV stick and remote at the time of sign-up.
I realized, discounts aren’t always a good idea and I wanted my cable, internet, etc. under one umbrella, so back to Xfinity cable I crawled. It turns out the cost of my super high-speed internet service as a solo service was about the same cost as a basic cable package + super high-speed internet package in one and The Walking Dead just happened to be premiering that night and I was desperate so I sold my soul back to the Comcast devils and, over all, I am happy I did.
The ONE, okay TWO major complaints I have about this new arrangement are: 1. Literally, a cable box was FORCED on me and I am on the hook to return it when/if I cancel the cable service. I am not exaggerating when I say I tried to return two cable boxes to a local Xfinity store (I was sent an extra in error) and they told me if they take both, my cable service will be discontinued. I tried explaining to the rep that there is this wonderful and amazing invention known as APPS available for ALL (Side note: I was partially wrong at the time as I guess there is a bureaucracy and/or battle going on behind the scenes between various networks and Xfinity/Comcast and certain APPS are being held hostage from the general public and subscribers but more on that later in complaint 2) major networks have apps that one can download and stream through their internet service thus bypassing the need for a bunch of ugly chords, a splitter, and an extra ugly big cable box. This gentleman did not see my point and allegedly there was no easy box for him to check on his digital list, so he defaulted to, hey, we have some splitters, threw one in my box and sent me on my way with my unwanted cable equipment.
Lol, I am not sure if I am impressed or insulted that this guy thinks I can drill a hole into my rental here and install a splitter myself, not to mention, all of the other technical configuration issues that should arise from this arrangement. Needless to say, I have a cable box sitting unopened in my closet until I either move or cancel service and obviously my impression of Xfinity/Comcast customer service is bleak but at least the service works.
So back to the APPS discussion and my second complaint. 2. I am EXTREMELY disheartened by SOME APPS. In fact, I am allegedly receiving STARZ free for one-year BUT the STARZ APP does not have Xfinity/Comcast listed as a provider on their provider’s list thus I am unable to login and watch STARZ unless I hook-up the cable box. It is not that STARZ does not have a provider list, they do, a very extensive one, with communications companies I have never heard of, thus it is safe to assume Xfinity has been barred from the STARZ app list of providers intentionally. Further online research has confirmed this assumption.
Now let’s put on our customer hat for a second, part of the offer from Xfinity upon agreeing to the service plan is STARZ free for a year. NOT – STARZ cable service ONLY free for a year and you will not be able download and login to the STARZ APP and access this network that way – you will have to pay the full price for the STARZ APP, through STARZ directly, as if you do not have STARZ service “free” at all. Not happy and false advertising but I am sure there is a disclaimer in their service agreement that protects them and it is thus a waste of time to address this with an Xfinity rep directly. Oh yeah, and I tried at the time of discovery and I was told by one Xfinity rep that I need a Ruku instead of Amazon Fire Stick to access the Xfinity streaming app and another Xfinity rep that I can download the Xfinity app from my Amazon Fire TV but no such app was discovered and I’m worried about upsetting Alexa again – yes, Alexa will cut you off and not respond when you ask her something that she does not know the answer to. It is sad that a live HUMAN will not get you further than a bot but welcome to the future. I have complete faith that both of those HUMAN reps are still rolling over my predicament in their mind and wondering how to make ME happy and soon enough I will have a reasonable solution (kidding, of course).
I have now learned STARZ is not the only APP I can not log into – Nick is another one – as, just like STARZ, Nick has every other cable network aside from Xfinity/Comcast listed on the providers and thus I am barred from logging in and using the streaming app for “some” content. Admittedly, with the Nick app, you get a little nugget of shows/content without logging in but the good stuff is reserved for folks with a cable subscription; NON-XFINITY subscribers ONLY. Try explaining this to your 16 month-old who wants to watch the pretty mermaid show and blinks several times before screaming her brains out and throwing a full-on fit when mommy can’t get the pretty mermaids to appear for her.
Essentially, I am paying for networks that I am not receiving. Sure, some will say, just hook up your cable box but no, forget it. I am simply going to focus on the plethora of REASONABLE Networks who understand that viewers should not be punished AND have Xfinity listed FIRST on their list of providers AND I can easily log into AND I am not barred from viewing content that I am paying for while their negotiations and/or whatever high-level bologna is going on with Xfinity & STARZ/NICK executives continues.
Among these wonderful networks/APPS are PBS & PBS Kids, AMC, History, A&E, NBC, CNN, FoxNow, CBS, DisneyNow, etc. Admittedly, I have not tested every single included network YET. I wish I could swap out STARZ & NICK for Sundance. I am hooked on the Julia Stiles show – they got me in the free preview through AMC’s premium content but, sadly, Sundance is not included in my package. I have reached the comfortable price for communications service threshold – all other paid services are a firm no AND I am still preparing myself for the $15/HBO app which I will not start until the day Game of Thrones finally returns, maybe even the same hour as I will need at least 60 minutes to fix any issues and likely have a panic attack over the phone with the Xfinity rep IF for any reason I can not immediately activate this new service and cherish every second of the coming winter.
I am also dreading the $10 increase for HBO but OH WELL, at least it SHOULD work and I will be able to watch the last Season of Game of Thrones without a ten minute pause after magic is cut off and some beloved main characters take an extremely upsetting exit. 😉 That’s all I’m saying.