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Netflix, Hulu and MLB.TV are a notable exceptions, where Cupertino “only” imposes a 15% cut. That’s still a lot to take, month after month, for simply hosting an app that’s downloaded once and providing monthly billing services. Other players don’t get the 15% deal. They usually bypass in-app purchasing entirely. These are all lost opportunities for Apple. Unfortunately, their greed seems to be non-negotiable, and their arrogance prevents them from putting together their own live TV service.

All of this means that you have to do a few things to try out DIRECTV NOW. It’s not a hardship, by any means, however you can’t do it all on your Apple TV.

Open the web browser on your computer, smartphone or tablet and go to the DIRECTV NOW website. Click or tap on the “Start your FREE trial now” button on the bottom of the page. Follow the on-screen instructions to create your account. I recommend signing up for the Go Big package. While you’re at it, sign up for HBO too. After all, it’s a free trial, just don’t forget to cancel the service if you don’t like it.

DIRECTV NOW has a few special offers. You can get a free 32 GB Apple TV 4 if you prepay for 3 months of service. Be forewarned that the tvOS app is buggy and the service is unreliable. Regardless of the package you choose, essential channels such as CBS may be missing. Programs are often blacked out on the channels they offer. Nonetheless, if you do the math, you’re paying $105 for a 32 GB Apple TV 4. It’s a low price, but you can do a little better, especially around the holidays. Don’t be put off because it only has 32 GB of storage. I bought the 64 GB model early on, but now I realize I won’t even come close to filling it up. I doubt I could even use the full capacity of the 32 GB model.

After creating your DIRECTV NOW account, download the DIRECTV NOW app from the App Store on Apple TV. Simply launch the App Store from the Home screen, or tell Siri to “launch App Store”. If DIRECTV NOW isn’t on the first screen of the App Store, use the search feature, located on the top menu, to find it. You can also just ask Siri to “find app DIRECTV NOW”. This will launch the App Store and display the DIRECTV NOW app installation screen. Click on the app’s icon and then click the Get button to install it. Once installed, click on the Open button or hold down the Siri button and say “DIRECTV NOW”. The DIRECTV NOW app will launch. Enter the email address and password you created for your DIRECTV NOW account and you’re up and running.



Taking advantage of tvOS’s advanced layout capabilities, DIRECTV NOW’s Home screen is more of an overlay than a dedicated screen. This enables viewers to watch TV while browsing live channels and on demand content. (continue…)

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