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Although we are living in the golden age of television, with shows that rival blockbuster movies, there’s still a lot of garbage. Browsing for shows using these categories is akin to looking in the refrigerator when you’re not really hungry. You’re better off searching Rotten Tomatoes for top TV shows. Look at the top charts in the iTunes store for ideas. Of course, many UI designers need to bulk up their interfaces with nonsense, and DIRECTV NOW seems to suffer from this.

If you manage to find a show to watch, clicking on the show displays the detail page. From there, you can watch the show directly or save the entire series to the Watchlist.

DIRECTV NOW offers an incomplete selection of on demand content. For example, The Walking Dead only offers a few of this season’s episodes, seemingly curated by a random number generator. We have episode 1, 3, 4 and 6. Yeah, I’ll just buy it on iTunes and cancel DIRECTV NOW.

If you rely on a DVR, because you actually have a life, DIRECTV NOW is a disappointment. They do offer on demand shows of recently broadcast episodes for 72 hours. Again, we see the strange, legally imposed business rules.

Make sure to create some crib notes so you don’t miss your favorite show. I suggest using Visio to chart out all of the different business rules, exceptions and foibles. Perhaps these meta-television activities can be a whole new source of entertainment for some. When you miss your favorite show because some corporate suit had too much Starbucks, it will leave you plenty of time to review your DIRECTV NOW business rule notes.

The new breed of TV appliance has just created a mess of tangled negotiations and convoluted business rules. They simply get in the way of enjoying television. The biggest annoyance? DIRECTV NOW doesn’t offer CBS, not even in the “Go Big” package.

This technology could be used for good. It could create the ultimate utopia of television awesomeness. Instead, the greed, which just seems to get worse, has ruined it. Add this to your Visio chart of business rules — you have to subscribe to CBS using their All Access service and app. It’s in a separate app, so you’ll have to switch between DIRECTV NOW and CBS All Access, because they’re special. I sure could use a “Feel Good” movie right now…

One more thing — many shows on DIRECTV NOW are blacked out. During my brief trial, I would be watching a show and suddenly the screen would go blank. A message appeared that the show had been blacked out in my area. This isn’t just with sports. It even happened when I was watching some low-budget history show with bad acting. It’s just more strange business rules you’ll need to digest in order to use DIRECTV NOW. Even the cheapest and worst content can be subject to a blackout. They may have negotiated rights to the channel, but not to all of its content. What a mess! (continue…)

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