DIRECTV NOW for Apple TV

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DIRECTV NOW Movies ScreenDIRECTV NOW Movies Screen

For some reason, the DIRECTV NOW Movies screen doesn’t suffer from the same silly categorization found in other sections. Perhaps the UI designer was hired back when one had to be qualified to work in technology? Instead of cute categories, movies are organized into groups such as Featured, Drama, Comedy and Action.

As with TV shows, clicking on a movie takes you to the details screen. You can watch the movie or add it to your Watchlist for later viewing.

The selection of movies is pretty good, but as with all subscription services, they’re not the best movies. Although Netflix and HBO NOW always have something good to watch, I didn’t find the options as compelling on DIRECTV NOW.

DIRECTV NOW Networks Screen

DIRECTV NOW Networks Screen

Although the Networks screen is straightforward, it also illuminates DIRECTV NOW’s half-baked nature. It provides a simple way to browse channels, and a not so simple way to access live TV. The top row of channels are ones that you have subscribed to. Well, they actually came with your package. You can drill down into the network and see their available channels and shows. Sometimes, clicking on a channel will display live TV. Sometimes it doesn’t. Yet another weird rule to account for.

The unsubscribed channels row seems to be a placeholder for future functionality. Clicking on any of these channels does absolutely nothing. I understand that AT&T rushed this out in time for the Christmas shopping season, but it is a do-nothing feature. At best, you can see what you can’t see on television.

Search DIRECTV NOW

DIRECTV NOW Search Screen

Given the cockamamie category names for content, it’s usually best to search for what you want to watch. Beyond the cute category names, DIRECTV NOW doesn’t offer any critical or audience reviews. I recommend finding out about great shows and movies outside of DIRECTV NOW. Rotten Tomatoes is an excellent guide to critically acclaimed movies and TV shows.

As previously mentioned, swiping down on the Home screen displays the top menu bar. The Search feature is located on this menu bar. Search functions pretty much the same as on every Apple TV app, with the addition of a recents list. This makes it easier to return to a show or movie you’ve been watching. You can try to use Siri dictation to enter search criteria. Sometimes it’s better than using the clunky on-screen text entry feature.

DIRECTV NOW Guide

DIRECTV NOW Channel Guide

As with all online cable providers, DIRECTV NOW offers a guide feature. It’s actually pretty good, however, accessing live TV is cumbersome.

The channel guide features the standard navigable grid with channels and programs. A horizontal blue line represents the current time. Users can only scroll forward in the timeline. It’s not possible to view past schedule information.

The grid defaults to display all channels, however, users can toggle favorite channels. Channels can be added to favorites directly on the grid, by clicking on the heart icon next to a channel. Clicking it again removes it from favorites. (continue…)

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