Family sitting in living room with remote control smiling

DIRECTV NOW Increases the Quality of Their Streams

DIRECTV NOW has been busy building out a beta app and the new DVR feature has been getting most of the attention. Yet DVR is only one of a long list of improvements that AT&T is working on for DIRECTV NOW.

One of these improvements is a higher quality stream using 1080p/60 frames per second (fps) using the H.265. AT&T is rolling out this higher standard to more channels on devices that can support it such as the Apple TV.

Here are all the features DIRECTV NOW is working on adding:

  • A DVR in the cloud to record your shows
  • Download-and-Go
  • 4K and HD quality video
  • Capacity to offer more than 35,000 on-demand titles
  • Individual profiles
  • More concurrent streams

For a few months DIRECTV NOW has had 1080p/60fps streams but limited to only a handful of channels. What is new here is DIRECTV NOW rolling out the support for additional channels.

So why is this important?

The main improvement you may notice here is the 60fps up from 30fps. This means there is twice the number of images shown every second giving a far smoother streaming experience allowing for faster moving images to appear smoother.

This is important on sports channels because the action can often look choppy at 30fps. One place many people notice this is looking at the news ticker at the bottom of channels such as ESPN. At 30fps it may look choppy at times and hard to read. At 60fps you will find it a far smoother streaming experience.

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48 Responses to DIRECTV NOW Increases the Quality of Their Streams

  1. John Brewton December 16, 2017 at 9:12 am #

    Will this help the buffering? Seems like better quality means more data being streamed per second, meaning more buffering.

    • Bill Eastman December 16, 2017 at 9:16 am #

      Better quality = more bits = more data.

      • Kevin Bishop December 16, 2017 at 10:15 am #

        A more efficient codec can lead to less data used. I’m not sure on how the new codec works compared to the old one.

        • ikjadoon December 16, 2017 at 11:23 am #

          H.265 is far superior to H.264 (I presume the last one was H.264) in terms of data compression and quality:

          https://i.imgur.com/XxDCIRp.png

          Most things running 4K demand H.265, too. It’s just too much bandwidth for 4K (i.e., 4x the pixels as 1080p) to be streamed over H.264 efficiently.

          H.264 is a remant of the DVD era, first established in 2003.

          For Roku owners, any Roku that supports 4K includes H.265 support!

          >The following media formats are supported on Roku devices that support 4K
          >4K Video – H.265/HEVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); VP9 (.MKV)

          https://support.roku.com/article/208754908-how-to-use-roku-media-player-to-play-your-videos-music-and-photos

          • Chris December 16, 2017 at 11:53 am #

            Thats good to know. I have the premiere us and just bought a new ultra.

  2. Bill Eastman December 16, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    Another feature not mentioned is the ability to choose stream quality. Good instead of best wil use LESS DATA.

    • vikings football December 16, 2017 at 7:28 pm #

      i like using “better” when using my mobile devices away from home, i use “best” at home using 100 down speed via ethernet on my pc.

  3. Garry December 16, 2017 at 9:32 am #

    I have the pleasure of testing the BETA. All channels appear to be HD, a noticeable improvement. UI is very professional looking. DVR is SIMPLE to use. Buffering issue and that annoying little square gone. I have always recommended DIRECTV NOW even as they have worked through their growing pains. When this goes live they will soar to indisputable top streaming service. I am 73 years old and absolutely love DIRECTV NOW. I have been a cord cutter streaming TV for over 13 years.

    • Robert Williams December 16, 2017 at 9:58 am #

      Concur with Garry on the beta testing experience. Only drawback thus far is the the bright white UI. Hard on the eyes. I’m sure a optional dark theme is forthcoming after testing is completed. Otherwise, all features are good and VERY easy to use. Actually glad I’m one of the beta testers.

      • Scott Blanchard December 16, 2017 at 10:04 am #

        The Apple TV version of the Beta does in fact have the dark theme as default.

      • vikings football December 16, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

        also a beta tester here, the beta UI looks better than the original. work out the beta kinks and all will be super ;o)

        • Robert Williams December 17, 2017 at 7:23 am #

          As stated and agreed above, the UI is “very professional looking” but still hard on the eyes “while working out the beta kinks” ;o)

    • Scott Blanchard December 16, 2017 at 10:11 am #

      Agree to an extent, but Tthere are still some significant issues left to resolve before that can happen:

      – Many local channels are not showing up on the beta
      – On Apple TV’s the transport controls are not taking advantage of the Siri remotes swipe pad (as virtually every other app does), Instead of a click pause, then swipe/click left/right to RW/FF, you have to move a blue underline cursor over to the matching onscreen “icon” to click to FF/RW. Very cumbersome.
      – No frame thumbnail previews when going back and forth through recorded content.
      – When tuning in live to a show already in progress, you can only record the part of the program from that point forward, the beginning on the program is chopped. PS Vue allows the full recording instantly, even if you tuned in at the very end of a live program.

      There are more issues, but those are a few. Its going to be good, but we are far from there yet. This beta isn’t set to expire until March 7th if that gives you an indication of expectation.

    • LMan December 16, 2017 at 10:18 am #

      I have noticed the same thing with the Beta. All the channels seem to look better on the Apple TV.

    • NCAviator December 16, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

      I don’t share your enthusiasm. I too am testing the DVR beta on Apple TV and Chrome. DVR is very limited. You can only say to record a show or a series. It does not allow you to select only NEW episodes. If the show is not a series; you can not specify that it record each airing.

      When deleting shows; the APP crashes frequently.

      None of the other features Luke mentions in this report are in the beta so it will be a very long time before they show up.

      DTVN could be a great service, but has not met even the original announced features. Let’s remember at this time last year they announced they would have DVR. Based on my use of the beta APP; it will be 60 to 90 days to get it working for use.

      • Garry December 16, 2017 at 4:12 pm #

        This is a comments section. If you want to argue go on FACEBOOK.

        • SoffMouf December 16, 2017 at 4:33 pm #

          Easy there, that’s hardly arguing – just an opposing opinion based on experience vs. expectation. I found both your comments enlightening as I’m in the market for a streaming service and watching things develop.

      • Sin Dong December 17, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

        I agreed. I was testing on Chrome and the streaming was laggy compare to the mobile Android version. It seems like the Android version is pretty polish. They give you 20hrs of DVR and when i try to record a series, the next day…all my DVR space is gone lol. Yeah, this is what happened when you don’t get the option to choose NEW episodes only. If they give us 20hrs of DVR when it is released, nobody is going to be satisfied about it.

        Other issues i notice on Chrome: You can’t fast-forward when you stop recording a show at any point in time. The show still show up on My Library but you can’t fast forward. However, on the Android mobile version….you can fast-forward on the same show you just recorded.

        I think they need to add more features to the guide. For example, it’ll be nice to have a quick access to channels while you’re watching a show rather than pulling up the entire Guide blocking the entire view of the show you’re currently on. This is what SlingTV and i thought that was neat. Anyway, i give them suggestion on that but i don’t know if they listened.

    • Cableguy December 16, 2017 at 5:42 pm #

      I’m trying it on an Apple TV 4. Fast forwarding a recording doesn’t work well. If I click on the double arrow fast forward button a second time the recording starts back at the beginning.

      I tried one on demand tv show and it either freezes altogether, or the video freezes and the audio continues.

      There is more info shown in the guide, that’s nice.

      The picture quality seemed better, guess it wasn’t my Imagination after all.

      I’ve not seen the blue square but have seen occasional pixelating, but it only lasts a second or two.

      Overall I think it’s gonna be a pretty good improvement once the bugs are worked out.

      By the way, I’m a geezer too, 67. Been a cord cutter about a year and a half. Spent 32 years in the cable tv industry.

    • TechSupport December 16, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

      Wow you were just a kid when you cut the cord.

      • Chris December 17, 2017 at 11:16 am #

        No. WE were just kids when he cut the cord lol.

  4. David Batten December 16, 2017 at 9:40 am #

    All this work into increasing the video, but still only 2 channel audio.
    When will the streaming companies get it. Many of us want 5.1
    Only having Stereo audio is like buying a nice sports car with a 2 cylinder engine!

    • TechSupport December 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

      Are there that many that still use 5.1? Most people that i know are using sound bars that don’t need 5.1. All I really care about is a subwoofer.

      • David Batten December 16, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

        Yes. I would say 5.1 audio is very popular. All A/V receivers today support at least some of the 5.1 audio formats and higher end systems support 7.1 audio. Some sound bar systems have support for 5.1 audio as well.
        To me, having 5.1 audio (True, not simulated) when watching shows/movies verses only 2 channels (stereo) is the difference between 480 and 1080p video.

      • Gene December 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

        Absolutely. Support for at least 5.1 audio is essential.

  5. TaiPeng December 16, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    They have been working on it for over a year with no results. I am using YouTube TV. Why are tgere no TV apps still? It is great. No errors like DTVN.

    • ikjadoon December 16, 2017 at 11:28 am #

      To be honest….they have a ton of betas going on right now. It’s not “no results”–that’d be communication silence.

    • TechSupport December 16, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

      I would use YouTube tv but they don’t want to support the main competitors to chrome so I have no use for them.

  6. filmex December 16, 2017 at 10:40 am #

    Something tells me when Disney releases their upcoming monster OD/live Hulu service, it will be a completely realized service ready to go…not one like DTVN that is continually tinkering, all the while charging their customers full-bore for a service they couldn’t even perfect before starting to charge people for it.

    No wonder their churn rate is so high…they get in lots of new customers with their product (Roku/HBO) giveaways and lose them just as fast as people realize their service is not ready for prime time.

  7. Michael W December 16, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Crazy….Still no mention of Xbox One.

    • ikjadoon December 16, 2017 at 11:24 am #

      For real. This is kind of getting to be a drain–I hope they’re working on it because it’s been ages.

      Maybe they’ll do a simultaneous Windows Store release. Or maybe not–I’ve no idea, haha.

    • Justice Dean December 16, 2017 at 12:01 pm #

      That’s where I’m at. I’ve bee. Wait to upgrade my firestick with the new FireTV but when I heard this was in development I held off. I really want this to by my platform.

  8. Justice Dean December 16, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    They’ve been 60 frames per second for quite some time you’re a little late to the party here. I posted some captures on Twitter several months ago on the on regular app. Not beta

    • ikjadoon December 16, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      This is where I’m confused with this article. They said they added MORE 60FPS channels…but which ones? How can we check?

      • Justice Dean December 16, 2017 at 11:55 am #

        My firestick has a function to check the feed. X-ray I think it’s called.

    • Justice Dean December 16, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

      Hell they’ve been testing 60fps since February. Great scoop guys.

      https://mobile.twitter.com/bigblueape/status/835297305519620096

  9. Loren Kruse December 16, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    This is great news! AT&T putting cutting edge technology to work… HEVC (H.265) that typically exhibits fewer compression artifacts while using less data.

  10. Justice Dean December 16, 2017 at 12:46 pm #

    I posted this before but it disappeared. I notated this in February of this year. Dear God you people are late.

  11. Sin Dong December 16, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

    Beta on Chrome sucks with the light dim every time you move the mouse over the screen. The most annoying shit ever. If they don’t fix that, i will never use it.

  12. Justice Dean December 16, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Who the hell keeps removing appropriate comments?

  13. Robin Carmack December 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

    Of all the services I have tried, DNow has been the best. Playback has been outstanding to this point.

    • TechSupport December 16, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

      I agree but one huge problem. DVR for me is the number one must have. I am with PS vue right now and gave up some stations to be with them.

  14. BloodLust December 16, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    If the they could the standard stream from not buffering all the time, I’d be excited. But considering it seems either there network or the Roku app itself can’t handle the bandwidth, I have little excitement over something that will cause even more slow down and buffering.

  15. Jack Astor December 17, 2017 at 5:59 am #

    Do not care about DVR. Just want the blue square to go away!

  16. nathan kelly December 17, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    Has anyone else lost access to locals since joining the beta? Not only do I not have the locals anymore through the chrome and android betas, but I also lost them through the standard chrome guide and on my roku 4. Still have them on the standard android app though. Haven’t checked on my apple tv 4 as its currently not connected.

    • William R. Washington December 19, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

      It appears the channel lineup on the Beta is out of date. Mine is missing a lot of networks that were added in the last couple of months. This seems to go hand in hand with the fact that my password on the Beta is also out of date. I have a theory that the Beta is a clone of database as it existed in October, possibly even September.

  17. mnsportsgeek December 17, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    Service with the best picture quality gets better leaving everyone else in the dust.

  18. vik sara January 1, 2018 at 9:57 am #

    I am also testing DTVN Beta on multiple devices and found OK as it is still fill with BUGS… the biggest thing I miss in DTVN is surround Sound ( Dolby Digital ) which I love with my 9.1 surround system setup and cable TV.

    Trust me it changes your viewing experienced completely … Sound is so important… Sony streaming service do have limited surround sound ,… I do not have any hope if DTVN has any plan to bring … UNLESS THE AUDIO COADED TO DIGITAL … it is not HD TV service…