Direct TV Now is celebrating its first birthday and Internet Television is coming into its own.
As cord cutting (people leaving standard cable television services) continues to accelerate, subscribers are looking for other options in which to get their favorite television channels. Internet television is an option that gives subscribers choices.
What is Direct TV Now and Internet Television?
Services like Direct TV Now are known as OTT (Over The Top) systems – called such because they work on your Internet connection. Just like standard cable television different services provide different offerings, channels, packages, and functions. Generally, OTT providers don’t require a set top box and will work with your PC, tablet, and phone. If you prefer the convenience of a set top box, there are options you can buy that will save you the monthly rental fees.
Another option is getting a smart television with your preferred service built in. It is important to figure out which service provider you want to use and then make sure the equipment you buy will work.
What kind of equipment do I need for Internet Television? Another new TV?
For those of us with an existing television, devices like Apple TV (about $150), Amazon Fire TV (About $80), or Google Chromecast (about $60) can be purchased to add the functions in the same way a set top box would.
It is important to understand that each device is different. Direct TV Now will work with Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and some Roku models but will not work with the Sony PlayStation or Microsoft Xbox game systems. Sony offers an OTT service called Vue which will work with their game systems (the PlayStation 4 and 3) as well as Amazon Fire but will not work with Apple TV. For specific information each provider lists their compatible equipment on their website.
In most cases these technologies will work with both iMac and Windows computers as well as tablets and smart phones.
Does Internet Television really replace standard cable TV?
It varies. Right now, the online offerings tend to include most of the same channels that you can get on standard television. It is based on market for services like local channels and some specific resources.
Most systems do support a cloud based DVR so you can “record” your shows. This can have its limitations, though, such as Sony’s Vue service not being able to record broadcasts on local channels. Other features, like on demand, Pay Per View, and premium channels like HBO are available through most Internet systems at additional cost.
How does the cost of Internet Television compare to standard cable TV?
Assuming you would have an Internet connection in either case the cost of Internet Television can be substantially less than standard cable. You have more choice in what channels you subscribe to. Dish has an offering called Sling TV in which you have a base subscription and then choose the channels you want. Direct TV Now is more like standard television with different package levels.
Based upon those assumptions the cost is less for Internet Television. Direct TV Now starts at $35/month and PlayStation Vue starts at $40/month. Most providers also offer a free week of service to allow for a trial period.
Internet Television doesn’t require renting a proprietary set top box or installing a satellite dish, so you save those expenses as well. Installation fees and rental fees are charged in addition to your base package costs.
What are some examples of Internet Television Providers?
Sony – Vue (https://www.playstation.com/en-us/network/vue/)
AT&T – Direct TV Now (www.directtvnow.com)
Dish – Sling TV (www.sling.com)
Google – YouTube TV (https://tv.youtube.com/welcome/)
A complete list of Internet Television providers is available on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_television_providers)
William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand. Article edited by Gretchen Winkler.
Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw