In the Cloud with Directv Now

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times on this blog, Directv entered the streaming game last year. They did so with the creation of Directv Now.

Directv Now is still a baby in the market. It was unveiled in November 2016, so it’s not even a year old. Of course when a product is still in its infancy stages, this is when you can expect a series of changes.

We wrote about one of those changes just a few weeks back, when Directv Now increased the amount of markets where users could access local channels. This was a welcome evolution for the service.

Such changes are usually made in an effort to address complaints and concerns from customers and leads. One concern that many have levied against Directv Now regards recording capabilities. For the moment, there is no DVR functionality attached to Now that lets users record their favorite shows.

But that could be just for the moment.

Recently, AT&T announced that Directv Now is experimenting with cloud-based functionality that will act as a DVR service for Now subscribers.

Experimenting?

For now, it’s just an experiment, but an experiment with long-term aspirations. It’s pretty clear that AT&T wants to add recording capabilities to Now, it’s just a question of

They want to fine-tune their system before releasing it in en masse. This is hardly uncommon in the business world.

So what is the experiment exactly? Usually when people say the word “experiment,” images like this are imagined:

Thankfully, no muppets are employed by AT&T (that I know of).

Directv will invite a group of current Now subscribers to use a beta version of the DVR system for the rest of the summer. These subscribers will provide feedback while they use the system. The builders of the system will then incorporate that feedback and improve the functionality and features before AT&T makes it available to everyone.

Features?

Of course, DVR systems aren’t what they used to be. No longer are they just recording devices. Systems like the Directv Genie come attached with features beyond the ability to record “The Americans.” Genie also hosts apps like Netflix and Pandora, and it also makes program suggestions for subscribers.

So how much will Genie and the Directv Now DVR systems have in common? Unfortunately, it’s hard to say. AT&T has not made such information publicly available. We will likely have to rely on leaks from testers in the meantime.

That said, AT&T has left a few hints about the future of Directv Now in general.

The Future

AT&T is clearly ready to invest more into Directv Now. It makes sense, given that streaming services are rapidly gaining in popularity. As always, AT&T/Directv just want to be competitive.

And given what they have on the horizon, there’s little reason to believe they can’t be competitive. Directv Now is set to feature goodies like live TV pausing and parental controls by the end of this year, or around the time Directv Now’s DVR is widely available.

That’s the short term. When you’re developing a product, it’s imperative to think of next year’s ambitions as well. And Directv Now has such ambitions. By the end of 2018, AT&T wants to add features like 4K HDR, user profiles, and downloading.

Conclusion

Directv Now could just as easily be referred to as Directv New. And like with anything new, there are going to be imperfections.

However, what often separates the superior brands from the rest is the vision.

There’s plenty of vision attached to Direct Now. Their DVR system may be in the cloud, but their heads are not.

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