Stay away from DirecTv Now, it’s a trap!

On December 22, I signed up for DirecTv Now, the new streaming TV service offered by AT&T. I signed up for the “Go Big” package, normally $70 per month, but currently $35 per month for as long as I keep my DirecTv Now account. I also paid $5 extra a month for HBO. My monthly total was $40. The package also came with a 7-day free trial.

When you sign up, it presents you with different options. If you agree to pay for three months upfront, they will send you a free Apple TV. I chose this option because if I decided to keep it after the 7-day free trial, I most likely be keeping it well beyond three months.

That was a huge mistake.

The DirecTv Now service is terrible. The picture quality is awful. It’s heavily pixelated, and it always buffers. Switching from one channel to another is time-consuming. It takes far longer than it should, far longer than it does on similar streaming services. The buffering at times makes whatever you’re watching truly unwatchable. It reminded me of watching Netflix six years ago on DSL.

They should change the name from DirecTv Now to DirecTv QP1502. That’s the error you constantly get while trying to watch content.

The channel lineup is also terrible. I’ve never heard of some of the channels they include. Justice Network? What’s that? They also don’t provide ABC or NBC, even though they claim to on their website.

DirecTv Now also doesn’t include any on demand features. If you want to watch a show, you have to watch it when the network streams it. Having a DirecTV Now account doesn’t allow you to sign into network apps to watch on demand content there like you can if you are a DirecTv, Dish, or cable subscriber.

DirecTv Now is also a bandwidth hog. After using it for a few days, our cable Internet provider contacted us to inform us we’ve already used 70% of our monthly data. I can only imagine what would happen if we watched DirecTv Now for a full month.

Stay away from DirecTv Now, it's a trap! - Bent Corner
You need a magnifying glass to read it, but it says they will not charge your credit card until AFTER the free trial.

Taking all this into consideration, I decided to cancel my DirecTv Now account. I thought that since I was still on the 7-day free trial, I was covered. It turns out I was not. After logging into DirecTv Now and going through the process of canceling my account, I was informed that my account would remain active until April 1st. I then noticed that they had already charged my credit card the $120 for the three months. They weren’t supposed to do that. According to their website, I wouldn’t be billed until after the free trial. It says so in the fine print.

The Apple TV they promised I would receive for signing up for three months would not be sent our for another two to three weeks. I assumed that was because I was still under the 7-day trial. No, it turns out they’re just slow and they don’t care about customer satisfaction.

I contacted DirecTv Now customer support. They said because I already paid for three months, there was nothing they could do. I told them that I didn’t know I was charged the $120. I explained I thought my credit card would not be charged until after the 7-day free trial because that’s what it said on their website. They said that the 7-day free trial was added to the end of my subscription. That’s why my subscription doesn’t end after exactly three months. It’s active until April 1st.

They also said DirecTv Now does not issue refunds.

I don’t understand how what DirecTv Now is doing is even legal. They are selling a service that’s buggy and doesn’t work correctly and they have a no-refund policy. I also didn’t understand how my 7-day free trial would be tacked on to the backend of my three-month subscription. How can that even be considered a trial?

I will be contacting my bank and disputing the $120 charge. I will also be contacting the Maryland Attorney General. If enough people do this, maybe AT&T, will be forced to change their ways.

Funimation Roku app will not allow streaming of TV-MA programming

The Funimation Roku app, FunimationNow (version 1.0 build 110) will not allow me to stream TV-MA rated content. I can watch such content on my computer or on my Xbox One, but not on any of my Roku devices.

When I try to watch a show that’s rated TV-MA, I see a blue screen with the words, “Sorry! This video contains mature content.”

I contacted Funimation support because that is what it said to do in their online FAQ when presented with this error. The person from Funimation emailed me back asking what device I was using to stream programming to my TV. When I told them I was using the Roku, this was the response:

Hello Rick,

Thank you for contacting Funimation Support.

We apologize that your premium subscription isn’t allowing you to view TV-MA content through our new app.

We are aware of some issues with our newest apps and we’re working with our Development Team to get this fixed as quickly as possible.  We have escalated your account to our Development team for review, and we’ll contact you as soon as we hear any updates.

In the meantime, you can still enjoy your full Funimation subscription on our website or through one of our current/legacy apps.  We appreciate your patience as we work to get this resolved and we apologize again for the inconvenience.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

Thank you!
Funimation Support

So there seems to be a problem with the Roku app. That would have been nice to know sooner. Before this email, it didn’t even occur to me to try watching streaming content on my computer or my Xbox One.

This is beyond annoying considering that I’m paying for a Funimation premium account, and because their app for the Roku isn’t working correctly, I can’t use their service the way I want to. I want to watch anime on the TV, not the computer. One of our TVs has an Xbox One, but I despise the interface on the Xbox One. It’s overly complicated and using the controller as a remote control leaves a lot to be desired. It times out after so many minutes.

Funimation Roku app will not allow streaming of TV-MA programing - Bent Corner
The Funimation app on Roku will not allow me to watch Attack on Titan because it’s rated TV-MA.

FunimationNow is the only app on Roku, so Michael’s advice on using a current/legacy app is not very helpful. I don’t even know what that means, current/legacy. Aren’t they the opposite of each other?

I just want to watch anime in English on my TV like a civilized person. I’m more than willing to pay for the privilege. Is that asking too much? I think not. Granted, my life-long appreciation of Japanese culture should have prompted me to learn the Japanese language, making Funimation and it’s extensive English dubbed library an unnecessary thing to have access to. In my defense, I’m incredibly lazy, and I’m not even as fluent in the English language as I really ought to be. I still don’t quite understand when to properly use the words who or whom. Not really.