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AT&T's DirecTV Now Plagued With Outages and Sports Blackouts (arstechnica.com) 42

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Barely two weeks after ATT launched DirecTV Now, the online streaming service's customers have already been hit by multiple outages, unexpected blackouts of live local sports games, and missing channels. There was an outage of about three hours last night and a two-hour outage Friday night, TVPredictions reported today. "DirecTV Now's customers said they couldn't log onto the streaming service, or they were suddenly met with a blank screen if already watching," the report said. The "Error Message 30" article tells customers that they may be suffering from "an intermittent or weak Internet connection," but in this case the problem was on DirecTV's end. "Tuesday evening we experienced an issue that prevented some customers from streaming on DirecTV Now," ATT told Ars today. "The issue has since been resolved and we're seeing normal streaming levels at this time. We thank our customers for their patience." Even when DirecTV Now works, availability of live sports games hasn't lived up to what the company promised. There appear to be technical problems affecting local games, but licensing restrictions may be limiting availability as well. This past Sunday, some DirecTV Now subscribers in cities such as San Francisco, Tampa Bay, and Atlanta could not watch NFL games on local Fox channels due to a technical problem, TVPredictions reported in another article.
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AT&T's DirecTV Now Plagued With Outages and Sports Blackouts

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  • by stedlj ( 62084 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:32PM (#53486333) Homepage

    It seems few people remember that antennas still work! You do not even need a special digital..... that antenna that has been on the roof for 20+ years will work just fine. Heck I watch the games with the antenna because of the better picture.

    • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:34PM (#53486345) Homepage Journal
      Antenna? OK, grandpa. So you are saying there are these magic rays that go through the air that your magic "antenna" can catch and turn into a NFL game? Delusional!
      • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:23PM (#53486637)

        So you are saying there are these magic rays that go through the air that your magic "antenna" can catch and turn into a NFL game? Delusional!

        If this Science Fictional technology of sending TV through the air, instead of through a cable, as God intended, is ever invented, it would be disruptive! Think of the damage that it would do to the children of cable industry workers.

        This would cause more unemployment than Artificial Intelligence Automation and Guy Fawkes mask toting Anonymous Cars!

        Note that these would be American jobs that would be lost: no cable country in the USA would send a technician from India to the US to fix your cable problem in Camden, NJ. Although, given the time it takes for the cable company to send a technician to fix your problem at home . . . it might seem like the technician is swimming from India to the US.

      • by TheSync ( 5291 )

        So you are saying there are these magic rays that go through the air that your magic "antenna" can catch and turn into a NFL game?

        It's like WiFi, but with 8-level vestigial sideband modulation.

    • by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @06:06PM (#53486503) Journal

      Blackouts can occur in the city of a home game if not enough tickets were sold. Often the broadcasting rights are only granted if some minimum amount of seats have been sold. That is to keep the broadcasting of the games from hurting ticket sales. Depending on how many more tickets must be sold in order to allow the game to be broadcast, the network doing the broadcasting will sometimes buy tickets to make up the difference - as long as they still will see a net profit at the end of the bargain.

      This mainly affects regions with teams that are doing poorly (I remember blackouts occurring when I was a kid for Cleveland Browns games - not much has changed since then huh?). It was always insulting knowing people in other regions could watch our team play but the local fans could not because enough tickets weren't sold.

      • people in other regions could watch our team play but the local fans could not because the local team owners didn't care if you couldn't watch the game because you didn't buy a ticket, and if you could watch it on TV for free you'd probably choose that over paying for parking and $10 hot dogs and having beer poured on you by another fan after you bought a ticket.

        FTFY.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Sure -- as long as you aren't in an area that is slightly out of range since the stations had to move to UHF or lower power. I live in an urban area and suffer really bad multipath issues with OTA and a descent antenna. So, it's not exactly that easy...

  • Sport Blackouts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:36PM (#53486351) Homepage Journal

    > Sports Blackouts

    So nothing of value was lost.

    • > Sports Blackouts

      So nothing of value was lost.

      This is why I love Slashdot.

    • No, it's more than that. Sports blackouts are a positive thing, because they help get sports fans off the couch and doing something else, or at least helping to break their addiction to sports by preventing them from satisfying their addiction that day so that have to change the channel to something else, likely non-sports.

      Even if it has the desired effect and encourages more of them to actually purchase tickets and go see the game in person, that's a good thing too as it'll force them to get more exercise

      • I never thought of it like that, it's some backward-ass logic.

        "You know what? We have people that want to watch the game but we are only getting $1 from their cable company for that privilege. Solution! Force them to buy a ticket to the game for the low-low price of $65 a seat! Why? Because fuck them and their football parties, we need that extra $60 a person because reasons!"
        • I never thought of it like that, it's some backward-ass logic.

          "You know what? We have people that want to watch the game but we are only getting $1 from their cable company for that privilege. Solution! Force them to buy a ticket to the game for the low-low price of $65 a seat! Why? Because fuck them and their football parties, we need that extra $60 a person because reasons!"

          I thought of it in terms of the long term cost to society of universities around the USA investing more in sports and education. The mission of universities to research and educate has been allowed to be corrupted by basketball and American football.

          Anything that works to diminish the status of sports in our society will ultimately be of benefit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:41PM (#53486379)

    Out of the 3 current big services -- Dish Sling TV, Playstation Vue, DirecTV Now -- I feel Playstation Vue was the most feature complete at the best price. Losing the Viacom channels sort of cut off the best price option, as did the intro pricing on the $60 plan from DirecTV Now.

    Dish Sling, at the time I tested, only allow streaming to one device at a time. They later came out with an option to do two devices, but that was at an additional cost. The UI wasn't bad, and feature set was about what you'd expect to see from a "TV service" with some sort of DVR capability.

    Playstation Vue absolutely was the best value for my house. With 2 kids and 3 TVs, the service allows streaming on up to 5 devices simultaneously for no extra fee. Even the cheapest package option has what I'd consider some of the better channels vs what you'd find in say a base package from Comcast, Dish, or DirecTV. It also has a DVR and OnDemand features, although depending on the channel and if you use the DVR or OnDemand option, you may not be able to FF/RW. Overall I think it has one of the better UIs

    DirecTV Now has a long way to go. The UI is cludgy and seems to put more focus on the OnDemand stuff rather than Live content. You can't "DVR" anything (yet?), and while you can *pause* a live feed, you can't then fast foward nor can you rewind. The streaming issues I understand as Vue and Sling both had issues early on, but the whole lack of features and honestly one not close to polished UI (at least on the fire stick/tv) is a huge 'ugh'. I believe you can also only stream on two devices at one time, so maybe not a great option for a larger family that watches TV around the same time, although the $35 for 100+ channels if you sign up during the promo and keep service is worth it.

    Overall, I still think Playstation Vue has the best UI and bang for the buck when you factor in the channels, price, 5 device streaming, etc. Odd how I read Sling has 500,000+ subscribers while Vue has 100,000.. I wonder if the name plays into that more than anything

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )

      500,000 vs 100,000.

      It's simple. Most cord-cutters, like myself, only want 1-2 channels. For me it was "How do I get ESPN and Pac-12 the cheapest that I can?" Sling delivered at $20 a month. And when college football is over, I'll cancel it.

      I don't want "cable system over internet". I just wanted ESPN and Pac-12.

    • They need to have the law see them as cable / sat systems so they can get the real local feeds and not the watch feeds

  • by anthony_greer ( 2623521 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:55PM (#53486451)

    I got a pop up saying that "the simpsons" was blacked out in Chicago due to "regional blackout rules" while teh Packers game right before The Simpsons worked fine...

    I plugged back in the cable box and havnt looked back.

  • My downstairs neighbor still stop blasting sports 24/7?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I signed up and canceled within half an hour because it's so terrible. They refuse to refund my money despite the 7 day "cancel anytime" free trial.
    The chat representative refused to connect me to a supervisor and instead promised a supervisor would contact me within 24 hours. 5 days later and no response. I filed a charge back.

    Stay far, far away from this shit, people.

  • Another problem with Comcast - the 49ers WEREN'T blacked out.

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