The TV Answer Man!

DIRECTV Now: Where Is Roku?

News Analysis
When AT&T’s DIRECTV Now launched on November 30, some industry observers were surprised that the service was not available on Roku, the leading maker of streaming devices. The live streaming service was (and is) on Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, but not Roku.

See Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices.

Roku said at the time that it would add DIRECTV Now sometime in the first quarter, but there are just a few weeks left in the time period and, as of this morning, still no Roku.

The omission has some Roku owners upset and they have voiced their concerns on social media sites.

Amazon: Roku Express: $29.99.

“It was supposed to be ‘early Q1’, they must be having a lot of issues with the support,” writes @DJ_Tweets_MN on Twitter.

DJ might be right. DIRECTV Now has famously struggled in the early going, undergoing everything from outages to login issues to accidental blackouts of sporting events to picture freezing.  Perhaps DIRECTV Now is having difficulty coordinating with Roku to develop a stable app that will not trigger more technical snafus.

Amazon: Roku Premiere: $76.

But I think the larger issue is that DIRECTV Now has been afraid that the addition of Roku will significantly increase subscribers, and that could lead to more technical snafus. AT&T executives have said the early errors have been caused in part to a larger number of subscribers than the company anticipated. They simply weren’t ready to handle the traffic, although they don’t quite phrase it that way.

Amazon: Roku Premiere Plus: $96.

So DIRECTV Now may still be coming to Roku by month’s end. But my guess is that AT&T will not sign-off until it’s sure it can handle the extra traffic.

— Phillip Swann