Has DIRECTV Now turned around its once seemingly never-ending series of programming errors and other technical snafus?

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From its debut on November 30, AT&T’s live streaming service was a technical disaster, suffering lengthy outages, inadvertent blackouts of NFL games, picture freezing, login issues, and a host of other problems. Subscribers took residence on social media sites to slam DIRECTV Now with pleas for help, and scathing testimonies of their bitter experiences.

The issues were so widespread and apparent that rival industry executives even openly mocked DIRECTV Now in promotional campaigns.

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But in recent weeks. the nasty comments on Twitter and Facebook have dramatically declined, according to this observer who monitors such posts on a daily basis. In addition, DownDetector.com, which tracks online technical problems, has only noted three significant issues for DIRECTV Now in the past month.

To be sure, AT&T’s live streaming service is far from perfect now. Like every other live streamer, the service is still encumbered with picture buffering, and occasional oddities such as incorrect blackouts of Discovery programs as if they were National Football League games.

DIRECTV Now was also embarrassed recently when it failed to fulfill its promise to deliver an app for Roku streaming devices in the first quarter.

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But there seems to be a sense of normalcy now at DIRECTV Now. You don’t expect the service to crash every five minutes, or prevent you from even logging into your account. Such things still happen, but not nearly as often.

DIRECTV Now’s consumer ratings at the ITunes store (2 stars out of a possible five) and Android app stores (2.4 stars out of a possible five at Amazon.com) are still nothing to write home about. But more positive reviews have been posted in the last few weeks than normal so it’s possible the ratings will rise some in the coming weeks.

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As a live streaming service, DIRECTV Now will continued to be challenged. The technology clearly isn’t ready for primetime as rivals Sling TV and PlayStation Vue have found out the hard way over the last two years. Unlike traditional pay TV services, live streaming still has too many picture burps and outright system crashes if traffic exceeds expectations.

But it appears from this view that DIRECTV Now has emerged from the rough waters that once threatened to capsize the service entirely.

— Phillip Swann