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DIRECTV Now: What Internet Speed Do You Need?

Q. I’m thinking about getting DIRECTV Now, the streaming service. But I was wondering what Internet speed would you need? I have a 25 Mbps from my cable company. Would that be enough? — June, College Station, Texas. 

June, my answer is yes…and no. Let me explain.

DIRECTV Now, the live streaming service owned by AT&T, offers up to 100 channels in four different programming packages starting at $40 a month. According to its web site, DIRECTV Now subscribers would need Internet speeds of 12Mbps or more for best results when streaming.

That sounds ok, right? Afterall, you have Internet service that purports to deliver speeds up to 25 Mbps.

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But here’s the catch.

When you connect an Internet service to a home WiFi network, the service slows down. While 25 Mbps might be your max with a wired connection, 15 Mbps or less might be the top speed with a WiFi one. That’s cutting it a bit close to the 12 Mbps standard suggested by DIRECTV Now, particularly when you consider that Internet signal strength tends to vary. With a 25 Mbps service connected to WiFi, the odds are good that your video will experience occasional, if not frequent, freezing and buffering.

Now you could just go with a wired connection by connecting your Internet modem directly to the device that will play DIRECTV Now’s stream. That will likely cause fewer picture dropouts, but it still won’t eliminate them entirely. With a 25 Mbps service, the signal will still probably drop under 12 Mbps from time to time.

So I would advocate bumping up your Internet service to something closer to 50 Mbps. I still can’t guarantee a flawless picture — live streaming is still a bit technically buggy — but it will likely be much smoother than one with a 25 Mbps max.

June, hope that helps. Happy viewing!

About TV Answer Man (1379 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

2 Comments on DIRECTV Now: What Internet Speed Do You Need?

  1. Richard Canon // December 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm // Reply

    Make sure you have unlimited data!

  2. Don’t go with Directv Now. CONSTANT buffering problems! I tried it for 6 months and finally switched to Hulu. No problems whatsoever. I have 30 Mpbs with my Internet.

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