Update: We're now halfway through 2019 and every word of this is still true, which is just ridiculous.
While I'm quite adamant about there not being a single streaming service to rule them all, this much is true — DirecTV Now, especially now that it's in its second-generation form, is excellent. It's excellent on Apple TV. It's excellent on Roku. It's excellent on Amazon Fire TV.
Where it's not excellent is on Android TV. Because it's not actually available on Android TV. There is, officially, no native Android TV app for DirecTV Now.
Chromecast isn't enough. DirecTV Now should have a native app for Android TV.
That doesn't actually mean you can't watch DirecTV Now on an Android TV.
Both the Android and iOS apps for DirecTV Now support Google's Chromecast feature, which lets you easily "cast" a video from a phone or tablet to an Android TV, or to a Chromecast dongle. And that's a perfectly fine way to watch the occasional video.
What it is not, however, is a particularly fun thing to do if you don't know exactly what you want to watch and know that you'll be there watching it for a while. In other words, it's awful if you're going to flipping around a bit.
AT&T, when reached for comment, said it didn't "have any additional information to share at this time."
What's equally frustrating is that we know DirecTV Now has at least flirted with a proper Android TV application. It was an exclusive on Le Eco televisions — before that company shut down in the United States, leaving its devices to rot. (The DirecTV Now app was preloaded in an OS update, but later killed on the server side of things.)
At this point there's a decent chance one of you has your hand raised and is shouting "But you can side load the Amazon Fire TV app!" And, indeed, you can. But that's not the point in the slightest.
Android TV is one of the major hardware platforms when it comes to cord-cutting. It's far past time DirecTV Now (and its parent company, AT&T) remembers that.
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