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DirecTV Now Faces Subscriber Complaints Over Performance Issues

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AT&T's launch of DirecTV Now could be going a little smoother. For the past several days, the skinny bundle has suffered outages and buffering delays, leading irate subscribers to voice their anger on social media. Variety documented one outage lasting several hours where viewers weren't able to see some live channels. That followed a similar outage immediately after the service debuted in late November 2016. The site DownDetector.com noted major performance issues on January 13.

Multiple publications lined up to take potshots at the service. Verge called it "a complete mess" and BGR called it "seriously broken." Verge noted complaints about missing features, billing problems, and unusable service. It counted over 200 discussion threads on AT&T's site complaining about DirecTV Now. Some subscribers who were already logged on had to re-sign in during programs, while others saw their programs cut out in the middle. The 72-hour rewind feature, which lets subscribers watch anything from the previous three days, has been unusable much of the time, a problem AT&T has acknowledged. BGR noted that an update to Apple TV designed to fix bugs took down Apple TV service for all subscribers. Customers demanding refunds have been told there's no refund policy in place, noted TechCrunch.

AT&T acquired Quickplay in mid-2016 and is responsible for its own streaming (and own streaming issues). Speaking anonymously, one video insider said the problems aren't CDN-related, but with the database and APIs.

AT&T gave the following statement to StreamingMedia.com: “With any new technology there are going to be fixes that need to be made. While we understand we still have work to do, overall feedback on DirecTV Now has been very positive. We’re continuously updating the app to provide a better experience for customers. We encourage customers to keep the app updated."

One person has been glad to see DirecTV Now's troubles: Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch has taken to Twitter to encourage those who are dissatisfied to switch to Sling.

[Note: AT&T's statement added shortly after publication.]

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