Launched within an update on the Google Play store, the DirecTV application for Android smartphones and tablets has been upgraded to offer streaming video of movies and television shows from premium content providers. Similar to the DirecTV “Everywhere” iPad application currently in beta, DirecTV subscribers can access selected programming from Cinemax, Encore, HBO, the Sony Movie Channel and Starz assuming that these premium network subscriptions are bundled into their monthly package. While users could already stream content from HBO and Cinemax in the respective HBO GO and MAX GO Android applications, this allows DirecTV subscribers to browse through all premium content in a single app.
The application also allows DirecTV users to stream pay-per-view movies from DIRECTV CINEMA, but the app requires a DirecTV account to sign in and purchase rental content. Subscribers can stream content over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections, but Android owners without an unlimited data plan should be wary of data caps when watching streaming video.
According to the Android Community blog, the application works in Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich as well as rooted devices. In addition, the current version of the app still displays the navigation bar during video playback and DIRECTV is including advertising in the form of commercials within certain content streamed through the app.
Similar to the iPad beta version of the application, the DirecTV app can pick up where a video stops if a user has to close the app for any reason. For instance, a commuter could start watching an episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones on the way into work and pick up where they left off on the ride home. The updated application also includes a new discovery tool that allows users to check out television shows and movies that other users are watching. Beyond the new streaming features added with this revision, the app still offers the ability to order movies which can be sent to the home DVR in addition to scheduling future recordings to the main DVR in the home.
Management at DirecTV hasn’t indicated how many channels will be included within future updates to the application. It’s possible that DirecTV will limit access to premium subscriptions rather than allow streaming of hundreds of channels.
The company also hasn’t indicated if future updates will incorporate the popular NFL Sunday Ticket package into the app. However, DirecTV already has a dedicated NFL Sunday Ticket app for both Android and iOS devices. Announced last week, DirecTV has slashed the price of a NFL Sunday Ticket subscription from $325 down to approximately $200. That price is for the base package and the ability to watch streaming live games on mobile devices costs an extra $100.
While the updated iPad application is targeted for release in the next three to four months according to Engadget, DirecTV has made no indication when the iPhone and iPod Touch version of the application will offer the ability to stream video. Similar to the Android application, the iOS version allows users to schedule upcoming recordings on the DVR and order On Demand titles.
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