On Demand TV With DirecTV: The Way to the Future


There’s no doubt that DirecTV is on a roll when it comes to growth in on demand TV. The company has released its first quarter results for 2015 and has solid increases across the board. Subscribers grew by 279,000 for this quarter alone, and U.S. revenue increased by 6%. DirecTV also report its highest first quarter ARPU (average revenue per user) growth in five years.

The causes behind this growth, particular in the United States where results were especially strong, stems from both consumer dissatisfaction with other TV content models, and the way that DirecTV is pushing into new areas, including even more on-demand options, and deals with a number of companies to create innovative services and customizable packages.

An On Demand TV World

DirecTV has quite the history of offering unique products, especially when it comes to the latest on demand TV content and living room experiences. In 2007, the company added HD channels. In 2010, DirecTV was sitting happy as the largest pay-TV provider in the world. By 2012 the company has launched both DirectTV Everywhere and the Genie HD DVR. In 2014, the company was the first pay-TV provider to offer 4K content to customers.

The common thread here is on-demand shows and movies, a field that has rapidly grown over the past several years. Today, DirecTV’s On Demand services provide excellent aggregation, gathering shows from Showtime, HBO, Cinemax, Starz and other channels in one spot. Not only do you get content that other streaming services don’t offer, you also get to watch shows about a month before they land on services like Netflix. You can also watch the latest movies from a lineup that’s regularly updated to include new blockbusters.

To get these services, you need both a DirecTV HD DVR and an Internet connection. The package typically costs $30 per month, but online deals offer discounts like receiving the first year for $20 per month.

More Experimentation in On Demand TV

DirecTV isn’t just working on keeping its on demand features updated, it’s also trying to expand available services to all users. For example, the new Residential Experience project is working to bring more entertainment packages than ever before to hotel rooms. Essentially, this service brings at-home on demand content to hotel guests so they can watch even HBO and Showtime without paying additional costs.

The service is available in around 2,000 different locations in the United States, but since the package is designed to be compatible with all kinds of wiring schemes, expanding to other hotels and chains is a distinct possibility for the future. In other words, expect to see DirecTV getting a lot more use in average hotel room.

Low Cost, Targeted Packages

As streaming services develop and merge together to offer alternatives to cable and satellite, consumer preference has begun to turn toward low costs and customization as desired features – perhaps the most desired features. DirecTV, in return, has stepped up to the plate with a new $20 plan that does not require any new equipment or extra startup costs. In return, customers get an impressive 130 channels, including local networks if possible and three free months of cable channels.

This limited-time package offering is testing the waters of customization (in other words, it may not be available depending on timing and location), but look for more permanent, low-cast and even personalized packages to come to the service in time.

The Future of DirecTV

Let’s take a peek into DirecTV’s future plans and Digital Entertainment Lab projects to see what’s next for the company. In addition to major changes like an acquisition by AT&T, the company is working on several next-gen living room technologies. Particularly impressive is the virtual reality work that the company is doing, not with headsets but with the entire theater environment, using new project techniques and other fun tricks.

There’s also a project called DirecTV WhiteBox, which is working on gesture-based controls, controlling your TV via mobile devices, and slinging content across a number of devices. It’s exciting stuff for on demand content, and DirecTV remains in a strong position to bring new features to customers in the coming years.

Photo Credit: Angel Raul Ravelo Rodriguez