NICE AND EASY: Using On Demand with DIRECTV

You’ve probably seen the commercials… so you know that DIRECTV has over 10,000 on demand choices. You may not know what you need to do in order to get them, so here’s a quick guide.

Do you have the right equipment? In order to use on demand content you need a DIRECTV HD DVR or Genie. If you can record HD programming, you have most of what you need. You may need a separate device to connect you to the internet so the next question is…

Are you internet connected? If your DIRECTV installation was done by a DIRECTV installer he probably did connect you to the internet. It’s easy to tell. Press the {DASH} button on your remote (to the left of the zero) and you’ll see a popup that tells you.

If you need help connecting your DIRECTV system to the internet, you’re in luck! We’ve made it easy for you with our newly revised and updated White Paper: Coax Networking for DIRECTV. You may already have everything you need, but if you don’t, this document is full of clickable links to help you get moving!

The long wait…
If you’ve just connected to the internet, remember to do the “Connect Now” procedure: Press {MENU} then go to Settings&Help, Settings, Network Setup, Connect Now. Once you do that, and your receiver tells you that you are connected to the internet, it usually takes three or four hours for on demand content to show up. Rather than waiting, it’s probably better to get a little something to eat, do some chores, or wait until the morning before you try to use On Demand content.

Ready, set, go!
You can get to On Demand Content several different ways:

  • Press {MENU} then Search&Browse, then On Demand.
  • Go to the guide and if the name of the channel has a “+” in a triangle, you can highlight the name of the channel and press {SELECT} to get to its on demand channel.
  • Or, just go to Channel 1000!

You can search for on demand content the same way as any other content by pressing {MENU} then going to Search&Browse, then Smart Search. On Demand content will have a [VOD] icon next to the title.

Is it really “On Demand?”
In past years, DIRECTV was criticized because the internet speeds of the day only let you watch SD programming instantly; HD programs took up to four times longer so it was better to record them and watch them when they were done. With today’s fast internet speeds, that isn’t necessary. Highlight any On Demand title and choose “Watch Now” and you’ll get an optimized (yet fully HD) version of your program that should start in 30 seconds or less.

Is all on-demand programming free?
Many movies are not free, but they’re always labeled with a ($) and you’re given a second warning before you are actually charged. If you don’t want your kids to buy on demand programming, you can set spending limits (or disable all purchases) with Parental Controls. Here’s how you do it.

DIRECTV really does have a massive amount of free content and that makes for some really great value, especially since you really don’t need to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu to get the latest and greatest stuff!

Here’s a quick video that shows you everything you need to know!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.