Will DIRECTV NOW give you local channels no matter where you are?

DIRECTV NOW is the perfect solution for cord cutters who want live TV. It’s also perfect for people who don’t want to be tied to a contract. Start when you want, cancel when you want, watch on almost any device. That sounds like the perfect solution for today’s on-the-go lifestyle.

But what about local channels?

When it comes to live TV, a lot of people think about their local affiliates. The good news for you is that DIRECTV NOW has more local channels than ever before, and most cities have at least a few. Some cities have a full complement of ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox channels so you won’t miss a thing.

However, if you travel outside your local area and try to use DIRECTV NOW, you’ll lose access to your city’s local channels. Unfortunately DIRECTV NOW uses your billing address to figure out what local channels you’re entitled to, and then traces the address of your device through the internet to figure out where you are. So if you’re not near your billing address, you don’t get any local channels at all. You’ll still get all the national ones, just not the local ones.

You may be asking yourself why DIRECTV NOW can’t just give you local channels for whatever city you happen to find yourself in. It comes down to those sneaky lawyers again, and the local channels themselves are the ones that keep DIRECTV NOW from showing you any channels outside your local area (which is defined by your billing address.) Then a whole bunch of different lawyers in another city are preventing you from getting your home channels when you’re in their territory. If you think that’s messed up, trust me you’re not the only one.

I have a feeling this is not a permanent situation, but broadcast contracts tend to run about three years and DIRECTV NOW is less than a year old. I have a feeling AT&T’s lawyers are working on getting this resolved, but it’s going to take years to get the thousands of local channels involved all on the same page. In the meantime you can use the apps from ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox to get the latest on demand programming but live TV from those networks is sadly out of reach if you’re out of reach of their signals.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.