Get a Free Apple TV with DIRECTV NOW

I switched to satellite-based DirecTV a while ago, when AT&T (owner of DirecTV) offered unlimited wireless data for DirecTV subscribers. It was a good deal, as we were anxious to leave Time Warner but not ready to cut the cable cord yet. But for those who prefer watching TV using apps, the company just announced DIRECTV NOW, an app-based streaming service that includes live TV as well as on-demand shows. It could be a bargain and it just got better.

For a limited time, if you sign up and pre-pay for three months, you can get a 32 GB Apple TV (fourth generation) for free! That's helpful because DIRECTV NOW works as an Apple TV app, so you would launch the app and navigate the channel and show guide using your Siri Remote. Packages start at $35 permonth and go as high as $70 per month, with HBO or Cinemax just a $5 per month add-on. In theory, for three months up-front ($105) a user could get an Apple TV for free and then cancel since there's no annual contract or installation required. But they're hoping you'll be hooked.

The service is not for everyone. It's probably best for a single TV household, such as a college dorm room or single millennial. DirecTV only allows two simultaneous streams. By comparison, with DirecTV in my house, I have four "Genie" devices with a shared DVR and I can record multiple shows simultaneously. Plus, I don't need to train family members on using an app instead of a more traditional TV guide. Also, my family likes the local TV stations and that may not be available in most areas.

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Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.