DirecTV Stream subscribers can watch live TV and on-demand content when away from home, but not on all of their devices. Similar to other live TV streaming services, DirecTV Stream employs a Home location policy that affects a variety of aspects of the experience, including the devices the service can be accessed on. Understanding the difference between streaming at home and away from home can help to ensure there are no interruptions or issues.
DirecTV Stream has gone through multiple name changes over the years. After initially launching as DirecTV Now and then changing to AT&T TV Now, the service was absorbed by AT&T TV. Most recently, the service underwent its latest identity change which saw a return to the DirecTV family. Generally speaking, not a lot else has changed, with the service mostly offering the same benefits and limitations it did as AT&T TV.
One of those aspects that has not changed much is the Home location policy. DirecTV Stream automatically detects and sets a Home area when a consumer signs up through the DirecTV Stream website or on a device. Basically, when the subscriber uses the app for the first time on a supported device that’s connected to a home Wi-Fi network, that network becomes the Home location and this then impacts on various limitations. Most notably, the devices that can be used to watch DirecTV Stream on.
Watching DirecTV Stream away from home
DirecTV Stream does not stop subscribers from watching when away from home, but this is specifically in relation to mobile usage. In other words, as long as a subscriber is watching on a smartphone, tablet, or another mobile-first device, they will be able to stream through the live TV service wherever they are within the United States.
When it comes to devices that are more usually associated with the home—devices that typically need to be connected to a wall socket—subscribers won’t be able to access DirecTV Stream when away from the designated Home network. This limitation is not just for larger devices like a smart TV, but also for smaller ones, such as streaming players. Subscribers can only access DirecTV Stream on an Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV or Roku player when connected to the home Wi-Fi network.
Of course, there are going to be times when these devices need to connect to a different network with the most obvious example being after moving home. Due to this, DirecTV Stream does allow a Home network to be changed. However, to avoid abuse of the feature, DirecTV Stream also limits the number of times a Home network can be changed to four in a 12-month period.
For reference, this is not the only limitation either. For example, DirecTV also allows subscribers to stream on an unlimited number of devices at the same time. However, this simultaneous streams policy is also directly related to the Home network. If accessing the service away from home, the number of devices that can watch DirecTV Stream at the same time drops down to three.
DirecTV Stream away from home summary
DirecTV Stream does allow subscribers to access and use the app when away from home on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. While laptops will likely work as well, the official difference is devices that connect to a mobile connection – regardless of their ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network. As a result, some subscribers may find varying results when trying to connect a laptop outside the home network, and especially if attempting to connect it to a smart TV as well. Speaking of which, smart TVs and most streaming players are only allowed to access DirecTV Stream from the designated Home network.
The Home network is enabled and set when the subscriber signs in to the DirecTV Stream app on a device that’s connected to a Wi-Fi network for the first time. As there will be times when connecting to another network is unavoidable, such as when moving home, DirecTV Stream does allow the Home network to be permanently changed. However, subscribers can only change the DirecTV Stream Home network a maximum of four times each year.