With the advent of smart devices, cable providers are now building apps that significantly enhance not only the viewing experience, but the way we interact with our service itself, whether through social media or using iPhones and iPads as remote controls. We’re going to take a look at the best of the best DIRECTV and DISH apps for iOS to help you make the most informed decision you possibly can about which cable service to choose. We’d help by simply making the decision for you ourselves if we could, but, as hard as it may be to believe, there just isn’t an app for that…yet.
Best DIRECTV apps for iOS
DIRECTV’s apps are designed to help users get the content they want faster. We’ll go over some of our favorites.
What can you do with DIRECTV’s app for iPhone?
First and foremost, there’s the DIRECTV app itself, simply called DIRECTV. When it comes to your cable service, this app basically includes everything but your TV room couch on your iOS mobile device. It’s not a stretch to say that it’s is an essential download for anyone with DIRECTV.
The app does, of course, allow users to watch content on their mobile devices, including live broadcasting and on-demand content, but that just scratches the surface. The app also offers a wide range of functionality, from setting recordings remotely to using your device as a remote.
- Viewing: As stated above, it’s easy to stream content from your cable service to your device. The app also offers the ability to switch seamlessly from one device to another. Start watching something on your TV, and then want to watch it on your iPad, or vice versa? Not a problem with this app.
- Information: The app also makes it easy to explore show details, like cast and crew lists, parental guidelines, and recommendations for similar programming. It’s like having IMDB built into the device.
- Recording: If you’re away from home and realize you forgot to set a recording, the app has you covered. Users can access DVR settings remotely to make sure you never miss a program. The app also allows you to add extra time to the beginning or end of a set recording time—no more being foiled by those funky 7:04pm start times for your favorite programming.
- Control: Apple Watch users get a special treat when it comes to this app: they can use their watches as remote controls, even accessing their DVRs through the watch. The Voice Search function finds programming without a single tap on the touch screen.
Can I watch NFL SUNDAY TICKET on my phone?
One of the major draws of DIRECTV is the NFL SUNDAY TICKET app. If you thought the programming content was robust, the app gives it a run for its money, integrating all sorts of social features, alerts, and even fantasy football team management.
- Content: First of all, the app allows users to view every minute of every out-of-market game on their devices every Sunday afternoon, but the app offers so much more. For example, the app offers instant highlights to relive the big moments from every game. The app also makes it easy to keep track of the season, offering scores and stats for completed and in-progress games.
- Fantasy Football: For fantasy football fans, MAX users get content via DIRECTV FANTASY ZONE channel, which offers live game-to-game fantasy analysis and real-time stats powered by NFL.com Fantasy. Regular users playing fantasy football on the NFL Fantasy League can also manage teams and view player stats in their leagues while watching games without missing a moment of the live action.
- Social: Have a favorite player—or several? You’re going to want to keep tabs on what they’re up to. Sign up for alerts and add players to your Favorites list to get instant alerts every time they make a big play. And if you can’t control yourself and just need to brag about that big play, that’s simple too. The app offers integration with social networks, making it easy to show that hometown team pride with the touch of a button.
Honorable mention: The DIRECTV Sports Bar Finder app allows users to locate the nearest sports bar broadcasting DIRECTV sports content fast. Perfect to celebrate that glorious win or mourn that devastating loss. Please note: Wings and beer extra.
Get a moment of peace with the DIRECTV Kids app
One of the other big contenders for the best DIRECTV apps for iPhone or iPad has to be DIRECTV Kids. Any busy parent who’s ever handed his or her kid a mobile device in exchange for just one. moment. of peace. will likely find a lot of utility here. Of course, parents know that they don’t even have to hand their kids the device—if it’s within reach, they’ll grab it.
And who can blame them, especially with an app like DIRECTV Kids? This app streams children’s content directly to the device from providers like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, HBO, STARZ, Sprout, and Disney. It also has a number of features that both parents and children can appreciate.
- Kids: The little users have a variety of features available, like being able to see and play back shows they’ve recently watched and discovering new shows to watch right from the home page.
- Parents: Adults can keep tabs on what kids are up to by checking out the viewing history. Not that they’ll have to worry much, as all content is rated PG or TV-Y7 or lower. Each show also features age ratings and reviews from Common Sense Media.
Best DISH apps for iOS
While DISH does offer a smattering of apps for iOS (there is a sizable collection of third-party apps available for Android users), the selection is limited compared to DIRECTV. One advantage to DISH, however, is the fact that DISH’s sports content is built directly into the main app.
How does DISH Anywhere help me watch TV on the go?
The DISH Anywhere app for iPhone and iPad offers the ability to watch live or recorded content on your mobile device. This feature-rich flagship app works for anyone with both DISH service and an iOS device. The features include viewing content, managing content, and accessing sports content.
There’s one catch when it comes to viewing mobile content on a device via DISH: it requires the purchase and use of a Sling adapter to convert the cable signal to one that’s viewable on mobile devices.
- Watch programs without an internet connection: Enjoying live and recorded content via this app is the main feature. The app offers the ability to stream your DISH service to your device as well as watch the content already on your Hopper/DVR. One particularly handy feature is that you can transfer content on a DVR to the device itself, allowing you to watch shows offline.
- Manage your DVRs remotely: The DISH Anywhere app offers the ability to control and schedule DVR recordings remotely. You can view the program schedule seven days in advance, and it’s searchable via program titles, keywords, genre, and cast. You can manage the content on your DVR as well, deleting programs remotely to make room for new shows.
- Find the best sports: While not as robust as NFL SUNDAY TICKET (though what app is, really?), the DISH Anywhere Sports app is no slouch. The app allows users to access updated scores and game info for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAAB, and NCAAF. Not sure what event you feel like watching today? The app allows users to find the best games to watch by following the “excitement rating,” a service that ranks the excitement of games by the action taking place on the field. Like NFL SUNDAY TICKET, the sports functionality here allows users to set up and get score notifications about their favorite leagues and teams.
Save money by referring friends to DISH
One of the most straightforward apps out there, the Refer a Friend allows you to send family, coworkers, and (obviously) friends to DISH service for discounts. Use email, text, or a number of social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to send certificates to friends for $100 off DISH service. Best of all, the referrer gets $50 for each user who signs up.
DIRECTV and DISH app wrap-up
Now that we’ve taken a good look at the best DIRECTV and DISH apps, we have a pretty good sense of what each service has to offer. At least when it comes to iOS, DIRECTV has a slight edge with the number of apps available, though the main DISH apps do offer a very similar functionality. What do you think? Which apps best enhance your cable satellite television experience? Let us know in the comments!