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DirecTV Now adds live CBS stations to woo cable cord cutters

Just in time for NFL football, the $35 per month streaming TV service closes a Big Bang-sized hole in its channel lineup.

DirecTV now is adding CBS to its lineup.
Screenshot by David Katzmaier/CNET

When AT&T's DirecTV Now live TV streaming service first launched last November, one of the biggest complaints in CNET's review was "No CBS." That's about to change.

DirecTV Now will soon launch CBS stations in 14 major US markets nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. CBS shows will also be available on-demand nationwide. (CBS is the parent company of CNET). 

The timing of the launch coincides with the coming NFL season. CBS will air its first regular season game on September 10. Reached for comment, a DirecTV representative could not confirm that the stations would launch in time for the game, only that they'd be avalable "in the coming weeks."

In addition to the primary CBS channels, DirecTV Now will also carry CBS-owned networks including CBS Sports Network, Pop and The CW (the final of which is co-owned by CBS and Warner Bros. Entertainment). It will also offer Showtime as an add-on for $8 per month. 

DirecTV Now is aimed at cord cutters looking to ditch traditional cable and satellite TV, and offers numerous live channels starting at $35 per month. Like competitors PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV (which also offer CBS stations), it streams over the internet, doesn't require a contract and users can cancel anytime. The same goes for CBS' stand-alone CBS All Access service, which starts at $6 per month. Meanwhile, Dish Network's Sling TV becomes the only one of the "big five" streaming services not offering CBS networks.

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One of the big battles between these services is over these local TV channels. Our last count had DirecTV Now trailing Vue and Hulu in local channel availability, mainly on the strength of their local CBS offerings. DirecTV Now is moving aggressively, however, and says it it plans this fall "to launch at least 30 additional ABC, FOX and NBC affiliates. This will bring our total to over 170 live local channels available across more than 80 metro areas." If that claim is accurate, it would put DirecTV Now in the local channel lead. (Note, however, that local channel availability varies widely by metropolitan area.)

In addition to bulking up its channel count, DirecTV Now will soon launch a cloud DVR and, in 2018, 4K streaming

Here's the full list of the 14 initial markets where DirecTV Now will offer live CBS stations:

  • New York
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
  • Boston
  • Detroit
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
  • Denver
  • Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
  • Pittsburgh
  • Baltimore