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DirecTV NFL Mobile: The most expensive free app in the world

David Winograd

DirecTV, which I love dearly and which supplies signal to eight screens in my house, has just announced the NFL Mobile app [iTunes link] which doesn't go live until September 13th (although you can download it now). Once working, the app will let you watch live streams of all NFL Sunday Ticket football games, including the Red Zone channel. The Red Zone channel changes from game to game as the ball gets inside an opponent's 20 yard line while a narrator explains just what's going on.

The app also will display scores, statistics for players and teams, as well as video clips and highlights from each game. So far there has been no word as to whether video streaming will be available on 3G as well as Wi-Fi, but we'll know soon enough.

This is wonderful news for football fans who are already jonesing during pre-season, but it's not all hearts and flowers. For the privilege of using this free app, you need to plunk down $379.95 for programming. The NFL Season Ticket will run you $299.95 but that's not good enough to run the app. Additionally you'll need to toss in another $80 to buy the SuperFan package which gives you games in high-definition, stats and the Red Zone Channel, making the NFL Mobile app the most expensive free app in the world.

As I haven't seen the streaming yet, I can't comment on how good it might be, but I'm very encouraged due to the amazing implementation of the DirecTV Scheduling app [iTunes link], that Mel Martin covered upon its release.

I really love this app. It's much easier to use than the often arcane DirecTV web site for scheduling programs. Searching for programs is a snap. Just type in a few letters and all matches come right up. From there you can decide which receiver you would like to have record the show, set the recording, and even record a season pass which grabs every instance of the show according to rules you set up. Rules include recording only new shows, new and repeats, etc. It can also be set to 'record if possible' meaning that if shows are already set at that time they have precedence over your request, or to 'definitely record' which gives your newly searched show precedence over your record queue.

The only glitch I found isn't in the app, but most likely in the DirecTV system itself. If you have a DirecTV box running the TiVo OS, you cannot record season passes. My DirecTV 10-250 is one of these, but it's getting long in the tooth and doesn't record hi-definition shows from the MPEG-4 transponder in any event. More modern DirecTV OS machines like my DirecTV 20-700 will record season passes and anything else you can throw at it.

If you have DirecTV and an iPhone or iPod touch, you need to go and download the DirecTV app. With all the added functionality, you'll feel much better about paying your monthly bill.

Here are some pictures of both apps.

Gallery: DirecTV | 9 Photos

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