Great question. You can watch DIRECTV programming on your laptop and you can use a HDMI cord to connect to your TV. All you have to do is extend the screeen to the TV via the laptop settings. Each computer is different so you may need to look up how to do it.
You can find information here on how to log into DIRECTV Everywhere.
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I finally got my PC to play a program after many, many, many, attempts over the past year or so. For some reason I tried Google Chrome for my browser (again), and I was successful. Hooray!
With our dish being disabled with snow for days at a time, this will be handy this winter. My HDMI cable plugs into the TV and PC, and it works as advertised. (Note that local programs are not available, and the channel selection is limited.)