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AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today confirmed that the company is planning to launch an online streaming video service, called DirecTV Now, sometime in the fourth quarter of 2016 (via CNET). Featuring "very, very aggressive price points," the service is said to include more than 100 premium channels and will come in app form on smartphones, tablets, and set-top boxes, although the specifics of the launch were kept to a minimum.

Stephenson remarked on the company's ability to introduce the service at a low price point, due to the fact that DirecTV Now won't require customer visits and installation, and "all of the ordering, customer service and billing is done digitally, reducing the need for more traditional tech support." The streaming service will also provide the option between one and two streams per household, with customers able to increase simultaneous streaming by paying a little more each month.

directv-now-800x507.jpg
Cord cutters have seen an explosion of options when it comes to streaming video, including services like Hulu, Netflix and HBO Go. But cobbling these services together is costly and complicated, which is why many consumers still stick with the easier package deal of a cable subscription.

AT&T believes it can offer something more attractive. The company plans to initially go after the 20 million households with no pay TV subscription, Stephenson said. When asked if DirecTV Now could threaten its traditional DirecTV business, Stephenson acknowledged some risk. But "that's a good sign," he said.

"If you don't see them threatening your legacy products, 99 percent of the time they don't go anywhere," he said. "It means you found something the market really wants."
Users will also be able to bundle DirecTV Now into the company's broadband and mobile services, and all of the various aspects of AT&T's offerings will work in the same ecosystem, so customers who stream DirecTV Now on their smartphone won't get hit with data overcharges.

AT&T has struck deals with Disney and HBO for its new streaming platform, but Stephenson noted that a few "holdouts" still remain, preventing DirecTV Now from a more immediate launch. Still, the CEO said the content deals process is around 90 percent done. By the time customers begin signing up for the service after its late-2016 launch, Stephenson thinks that "in 2017, this will be a big driver of video for us."

The amount of video streaming apps and services has been growing steadily over the past few years, and new companies consistently announce their presence in the space. This year, Hulu confirmed an upcoming live cable TV service, and premium channels like HBO, Showtime, and Starz each have their own content specific, monthly subscription services that range between $9 and $15. Apple was even attempting to get a similar $30-$40 web-based TV package launched last year, but failed deals with networks caused the company to put its plans on hold.

Article Link: AT&T to Target Cord Cutters With Late 2016 Launch of 'DirecTV Now' Streaming Video Service
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
681
614
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.
 

Bigsk8r

macrumors 6502
Nov 28, 2011
341
592
Austin, Texas
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.

Very true. However, if I can get a basic package of all the stuff that is dispersed across various platforms and apps now for under $25 a month, that and HBO Now would fill every need I have.
 
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driceman

macrumors 6502
Mar 13, 2012
313
185
Hopefully with better pricing, content, and UI than Sling.tv. Cancelled that after about 5 minutes.

I'd looked at Sling but haven't tried it yet. What was your experience with it?

If DirecTV gets me a bunch of good channels for an EXTREMELY reasonable price that doesn't require a cable package, doesn't require installation, and is 100% transparent about its pricing, I'd be happy to take a look. Forgive me for being skeptical, but AT&T/DirecTV don't really have a history of doing any of those things. I'll believe it when I see it.
 

convergent

macrumors 68040
May 6, 2008
3,032
3,081
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.

I think what we are seeing is that picking a choosing is ending up costing more than just getting the whole package. If they do truly pass the cost savings of the home based equipment and truck rolls along in this deal, I'll be ready to sign up. I already have AT&T GigaPower and Wireless, and if this could replace UVerse but provide a better "every device" experience, I'd be ready to give it a try. That, and getting Amazon to put their app on Apple TV and everything could be coming through Apple TV.
 
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TurboPGT!

Suspended
Sep 25, 2015
1,595
2,620
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.
To some degree yes, but:

1) unlike actual cable, this is something you'll be able to signup for/cancel anytime, whenever you want. Having a house guest and want to provide cable? No problem.

2) it remains to be seen what packages are offered at what prices.
 

ugahairydawgs

macrumors 68030
Jun 10, 2010
2,908
2,309
I'd looked at Sling but haven't tried it yet. What was your experience with it?

If DirecTV gets me a bunch of good channels for an EXTREMELY reasonable price that doesn't require a cable package, doesn't require installation, and is 100% transparent about its pricing, I'd be happy to take a look. Forgive me for being skeptical, but AT&T/DirecTV don't really have a history of doing any of those things. I'll believe it when I see it.

They have a 7 day free trial. It's worth a look. Coincidentally, I just decided against continuing my subscription with Sling on Monday after 6 days of the trial. The quality of the video was fine. The price was fine. There were a few hang ups that I just couldn't get over.

1. Most of the content my family would want to watch was on the orange tier, and all of that is confined to a single stream. So if I'm downstairs watching a football game on ESPN my wife cannot be upstairs watching a show simultaneously on HGTV.

2. No DVR capability

3. It still seems very hodge-podgy. Some channels you can rewind, some you can't. There's no real rhyme or reason about which ones can and cannot. Some local channels are available in some markets, some are not (I could personally only get Fox).

Would have saved my family about $60/month over what we have now with DirecTV if we went with Sling and took the orange, blue and sports package. But it just felt a little too half baked at the moment. Just doing a little research on the service it sounds like it has matured a good bit since it started last year, so hopefully it will continue to get better and it, or some other streaming option, will become good enough to get rid of the packaged cable/satellite subscriptions.
 
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Old Muley

macrumors 6502a
Jan 6, 2009
761
187
Titletown USA
AT&T is dropping the u-verse tv brand and shifting TV customers in this direction. The whole thing, of course, relies on AT&T broadband which has been dodgy at best. During the past 6 months we've had more connectivity issues than we can shake a stick at.
 

iSRS

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
462
255
Very true. However, if I can get a basic package of all the stuff that is dispersed across various platforms and apps now for under $25 a month, that and HBO Now would fill every need I have.

Bingo. Would be a good thing. I would pay for this if it is in the $20-$30/month range with live TV

All of this is likely to get ahead of the inevitable government intervention regarding boxes.

So while Apple may not be doing it on their own, just the threat of them doing so was likely enough to kick some of these companies in the pants.

Oh, and let me guess. The "holdouts" are Comcast (owners of NBC) and CBS?
 

avanpelt

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,945
3,851
My wife and I were just talking about ditching DirecTV yesterday because the fee ($90/month) is crazy considering we usually watch the same 10 or 15 channels in any given month. I would pay $20/month for the 10 or 15 channels that we care about vs. $90/month for those same 10 or 15 channels plus 140 more that we couldn't care less about.
 
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iSRS

macrumors 6502
Mar 2, 2010
462
255
AT&T is dropping the u-verse tv brand and shifting TV customers in this direction. The whole thing, of course, relies on AT&T broadband which has been dodgy at best. During the past 6 months we've had more connectivity issues than we can shake a stick at.

That is likely the start, but it offers us as consumers, when the market moves this way, something we likely don't have today. More choice. I can run this over my Comcast Xfinity Blast! Internet package.
 

Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
6,334
3,336
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.

Yea, but the idea of not having a technician come into my home, drill holes into my walls, and install an ugly, clunky set top box in my beautiful home theater setup sounds enticing already.

And did I read this correctly, but for AT&T wireless subscribers, we don't have to pay a penny for data usage of this new service? If so, that's even more attractive.

I'm very interested to see all the final details.
 

benlukes

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2014
134
161
Yeah ill stick to KODI. Free sports and all the movies and tv shows i want to watch commercial free.

Where do you get your content (free sports, movies, etc.)? Just looked into KODI and apparently they don't provide the content.
 

eldervovichka

macrumors regular
Jul 6, 2008
246
53
Queen Creek, AZ
Yea, but the idea of not having a technician come into my home, drill holes into my walls, and install an ugly, clunky set top box in my beautiful home theater setup sounds enticing already.

And did I read this correctly, but for AT&T wireless subscribers, we don't have to pay a penny for data usage of this new service? If so, that's even more attractive.

I'm very interested to see all the final details.
Me too if this is the case, I might be in!
 

Lord Hamsa

macrumors 6502a
Jul 16, 2013
681
614
I think what we are seeing is that picking a choosing is ending up costing more than just getting the whole package. If they do truly pass the cost savings of the home based equipment and truck rolls along in this deal, I'll be ready to sign up. I already have AT&T GigaPower and Wireless, and if this could replace UVerse but provide a better "every device" experience, I'd be ready to give it a try. That, and getting Amazon to put their app on Apple TV and everything could be coming through Apple TV.

All that is true (and I'm interested in this package, depending on price), but it's streaming television, not cord-cutting. Like I said, it's just a co-opting of terminology.
 

JosephAW

macrumors 603
May 14, 2012
5,116
6,471
I asked this question two years ago but they insisted I have to buy the box and antenna. My how things have changed.
I tried sling TV and it was okay but they blacked out all the football games. The dirty little secret is direct tv will do the same.
 

Stewie

macrumors 6502
Jan 6, 2004
493
320
Austin
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.

They problem though is price. If I have to sign up for 1/2 dozen separate services I want to view content on, now I am at the price of a basic cable package. Bundling might be the only way to get costs down.
 

UhFive

macrumors regular
Sep 17, 2013
167
129
Texas
They're co-opting the whole idea behind cord-cutting by making it all about the content delivery system.

The real point of cord cutting is the ability to pick and choose the content one wants available in their own house (or on the go on their mobile devices). Selling the traditional cable "package" in a different form isn't really addressing the real desires of cord-cutters.

^ This.
 
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joueboy

macrumors 68000
Jul 3, 2008
1,576
1,545
Well played AT&T, after forcing your millions of customers and joined data shared plan. They can make this service dirt cheap and make money from data usage. Evil company doing the usual thing. Bravo!
 

gorkt

macrumors 6502a
Sep 15, 2007
693
563
I'm intrigued, since I have AT&T phones, but so far most of these cord cutting packages sound good in theory but end up providing a fractured experience with a lot of gaps. Fios is brutally expensive, but the service is good and I get a complete set up without too much hassle. I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I am not optimistic this will be workable.
 

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
My wife and I were just talking about ditching DirecTV yesterday because the fee ($90/month) is crazy considering we usually watch the same 10 or 15 channels in any given month. I would pay $20/month for the 10 or 15 channels that we care about vs. $90/month for those same 10 or 15 channels plus 140 more that we couldn't care less about.
That's part of the problem, the misconception that all channels are created equal. From the content providers' view they are not, which is why you have CBS trying to get away with charging $10 a month for their one channel alone. Chances are the 10-15 channels you care about are higher value (ESPN, Disney, CBS) and you will never be offered a slim package that ala carte gives you the same for less cost.
 
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