Fittingly, AT&T’s Entertainment Group used Cyber Monday to formally launch its new live and on-demand over-the-top streaming service, targeting an audience of mobile video watchers and consumers who for various reasons are not currently connected to pay-TV.
AT&T made the announcement Monday afternoon at a press event in New York City. The DirecTV Now service, which begins Wednesday, will offer four service tiers including what is expected to be its most popular level, called “Go Big.” That tier will be offered at an introductory special rate for a limited time of $35 a month for more than 100 channels.
The special price will stay in effect until the user cancels the service, although surcharges may be added over time as programmers raise fees, the company said.
Read more on the DirecTV Now service after the jump:
Regular rates for the four tiers include:
- “Live A Little” running $35 a month for 60-plus channels;
- “Just Right” offering 80+ channels for $50 a month;
- “Go Big” offering 100+ channels for $60 per month ($35 special introductory rate)
- “Gotta Have It” offering 120+ channels for $70 per month.
DirecTV Now allows customers to watch up to two streams simultaneously. Unfortunately, no cloud DVR service like those offered by PlayStation Vue and Sling TV will be available to start, but executives expect the functionality to emerge sometime next year.
The company has service carriage agreements with most of the major networks, although CBS and Showtime are not included at this time. Subscribers can also add-on premium services like HBO and Cinemax for $5 extra per month, each.
Live network programming will be available via ABC, Fox and NBC but with limitations. Live programming can be streamed in major markets where the networks own the local broadcast stations, but in other areas content must be streamed on demand the day after it airs.
Also, live NFL games will continue to be offered exclusively on Verizon smartphones and mobile devices but can be streamed on other devices.
DirecTV Now will compete with both cable and satellite TV services, and other OTT Live TV streaming services including DISH Network’s Sling TV, Sony PlayStation Vue, and upcoming services from Hulu and YouTube.
At launch on November 30th, DirecTV Now will be available in the U.S. through an app on iPhone, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and PC/Mac computers. Roku devices are slated to add the service in 2017.
DirecTV Now will not offer any special cable boxes or hardware, and will not require a long-term contracts, service commitments or credit checks.
To promote the service, several options are available to interested consumers. First, DirecTV Now will be available for a free 7-day trial for new customers. Then, consumers can sign up right away for the aforementioned limited time “Go Big” service offer of $35 for 100+ channels.
In addition, LeEco will offer the service on its 55-, 65- and 85-inch smart 4K Ultra HD television models including free subscription periods ranging up to 12 months, respectively, for the purchase of the TV set on LeMall.com.
AT&T has also reached some special programming additions including actress/director Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine programming coming in 2017 as well as content from pop superstar Taylor Swift.
AT&T said DirecTV Now is designed for a different segment of customers than its DirecTV satellite and U-verse services, which are designed to appeal to those who require more diverse programming options, easily accessible local channels or advanced services like 4K Ultra HDTV.
By Greg Tarr
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