It will essentially be live cable delivered via the Internet
AT&T is hopping into the streaming television wars.
The new service, called DirecTV Now and scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, will let users stream live TV programming as well as shows on-demand across a variety of Internet-enabled devices. It will be accessible via an app and won’t require satellites, cable boxes or annual contracts.
Customers won’t need a broadband subscription from AT&T to access DirecTV Now. Details such as channels offered and pricing are scarce, but an AT&T spokesperson told CNN that the collection of channels would look similar to what customers already receive with traditional cable packages.
That means DirecTV Now will be less like Sling TV, which offers a skinny bundle of a couple dozen channels for $20 per month, and more like PlayStation Vue, Sony’s online pay-TV service that has several dozen channels and starts at $50 per month.
In addition to DirecTV Now, AT&T will also roll out DirecTV Mobile, a cheaper streaming service geared toward smartphones, and DirecTV Preview, a free ad-supported video service.
“These new video subscription models reflect the flexible content choices, viewing options and simple, transparent pricing that consumers want,” said John Stankey, CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group. “These offers will provide a broad range of customers with greater freedom and choice to watch, binge and even buy premium content, regardless of how and where they enjoy their entertainment.”
AT&T is joining a crowded market of Internet TV providers that includes Dish’s Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Verizon’s new mobile streaming service Go90, as well as long-term players like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.