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AT&T TV will be a tough sell in a world of endless streaming TV options

It also further complicates the lineup of AT&T’s existing digital video brands.

AT&T TV will be a tough sell in a world of endless streaming TV options
[Photo: Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash]
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AT&T has launched its newest video service brand, called AT&T TV, and it could be the beginning of the end for AT&T’s DirecTV offering. That’s because AT&T TV is like DirectTV in many ways: It allows you to watch more than 100 live TV channels, but whereas DirecTV requires you to have a satellite dish, AT&T TV only requires that you have an internet connection.

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AT&T TV also goes further than DirectTV. Not only can you watch hundreds of live TV channels, the service, which is housed in a set-top box much like the Roku or Apple TV, allows you to also access third-party streaming services such as Netflix and Disney Plus. AT&T TV’s remote also comes with Google Assistant built in, Chromecast support, and can even allow you to control smart home devices.

But with the introduction of AT&T TV on a nationwide scale (the service has been in testing for months), AT&T’s offerings get even more confusing. The Wall Street Journal has a rundown of all the video brands the company offers now, including U-verse, DirectTV, AT&T TV Now, AT&T WatchTV, the new AT&T TV, HBO Go, HBO Now, and the upcoming HBO Max streaming service.

So where does AT&T fit into that lineup? It’s essentially DirectTV for cord-cutters—people who want live TV, but don’t want to have a separate cable or satellite package. The service, while not being a non-live streaming video service in its own right, also aims to be the home of most of your non-live video streaming services, thanks to its support for subscription services like Netflix and Disney Plus. But while AT&T TV does offer a large array of live television channels and a single home for your other subscription services, one thing it doesn’t offer is a cure for subscription fatigue.

There are already endless streaming options for both live TV and on-demand content. Will another service really appeal to cord-cutters? That remains to be seen. But one thing that probably won’t help AT&T TV’s launch is its pricing structuring. For the first year, the service is $49.99 per month for the basic “Entertainment” package, but a two-year subscription is required—and the second year that $49 monthly fee jumps to $93 per month. At that price, it might be asking too much when its main draw is live TV, which people seem less and less interested in.

About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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