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.
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.