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AT&T is whittling down its confusing live TV streaming packages

AT&T TV Now is going away, but AT&T TV lives on.

AT&T is whittling down its confusing live TV streaming packages
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AT&T is winding down its AT&T TV Now live streaming service, and will push customers toward its similar-but-different AT&T TV service instead. While existing AT&T TV Now customers can keep using the service, it’s no longer available to new subscribers. The telco announced the move on its website, where it was first spotted by Phillip Swann.

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Despite having nearly identical names, AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV were quite different. The former, which launched in late 2016 as DirecTV Now, offered a big bundle of channels with no contracts at prices competitive with other live TV streaming services, such as YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and Sling TV. The latter has been more of a direct replacement for AT&T’s satellite service, with a proprietary streaming box and two-year contracts that included significant price hikes at the halfway point.

With the winding down of AT&T TV Now, the telco appears to be making some of AT&T TV’s more consumer-hostile elements optional. Customers can now subscribe to the service without a contract at a somewhat higher up-front price, with the base package starting at $70 per month. The proprietary streaming box is also optional, and while 20 hours of cloud DVR storage is included, an expansion to 500 hours is now a $10 per month add-on unless customers agree to a two-year contract.

It’s worth noting that because YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and Fubo TV have all dropped regional Fox Sports networks from their lineups, AT&T TV is the last remaining way for cord-cutters to get those channels. But with the changes AT&T has made, the package with regional sports now costs $85 per month, which is $5 per month more than the version of AT&T TV Now that included those channels.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story said AT&T’s service has become cheaper for regional sports. It is in fact more expensive, as AT&T TV’s base package does not include those channels.