If you want to try satellite TV service but the thought of drilling dish-mounting holes in your roof is less than appealing, you'll soon have a new option: AT&T is launching a streaming DirecTV service later this year.
The move by AT&T, which acquired DirecTV last year, comes at a time when consumers have a lot more alternatives to traditional pay TV services. In addition to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, they can choose offerings from networks such as CBS All Access and premium channels, including HBO (HBO Now) and Showtime (Showtime Now), for streaming services untethered from pay TV subscriptions.
In fact, AT&T will offer three different streaming DirecTV services—all delivered nationally over the Internet. That means you don't need a dish. You simply use broadband service and a streaming device.
Two of the AT&T services—DirecTV Now and DirecTV Mobile—will be subscription-based. The third, DirectTV Preview, will operate on a free, ad-supported model. AT&T says it expects each DirecTV service to go live in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Targeted to cord-cutters and those looking for a more cable-like TV service, DirecTV Now will feature a wide range of content, including "much of what is available" from the DirecTV service today, the company says. Think on-demand and live programming from a variety of networks, plus premium add-on options such as HBO. Though no channel lineup has been announced, AT&T says there may be several DirecTV Now plans. It also expects to have local channels in the mix.
DirecTV Mobile will be a lower-price service available on smart phones across multiple carriers, not just those on AT&T's networks. The mobile DirecTV service will have premium videos and "made-for-digital content." The free ad-supported DirecTV Preview will have a more limited selection of content than DirecTV Now, including the company's own Audience channel.
AT&T said the new services will be available on a number of streaming devices and platforms, but didn't announce which ones will initially be supported. The company also reported that it will announce pricing for the new pay services closer to launch and it will continue to offer the traditional DirecTV and AT&T U-verse pay-TV services after the new ones debut.
However, the streaming DirecTV services will reportedly be priced lower than the regular AT&T and DirecTV services. As we recently noted, almost all traditional TV services have instituted price increases in 2016. If you're considering a streaming DirecTV service, there is one thing you should consider: Can you live without a DVR? That won't be included in any of the packages.
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