AT&T kills off the failed TV service formerly known as DirecTV Now

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Large AT&T logo appears outside the company's offices.
Zoom in / AT&T offices on November 10, 2020, in El Segundo, California.

AT&T kills off the online video service formerly known as DirecTV Now and offers a no-contract option for the newer online service to replace it.

AT&T DirecTV Now unveiled Late 2016, a year after AT&T bought the satellite company DirecTV. Prices originally started at $ 35 a month for the IPTV service, and had registered 1.86 million subscribers by the third quarter of 2018. But customers quickly fled in the name of AT&T. Repeatedly raise prices He cut back on promotional deals, leaving the service with only 683,000 subscribers at the end of the third quarter of 2020.

In 2019, AT&T changed the name From DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now, Which creates confusion between customers and Its employees Because the company simultaneously revealed another internet streaming service called AT&T TV.

AT&T TV was introduced as a more robust alternative to satellite television, and it even simulated cable and satellite through Imposing contracts and hidden fees and a significant increase in prices for the second year. From now on, AT&T TV Now will no longer be offered to new customers, and AT&T TV will be the leader in the AT&T Live TV business. “AT&T TV Now has merged with AT&T TV,” Service location It says in an update marked in a file News article by TV Answer Man yesterday.

For existing users, AT&T TV Now customer service and plans remain in effect “without any changes, an AT&T spokesperson told Ars.” We have no other price changes to announce at this time.

Twisted pricing, the AT&T tradition

Previously, AT&T TV was only available under contract. There is now an option without a contract that costs more in the first year but may be cheaper in the long run if customers use it for several years.

AT&T TV prices without contract $ 69.99 / month for 65 channels; $ 84.99 for 90 channels and 1 year of HBO Max; $ 94.99 for 130 channels and 1 year of HBO Max; And $ 139.99 for 140 channels and HBO Max with no one-year time limit. There is no regional sports network fee in these packages.

The First year rates for contract plans Ranging from $ 59.99 to $ 129.99, plus the Regional Sports Network fee of $ 8.49 for all packages except for the cheapest. Including the sports fee, first-year rates on most contract plans are $ 10 or so cheaper than equivalent no-contract options. The exception is the Premier package which contains 140 channels and HBO Max, which costs about $ 140 in the first year regardless of whether or not you have a contract.

Customers who opt for a two-year contract will receive a significant price increase in the second year, with base prices ranging from $ 93 to $ 183 per month plus sports fees. The second year prices can actually be more than that as it depends on the “then prevailing rate,” which AT&T can change. The contract option also requires an activation fee of $ 19.95 and an early termination fee of $ 15 for every month remaining in the contract.

Prices may change at any time

There is no automatic price increase after 12 months for the No Contract Option, but this does not guarantee that the prices will not go up. AT&T Precision Edition states that “Prices, channels, features and terms are subject to change and may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice”.

Another factor makes the no-contract price $ 10 higher if you want a ton of DVR cloud storage. While the contract option comes with 500 hours of DVR cloud storage, the option to not contract comes only after 20 hours unless you pay an additional $ 10 per month to upgrade to 500 hours. A contract option also comes with a AT&T TV is free, Which costs $ 5 a month for 24 months in a no-contract plan. Third-party streaming devices also work with the service, so there’s no need to purchase this.

There is no price change now for existing AT&T TV customers. Despite the new no-contract option, contracts for existing AT&T TV customers “remain in effect,” AT&T told Ars. As always with AT&T TV services, price levels are complex, so new customers should carefully examine them before signing up. This table provides a breakdown of the main differences between contract options and no contract:


Millions of customers displaced

For financial reporting purposes, AT&T TV is part of the AT&T service category called “Premium TV,” which also includes DirecTV satellite and U-verse cable television. AT&T has lost nearly 8 million such customers in the past few years, retreating from More than 25 million In early 2017 to 17.1 million At the end of September 2020.

There may be more customer losses on the way, such as AT&T To raise prices On DirecTV and U-verse as of Jan.17. AT&T is trying to sell DirecTV, but offers so far have valued the satellite provider at around A third of $ 49 billion AT&T paid off in 2015.

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