AT&T TV Live Streaming Service Launches Nationwide With Set-Top Box and Two-Year Contract
AT&T today announced the nationwide launch of AT&T TV, which is a live TV streaming service that is available through a set-top box powered by Android TV (via Variety). This isn't the same thing as AT&T TV Now, the company's app-based live TV streaming service available on Apple TV and other devices.
After testing AT&T TV in 13 markets, the company is moving AT&T TV to the forefront of its TV business with the launch of the service this week across the United States. Simultaneously, DirecTV plans will no longer be actively marketed as AT&T plans to deemphasize the DirecTV branding moving forward. However, DirecTV plans will still be available to purchase.
The new service offers hundreds of live TV channels, 500 hours of cloud DVR storage, and 40,000 on-demand titles. With the box, you'll be able to watch Netflix, Disney Plus, YouTube, and HBO Max as well. The Google Play store will be supported, allowing you to further expand its usage with more than 5,000 apps.
Similar to Apple TV, the AT&T TV voice-enabled remote comes integrated with Google Assistant for controlling channels, volume, playback, smart home devices, and more. If you search for movies and TV, results will show options for both streaming content, as well as those available for rental and purchasing on Google Play Movies & TV.
AT&T TV works on any high-speed internet connection, and it can also be bundled with AT&T's 1-gigabit Internet plan. AT&T TV packages start at $49.99 per month for 12 months with a 24 month agreement when you buy the service standalone. According to the fine print on AT&T's website, the prices will be higher in the second year.
Specifically, this means that prices nearly double after the first 12 months with the service. The entry-level Entertainment plan has about 70 cable channels at $49.99/month for the first year, and from the 13th month onward it will run you $93/month. The Ultimate tier has more than 170 channels at $69.99/month for the first year, and then from the 13th month you'll pay $135/month.
"Our customers told us what they want from their TV service and we built AT&T TV around that,” said Thaddeus Arroyo, CEO of AT&T Consumer. “AT&T TV is live TV made easy and when you add AT&T TV to our amazing 1 gigabit AT&T Internet you can’t go wrong.”
There is also a $19.95 activation fee and prorated early-termination fees if you cancel before your two year contract is up. You do get the Android-powered box for free, but if you want to add more into your home you'll have to pay $120 per box.
Over-the-top streaming TV services have been facing numerous issues lately. AT&T rebranded DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now in 2019, and has been facing ongoing subscriber loss amid increased prices and poor service reliability. Meanwhile, Sony bowed out of the game for good and shut down PlayStation Vue in January.
Variety asked AT&T’s executive VP of broadband and video, Rasesh Patel, if the company is worried about customers' reactions to the high cost of AT&T TV once prices go up. According to Patel, the company feels confident about AT&T TV because of the "product experience" with the set-top box, which is "very unique."
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