After a long wait AT&T Inc.’s (NYSE:TC) DirectTV Now video streaming service has arrived and it means to compete. Whether it will remains to be seen. DirectTV Now features a limited-time promotion of a $35 per month bundle that includes 100 channels. The normal price of that package will be $60.
DirecTV Now isn’t the first online service to become available but it may soon become the best known – thanks to the firepower of its parent company – something others in the space for the most part do not have behind them.
A Foundation For The Future
There are four tiers broadcasting from more than 60 channels to more than 120. The service can be delivered over the Internet to Web browsers, mobile phones or streaming devices like Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ:AMZNC) Fire TV stick or Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AAPLC) Apple TV.
John Stankey, chief executive of AT&T’s entertainment group said, “This is the foundation of how we are going to do things in the future.” For now, at least, this does not mean the end of the company’s traditional satellite DirecTV service.
Get Grandfathered Now
The limited-time offer of 100 channels for $35 per month (regularly $60) comes with a unique grandfather provision. AT&T says anyone who signs up at the reduced rate will pay that price for the service for “as long as they are a customer.”
For another $5 per month customers can add Time Warner Inc.’s (NYSE:TWXC) HBO or Cinemax. Limitations, for now, include the absence of CBS Corp. (NYSE:CBSC) channels. The Walt Disney Co.’s (NYSE:DISC) ABC and Comcast Corp.’s (NASDAQ:CMCSAB) NBC are only streamed live in markets where the networks own the local stations.
Cheaper Options ExistDISH Network Corp.'s (NASDAQ:DISHB) Sling TV and Sony Corp.'s (NYSE:SNEC)
PlayStation Vue are available for from $20 to $65 per month. They are easy to order and cancel but have drawbacks. The biggest drawback for all steaming video is that customers can order the channels they want ‘a la carte.’
As a result, Sling has less than a million subscribers and Vue doesn’t have enough to break into the top 10 most popular online video services accord to Parks Associates.
DirecTV Now has some additional minuses. In addition to not airing CBS programming and only offering ABC and NBC is some markets, the new service has no DVR capability yet. It can only be run on two screens per household – for now and does not work with Roku.
Finally, although it comes from the home of the NFL Sunday Ticket, NFL games will not be available on the service unless they are shown in an area where traditional network broadcasts are available.