‘DirecTV Now’ Streaming Service Will Launch Nov. 30; Starting At $35 For 60 Channels

After months of teasing the eventual launch of DirecTV Now — a live-TV streaming service that doesn’t require a subscription to cable — AT&T has finally announced the important details of the product that will kick off on Nov. 30 at a price ranging from $35 for around 60 channels to $70 for more than 120 channels.

The service will launch in four different tiers: $35 (dubbed “Live a Little); $50 (80+ channels, “Just Right”); $60 (100+ channels, “Go Big”); and $70 (Gotta Have It). Each tier will allow users to have two simultaneous streams going at any given time.



At launch, the “Go Big” package will sell for only $35/month. AT&T claims that customers who take advantage of this promotion will be grandfathered in after the price increases. For subscribers willing to commit to multiple months, AT&T will offer free Apple TV streaming devices. A single month prepaid commitment can also get you an Amazon Fire TV streaming stick for plugging into your TV.


Below is the most detailed channel listing available from DirecTV Now. During our hands-on demo with the service, it became apparent that — contrary to things mentioned during the press conference — some channels are not available live on both mobile and on TV sets. For example, the local NBC affiliate in New York City — owned and operated by the network — is only currently available live on mobile. A company representative later confirmed to Consumerist that when the service launches, all channels will be available on mobile as well as TV.

That said, the company acknowledged the lack of CBS and Showtime, though AT&T says it is still working on a deal with the networks. Likewise, DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket package will not be included at launch. Again, AT&T says it is working with the league to sort out that issue.


DirecTV Now also doesn’t offer 4K streaming yet, nor will it offer cloud-based DVR access. Instead, users will have to rely on the on-demand library for missed shows and movies, or for the 72-hour rewind window that will be available on some channels. AT&T repeatedly made the point this afternoon that the service is software based and that this is “just the beginning.”

“People expect choice, flexibility… options,” explained AT&T exec John Stankey at the Monday afternoon press event in Manhattan.

He explained that, with more than half of AT&T customers now buying video content on screens other than their TVs, the company took a mobile-first approach to building the DirecTV Now platform.

“Every piece of content can be used on mobile and in the living room,” said Stankey.

Given that AT&T and DirecTV already have a combined pay-TV audience of more than 25 million in the U.S., why is the company selling a service that is more affordable and portable than its current big-ticket products?

According to Stankey, the notion is to “open up a whole new segment of the market” — meaning cord-cutters, cord-nevers, and people with bad credit who can’t currently get traditional pay-TV service.

The hope is to “establish a relationship using DirecTV Now” and then sell these customers on other AT&T products and services.

“We don’t just want them to have one AT&T product,” said Stankey, “We want them to have two.”

After all, DirecTV Now content won’t count against the mobile allotments of AT&T wireless subscribers. That means mobile viewers without AT&T won’t be seeing that benefit. Stankey deflected a question about this being a possible competitive advantage to AT&T, only noting that wireless plans and promotions seem to change every week.

During the press conference, AT&T mentioned that the increased ability to target advertisers has helped keep cost down, but when pressed by reporters on what data will be collected by AT&T, a company exec would only say that “our ability to personalize is significantly higher than it has been in the past.”

More to come after we get some hands-on with the service after the press conference.

And just for fun, here’s a random picture of Reese Witherspoon shilling for some exclusive thing I didn’t really catch because it didn’t seem terribly important.


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