AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming service launches on November 30th
Add another streaming television offering to the fray. AT&T officially unveiled DirecTV Now today, its attempt to take on Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue. It was first revealed way back in March, but now we’ve got the fully skinny: It’ll start at $35 with 60 channels, and it’ll launch on November 30th. As a promotion, early adopters will be able to lock in 100 channels for that price (that package will normally cost $60 a month). In comparison, Vue starts at $30 a month with around 45 channels, while Sling TV starts at $20 with fewer networks.
As for other packages, you can get 80 channels for $50 a month and more than 120 for $70 a month. You’ll be able to view the service on the Apple TV, Fire TV devices, iOS, Android, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari. As you’d expect, there’s also Chromecast support on Android, LeeCo and Vizio TVs (iOS Chromecast users will have to wait until next year). Surprisingly, there’s no Roku support yet, though AT&T says that’s coming in 2017.
Despite having most of the major channels aboard, AT&T is still working “actively” to bring CBS and Showtime onto the service. There’s also no integration with NFL Sunday Ticket yet — sorry, football fans.
To make the service even more tempting, AT&T is offering several bundles. You’ll get an Apple TV for pre-paying for three months of DirecTV Now, or an Amazon Fire TV stick (with Alexa voice remote) if pay a month in advance. You’ll also get up to one year of DirecTV Now service with the purchase of some LeEco TV models.
In many ways, DirecTV Now is a new move for AT&T. It’s the company’s first mobile-first entertainment service, and it’s also the first time they have control of the “full stack” of the experience, according to AT&T Entertainment CEO John Stankey. He describes it as an even bigger undertaking than the launch of AT&T’s UVerse TV service a decade ago.
So what makes this service different than the rest? Enrique Rodrigeuz, AT&T Entertainment’s CTO, claims there’s more of a focus on personalization. The service will learn more about you as you use it, and hopefully highlight better recommendations. Based on a brief demonstration, it also seems to load content a bit faster than Sling or Vue (though that could just be a very speedy demo setup).