AT&T has set a November 28 launch event date for its DirecTV Now streaming TV service, which will give you 100+ channels for just $ 35 per month.
AT&T had previously said DirecTV Now would launch in November, but there had been speculation that it could be delayed due to either network deals, or issues with the FCC (which has expressed “serious concerns” about it).
Now we know that the launch event, at least, will sneak in under the wire, with the wide release likely to shortly follow.
AT&T is betting big on DirecTV Now, which the company reportedly believes will be its primary TV platform by 2020. DirecTV Now is a streaming TV service, meaning it will be delivered over the internet wherever you are — via your smart TV, mobile phone, tablet, and on.
To help push people toward streaming, AT&T plans to give away free Apple TVs to people who sign up for the service for three months, and Amazon Fire TV Sticks for one-month committments, according to Variety.
AT&T has also said the service will be “zero-rated” on AT&T’s network, meaning you can watch it on your mobile phone without it eating up your data, according to leaked documents viewed by Variety.
But at $ 35, it’s the price point that has shocked the industry. Some analysts have said the margins are likely to be tiny on the product, and even AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has admitted that they will be “thinner” than traditional pay-TV bundles.
But AT&T says one way it will improve the margins on DirecTV Now is by ditching legacy equipment like satellite dishes, and drastically decreasing its customer acquisition costs.
“This is a very, very low-cost customer acquisition product,” Stephenson said recently.
We still don’t know exactly which channels will be on DirecTV Now.
AT&T has already signed deals with HBO, Discovery, NBCUniversal, Turner, Viacom, Disney, AMC, Scripps, Starz, and more. So it seems as if all the big guns will be signed up for launch. But exactly which channels they are providing is still up in the air. (An ad for the service viewed by Business Insider showed that ESPN would be on it).
DirecTV Now will have a “72-hour catch-up window,” according to Variety, which will let you watch shows on-demand for three days after they air. But there may be limitations on this feature — ESPN isn’t on that catch-up list, for instance. DirecTV Now will also have an on-demand library of “up to 14,000 titles,” according to Variety.
For those who don’t want to start paying before testing it out, DirecTV Now will let you have a seven-day free trial, according to an ad viewed by Business Insider that has since been taken down.
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