DIRECTV and DIRECT NOW Streaming Merger Complete?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Support Forum' started by schneid, Jun 4, 2018.

  1. schneid

    schneid Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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  2. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Family

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    It's certain believable that content streamed to the DirecTV mobile app (a free add-on for satellite subscribers) and content streamed to the DirecTV Now app (a separate paid service) both come from the same back-end streaming platform/servers. AT&T has been building a new cloud-based streaming video platform for awhile and it will ultimately power all of their video services -- or at least all the portions of their video services that are internet-based; I'm not sure how that platform could feed the transmission of live channels through their satellite TV system. AT&T rolled out an updated version of their DirecTV Now app less than a month ago and that new app uses this new streaming platform. AT&T has stated that their mobile app for satellite subscribers will also be powered by that platform in 2018, so perhaps that's already come to pass. Additionally, AT&T has stated that they will launch yet another streaming TV service late this year but it will be more upscale and expensive than DirecTV Now. This forthcoming service will be more like regular satellite-based DirecTV, with its own STB and full channel packages, except it will be streamed over the internet. And it too will be powered by the same new video platform that powers DirecTV Now.

    Beyond that, AT&T has stated that the look of the UI that debuted with the new DirecTV Now app will eventually also be used across all their other services. It should soon be adopted in an updated version of the mobile app for satellite customers. Then you'll see it on the STBs that will come with the new streaming service that debuts late this year. And eventually, AT&T said, it will even show up on the STBs used with satellite-based DirecTV.
     
  3. schneid

    schneid Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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    So there may be an HS27 in the works.
     
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  4. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Family

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    It would appear that AT&T has plans to roll out a next-gen satellite home server, model HS27. That model is referenced in the user manual for the C71, an upcoming thin-client (no hard drive) Android TV-powered STB that would appear to be the successor to the current C61 Genie Mini (which of course works in conjunction with the HS17 home server). My theory is that the C71 will be a dual-purpose box. It can stand alone and connect to the internet for subscribers who get the forthcoming streaming version of DirecTV or it can be used in conjunction with the HS27 for those subscribers who get DirecTV via satellite. Either way, it will have access to the Google Play app store so users can install popular apps like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, etc.

    You can read about the C71, and click through to its listing at the FCC (where the user manual is available) here:
    DirecTV to Launch Android TV-Based OTT Set-Top Box (EXCLUSIVE)
     
  5. Jimbo

    Jimbo SatelliteGuys Master
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    Sounds like MASS confusion with all those different platforms running at the same time.
     
  6. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Don't forget the ultra skinny $15/month ad supported product they talked about also. It sounds like AT&T wants to cover all possible product segments, since no one really knows where streaming is going in the future. So they have will have that linear style "satellite via IP" product coming later this fall, and that ultra skinny product alongside Directv Now, and possibly some sort of private network version like Uverse TV and let the market decide which products consumers want. So yeah, five different products would be mass confusion, especially when you call CSRs that are tasked with supporting all five and get confused about the capabilities / limitations of each...
     
  7. Jimbo

    Jimbo SatelliteGuys Master
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    And you know as well as I do that If they decide what IS working and whats not and get rid of the ones that are not,, there will be Subs complaining loudly how att took away thier shows and ability to watch TV.
    You know they will eventually pare this down to something reasonable.
     
  8. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Would they still need DTV using managed IPTV if they had it on unmanaged IPTV? Could they have DTV's PQ and do 4k over managed IPTV?
     
  9. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    You'd think so, but it doesn't cost them any more to deliver since it uses the same infrastructure so who knows. If they feel they want to capture as many customers as possible they might want to sell basically the same thing in multiple ways. Sort of like how Colgate and Crest sell toothpaste - its confusing as hell but you can't say they don't have what you want as far as any possible combination of whitening, fresh breath, tartar control etc. :coco
     
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Family

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    You're exactly right. I can see no rational reason why Uverse TV (which is managed IPTV) would continue to exist once AT&T launches an OTT (i.e. "unmanaged IPTV") version of their flagship DirecTV product. Such a product would obviously occupy the same general spot in their product matrix as Uverse TV. If someone has Uverse TV, then they obviously already have broadband service, and from AT&T, no less. So there's zero reason why they couldn't use "OTT DirecTV". They'll have broadband and you know AT&T isn't going to enforce data caps against their own video traffic. Moreover, this new "OTT DirecTV" is going to be more advanced than Uverse TV, which hasn't been updated in quite some time and never will be again. Uverse TV doesn't offer 4K HDR but AT&T has already stated that the new OTT platform that will power both DirecTV Now AND the forthcoming "OTT DirecTV" will gain support for 4K HDR, along with a much larger VOD library, plus individual viewer profiles (like Netflix), all in 2018. AT&T has also stated that "OTT DirecTV" will cost less than satellite-based DirecTV, even though it will be a comparable service. So that should mean that "OTT DirecTV" will also cost at least a bit less than Uverse TV for similar channel packages. If I'm a Uverse TV customer, why wouldn't I want to switch (at least once I got through the backlog of shows on my DVR)?

    Beyond that, there would be additional costs for AT&T to continue to operate a separate Uverse TV service, with a different technology/delivery platform, different STBs, different channel packages to negotiate, etc. Why do that? No, they've made clear that they want to move everyone eventually over to their new cloud-based OTT video platform and Uverse TV will never be on that.

    So I tend to think that my AT&T installer knew what he was talking about back in March when he told me that they would stop installing Uverse TV for new customers at some point later this year. Although he did say that Uverse TV would continue on for awhile after that for existing customers, giving them time to transition over to another AT&T video service.
     
  11. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    The contracts for OTT vs managed IP traversing private networks only are different. For instance, maybe they can't offer NFLST on the OTT version of Directv coming later this year but perhaps could on an IPTV version, or pricing might be different etc.

    In an ideal world it doesn't matter, but once you get lawyers involved all bets are off :)
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Family

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    I don't think Uverse TV has ever offered NFL Sunday Ticket. It's always been a DirecTV (satellite) exclusive. Aside from that, Uverse TV has only ever offered all the usual local and cable channels that everyone else tends to carry. I'm sure AT&T will have sewn up contracts for pretty much all of those channels before launching their forthcoming OTT service. I know that AT&T's CEO has mentioned that he ultimately foresees this service as offering NFL ST, although who knows if that will be the case when it first launches (which will likely be pretty late in the upcoming season).

    The key thing I wonder about are all the locals, which are a big deal. Hard to imagine them rolling out a "premium" TV service that's essentially on the same level as DTV satellite and Uverse TV but without having the local ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and PBS affiliates. (Maybe they could get away with not having the CW and PBS affiliates, at least at first, if they incorporated their on-demand content into their platform.) I wonder how long AT&T has been trying to get all those affiliates on board? Maybe the new service will launch market-by-market only as all of the local affiliates in each market are on board. If that's the case, I would expect AT&T to try to get the new OTT service launched first in all of their landline markets (where Uverse TV already exists).

    I also wonder if we'll see AT&T include support for multicast linear channels in this new service if the STB is connected to AT&T broadband service. That would reduce their own network traffic and allow for faster channel changes. Shouldn't be that difficult for them to do.
     
  13. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    The problem with doing multicast even within AT&T's network is the consumer's home network. They'd have to supply networking equipment that's been properly configured, because most consumer routers won't work with multicast out of the box - or at all. Its especially difficult over wifi, but even wired support is pretty spotty. Which makes sense because it hasn't been used in a consumer setting so there is no incentive for OEMs making routers intended for the home to support it...
     
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  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Family

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    AT&T doesn't allow the use of consumer-owned retail routers. (That's a cable internet thing.) AT&T Internet (FTTN, which I have) and AT&T Fiber (FTTH) use the same few different models of gateways (combined modem/routers) provided by AT&T. These routers all already support Uverse TV (which uses some form of multicast -- compatible with their Ericsson Mediaroom platform, I suppose) for linear channels. (Oh, and BTW, Uverse TV has a few different models of wireless STBs, so they're obviously supporting multicast video over wifi.) I don't know if AT&T's gateways already support multicast-to-unicast conversion (as Comcast's own internet gateways do) but, even if they don't, it shouldn't be that hard for AT&T to push out firmware updates adding that feature. We subscribers have zero control over when and whether our AT&T gateways get updated by the mothership (apart from unplugging them completely).

    But honestly, all that may be beside the point for AT&T. I would imagine that the C71 STB (or whichever Android TV thin-client STB that AT&T uses for their forthcoming "streaming DirecTV" service) would have built-in native support for whatever multicast protocol that AT&T would use. And frankly, those are the endpoints that really matter. Sure, other devices in the home, such as smartphones and tablets with the DirecTV app, could be served via the multicast-to-unicast conversion feature within the AT&T gateway, should it exist. But, as I say, AT&T may just figure that relatively little in-home live linear channel viewing would actually happen on those devices anyway, so screw it, just serve up unicast streams for linear channels on those devices, the same way they would do for the C71 STB if it was connected to any ISP other than AT&T Internet/Fiber.
     
  15. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Could they do a combination of DTV over managed and unmanaged IPTV? Could they get the same PQ and sound quality that DTV has over SatelliteTV and use that for both? I know the UVerseTV servers couldn't do 4k but what if they used the DTV servers for 4k over managed and unmanaged IPTV and got rid of the UVerseTV servers at the broadcast center? Maybe even add more streams? I think the max on UVerseTV is 6 HD if you are in the fiber areas? They could still use the UVerse gateway for managed IPTV and have that connect to the C71KW but use the cloud DVR in the 22 states that have UVerseTV. Then use unmanaged IPTV everywhere else.
     
  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Family

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    The only aspect of managed IPTV that I could foresee AT&T still using on this new service would be some form of multicast for linear channels served to customers who are connected to the internet via AT&T. Everything else (cloud DVR and video on-demand) will be OTT unicast streams. And even if they do end up doing multicast for linear channels to their own broadband customers, it would probably somehow be integrated into their new streaming video platform. I doubt that they would continue to use any of the current Uverse TV IPTV platform, which is based on Ericsson Mediaroom. (So forget about those existing Uverse TV servers.)

    Some time ago, AT&T acquired Quickplay, a move which I'm sure fueled the development of their own new cloud-based OTT streaming platform. AT&T no longer has a need to license solutions from outside providers like Ericsson since they now have their own in-house platform. I would imagine that Quickplay brought them the tools they would need to provision multicast video. Quickplay's website specifically points out that they support LTE-Broadcast, which is a form of multicast video specialized for distribution via cellular 4G LTE networks. Perhaps we'll see AT&T deploy multicast streams of the most popular live linear channels not only to their home broadband customers but also via LTE-Broadcast to their AT&T Wireless customers who use their video apps (DirecTV, DirecTV Now, etc.).
     
  17. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Sorry, in my earlier post I should have said replace the Ericsson Media Room servers with DTV managed IPTV servers.
     
  18. schneid

    schneid Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro
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    I see a rumored HS27 with built in AM21 and clients and the DTV app.

    Sent from my XT1575 using the SatelliteGuys app!
     
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  19. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Sorry, again I should have added replace the Ericsson Media Room Servers with DTV managed IPTV ones at the broadcast centers.
     
  20. whitewolf8214

    whitewolf8214 SatelliteGuys Master
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    I hope but don’t think they will have a AM21 built in the new HS 27 imo
     

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