The Future of DirecTV, DirecTV Now, Uverse TV & HBO

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Support Forum' started by NashGuy, May 27, 2019.

  1. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    In the interest of stirring up some hopefully lively conversion, I thought I'd post here my predictions for where the DirecTV satellite and DirecTV Now streaming services, along with Uverse TV and HBO, are headed this year. Please note that this is all my own personal speculation, albeit based on lots of publicly available data points and AT&T-provided statements over the past year or so. I'll come back later on this year and take my kicks for whatever predictions end up proving wrong. ;-)

    DirecTV Now --> AT&T TV (streaming TV)
    • This August, AT&T will unveil a "new" OTT streaming TV service called AT&T TV, which, as the name implies, will be their main flagship multichannel pay TV service. It will be very similar to the existing DirecTV Now service and will replace it. (This might happen any time between roughly July 1 and Sept 30, but I'm going to say August is the mostly likely time when AT&T TV debuts.)
    • AT&T TV will offer three main channel packages: Starter, Plus and Max. Plus and Max are currently already available through DirecTV Now, although those packages will contain some additional channels than they do now by the time they're offered through AT&T TV.
    • Starter will be an entirely new package priced at $30 and contain pretty much the same 35+ channels now available on AT&T WatchTV, but it will also include HBO. Note that this package does not include any local broadcast networks (e.g. ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) or all-sports channels (e.g. ESPN, FS1, NBCSN, etc.).
    • Plus and Max are more mainstream cable channel packages. Both include locals and HBO, while Max also includes Cinemax and some additional sports and entertainment channels, including RSNs. They will sell for their current regular prices of $50 and $70 (with no additional fees for broadcast or RSN channels). About a month ago, DirecTV Now began offering a $20 discount off of each for the first three months. Just this week, they changed that to $15 off for the first two months. By August, those deals will have lapsed. Plus and Max will still both include HBO (and Max will still include Cinemax too). They'll have all the same channels they currently do, but by that time, AT&T will also have added popular channels from A+E Networks (A&E, History, Lifetime), Discovery Networks (HGTV, Discovery, Food, Travel, ID), and AMC Networks (AMC, IFC, BBCAmerica) to Plus and Max. If PBS stations aren't included at the launch of AT&T TV, they'll be added at some point in the coming year as they generally become available on streaming cable TV services (vMVPDs).
    • All plans (with the possible exception of Starter) will come with 20 hours of cloud DVR storage, with recordings auto-deleting after 30 days. As currently on DirecTV Now, you'll be able to FF in all recordings from any channel, including past ads. (Ad-free premium channels still won't be recordable though, but that doesn't matter much since all their content is available on-demand.)
    • You can upgrade to 100 (or maybe 120) total hours of cloud DVR storage for an extra $10/mo. The auto-delete period will either be lengthened or entirely dropped for the upgraded cloud DVR.
    • Niche cable channels that aren't included in Starter, Plus and Max will be offered in the form of add-on packs that can be added to one of those base packages. Showtime, Starz, Cinemax and Epix will be offered as a la carte premium add-ons.
    • Like now with DirecTV Now, each subscription will allow 2 simultaneous steams on any combination of devices, whether in or out of home. Each additional simultaneous stream will cost an extra $5/mo. Streams can be accessed on AT&T's own box (see below) or through their app on other devices; how the stream is accessed makes no difference in terms of the simultaneous stream limit.
    • AT&T's optional 4K HDR Android TV-powered set-top-box and remote (code-named the "C71 Osprey" or "DirecTV Now Beta Box") will be sold directly to customers (likely for $60-80 each). The rumor is that AT&T wants to get out of the STB rental business. I definitely expect AT&T will give a lot of them away as promotional items to new subscribers. Perhaps AT&T TV subscribers who prepay for 2 months will get 1 box for free, or prepay for 4 months and get 2 boxes for free. AT&T Internet/Fiber subscribers who bundle in AT&T TV may get 2 free boxes without the need to prepay anything.
    • Rather than having long-term commitments and first-year reduced pricing (as has been the norm with DirecTV and possibly Uverse TV), AT&T TV will be sold at a "no-games-playing" everyday standard price with no up-front commitment. The free boxes will be the up-front bonus for certain customers rather than Visa gift cards. (I still expect folks getting AT&T Internet/Fiber, which does require a 1-year commitment, plus TV to score up-front Visa gift cards, though.)
    • Unless you're getting AT&T Internet/Fiber installed at the same time, the TV box will be a simple self-install option that is shipped to you by UPS/FedEx. (WAY cheaper for AT&T than a satellite TV installation!) For those who can't even connect a box to their TV and wifi, AT&T will send one of their in-home sales consultants to help you out (and also "helpfully" try to sell you other AT&T services while they're there).
    • Netflix and YouTube will come pre-loaded on the box, along with the Google Play app store, which by that time should offer the Amazon Prime Video app for Android TV. You can definitely expect the upcoming on-demand streaming service from AT&T's WarnerMedia (called HBO Max or HBO+) to be integrated into the box too. Like regular HBO, a subscription to HBO Max will be non-optionally included in Starter, Plus and Max for no additional cost. (See below for more info on HBO Max.)
    • Although it will be available to anyone with home broadband from any provider (e.g. Comcast, Verizon, Charter, etc.), bundling this service with AT&T Internet/Fiber will knock $10 off the combined price and also score you unlimited data from them, i.e. no data cap. (And running the service over AT&T's own network could only make it more reliable, one would think.)
    • Uverse TV -- which is only available to homes wired for AT&T Internet/Fiber -- will cease to be sold to new customers. Existing customers will have a long while (couple years) to transition over to the new service before AT&T pulls the plug on Uverse TV. In the meantime, Uverse TV will see no significant changes or improvements.
    • When AT&T TV debuts, DirecTV Now will stop allowing new customer sign-ups. AT&T TV will use an app that looks and functions nearly identically but will be a separate app. Existing DirecTV Now customers will be allowed to stay on their current plans at their current prices but will be contacted by email and encouraged to switch to AT&T TV, and may be automatically switched to that service when DirecTV Now shuts down by the end of 2019.

    DirecTV (satellite TV)

    • New DTV satellite subscribers will only be offered the same 3 channel packages as on the AT&T TV streaming service: Starter (no locals, no sports), Plus (no RSNs) and Max, all of which include HBO. (A DTV OTA tuner will be offered for Starter subscribers to buy, to integrate their free locals.)
    • Existing customers will be grandfathered into their current channel packages (Entertainment, Choice, Xtra, etc.) and can keep them indefinitely.
    • DirecTV satellite will continue to be sold for several years but AT&T will focus their marketing on rural areas that lack broadband service. Anyone with broadband will have the option to go with the streaming TV service and AT&T will price it cheaper overall to attract consumers in that direction.
    • Standard everyday pricing for Starter, Plus and Max will be $30/mo higher on DirecTV than on AT&T TV. Therefore Starter will cost $60, Plus will cost $80 and Max will cost $100.
    • Those prices include 4K/HD DVR service (at least 5 tuners, at least ~200 hours of HD storage) for 1 TV.
    • Thin-client boxes let additional TVs tap into whole-home DVR for an extra $7/mo for each box/TV.
    • Less-popular cable channels that aren't included in Starter, Plus and Max will be available through various add-on channel packs priced $5-10/mo.
    • Free professional installation will be offered only to new customers who sign a 24-month agreement. Doing so will also score the subscriber NFL Sunday Ticket for free for the 2019-20 season. (Availability of future seasons TBD.) Signing the agreement also gives the customer a price-lock guarantee on their everyday pricing through all 24 months.
    • DTV will no longer automatically offer big promotional giveaways, such as $200 Visa gift cards, for all new subscribers (although such promotions might be offered selectively to certain potential customers, mainly those in areas without broadband service).
    • There will no longer be discounts to new subscribers for bundling DTV satellite service with any other AT&T service. (Possible exception: customers who live at an address where AT&T Internet/Fiber is not available may get a discount for bundling DTV satellite with AT&T Wireless or AT&T DSL.)
    • Once customers complete their 24-month initial agreement term, they may be eligible for limited-term credits off the cost of monthly service as a retention tool, although I expect that to be used more sparingly than has been the case in the past.

    HBO
    • AT&T will unveil a new OTT streaming subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service this fall named HBO Max. This will be AT&T's attempt to create a broader, bigger SVOD service to compete directly against Netflix. HBO Max will be automatically a part of every cable channel package sold to new subscribers on AT&T TV and DirecTV. It will also be sold as a direct-to-consumer standalone service as well as distributed alongside regular HBO through all major cable TV systems.
    • The new HBO Max app will replace the existing HBO Go and HBO Now apps.
    • HBO Max will offer two (possibly three) paid subscription tiers. For $14-15, subscribers will get access to the traditional core HBO offering (all of it ad-free). Those who subscribe to just HBO through a cable provider will have access to that same content on-demand in the HBO Max app (i.e. the same stuff now offered in the HBO Go and HBO Now apps).
    • For $17-18, subscribers will get access to everything available from HBO Max. In addition to the core HBO content (all ad-free), they will get:
      • current and some past content from AT&T's basic cable channels including TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Boomerang, and CNN (docs/reality only, not news/talk). Examples include The Alienist, Animal Kingdom, The Last O.G., Search Party, Impractical Jokers, The 2000s, Tricky Dick, etc. Turner sports content will not be available.
      • current and past seasons of original series from the Cinemax and DC Universe services
      • older movies and TV series from the Warner Bros. vault (e.g. Friends, Big Bang Theory, Alice, Bugs Bunny & Looney Tunes, Harry Potter, Batman, Superman, Casablanca, etc.)
      • content licensed from outside WarnerMedia, including docs, lifestyle and kids' shows
      • new exclusive original content unavailable on any cable channel or other SVOD
    • The additional non-HBO/non-Cinemax content in HBO Max will contain limited targeted ads, except for theatrical movies and children's programming, which will always be ad-free. Subscribers may have the option to remove those ads for an additional fee.
    • Subscribing to the full HBO Max service will unlock 4K and 4K HDR versions of select content throughout the entire service, including various HBO original series. A core tier ($14-15) HBO subscription will only offer HD content.
    • Cinemax will continue to be available as an a la carte service sold through cable TV and streaming providers but since all of Cinemax's original programming and most (if not all) of its currently screening films will be included in the upper tier of HBO Max, subscriptions to Cinemax will substantially decline in the next few years.
    • HBO may kill some of their multiplex linear channels, such as HBO 2, HBO Signature, etc. The Plus and Max packages on DirecTV Now only include the three most distinct ones: HBO, HBO Family and HBO Latino. They want to encourage viewers to shift away from watching HBO as "channels" and toward HBO as an on-demand streaming service through the HBO Max app.

     
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  2. RobertSM

    RobertSM SatelliteGuys Family

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    If directvnow got renamed why wouldn’t uversetv also be renamed the same thing? Theyre more or less the same thing


    Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys
     
  3. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Uverse TV runs on a completely different (and now outdated) technological delivery platform than DirecTV Now. (Uverse TV is managed IPTV running on the old Ericsson Mediaroom platform while DirecTV Now is OTT TV running on a cloud-based streaming platform that AT&T engineered in-house specifically for it as the future of their entire video distribution system.)

    Uverse TV requires its own separate set of set-top boxes, which stopped being manufactured a couple years ago. Meanwhile, DirecTV Now has apps designed for lots of different devices that it can run on. It can also run on AT&T's own new set-top box that they're currently beta testing with it.

    And Uverse TV has its own set of channel packages that are based on old contracts that AT&T negotiated with the cable network owners.

    So in a lot of important ways, it's different.

    But Uverse TV and DirecTV Now (or "AT&T TV" as I predict it will become) do have an important similarity, which is that they're both delivered over internet connections. Once AT&T TV launches, that will be what AT&T wants to deliver to their own home internet customers instead of Uverse TV, as they do now.
     
  4. ScottChez

    ScottChez SatelliteGuys Pro

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    A very detailed plan. You must of talked to some insiders or those laid off.
    I am predicting that 80% of what you write will come true which is a big compliment. Very well thought out write up.
    Keep in mind that what someone knew say 3 months ago may change come production release day as Management might change their mind, hence the 80%
    Thank you.
     
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  5. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I suspect that Comcast's decision to replace Cinemax in certain TV packages with their own new on-demand movie service, Hitz, could have something to do with Cinemax getting absorbed into the new HBO Max streaming service later this year.

    Comcast replacing Cinemax with its own Hitz movie offer

    Here's the article (from AT&T's hometown of Dallas) that says the new HBO service is being called "HBO Max":

    https://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2019/05/13/at-t-s-warnermedia-plans-to-prioritize-streaming.html

    I suspect "Max" was used in the name not only to imply that the service offers the "maximum" HBO experience with a lot more content but also because it will offer both HBO and Cinemax content. Cinemax has been abbreviated as "Max" by the company for decades, as in their "MaxGo" streaming app for Cinemax on smartphones. (I think the abbreviation stated by TV Guide back in the '80s, which used only 3 letters to refer to any given network in their TV listings: SHO for Showtime, MAX for Cinemax, etc.)
     
  6. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Could they do a hybrid AT&T TV on a managed IPTV system that used the cloud DVR? However, not sure if their would still be limitations if they wanted to have the same 8 Mpbs PQ that I think DTV over satelliteTV uses and want that on FTTN it would be better on FTTH. If the internet went down you could still use IPTV. Or is OTT better than managed IPTV? They could have the same servers for DTV Now/AT&T TV and replace the Mediaroom ones with those. Unless they designed for OTT only?
     
  7. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Thanks. It's pretty much all based on close readings of all the info coming out AT&T over the past year or more, including transcripts of the CEO's statements on quarterly earnings calls, at industry conferences, etc., plus various published rumors/leaks, along with all of the public moves AT&T has made with DirecTV Now, the C71 box that's being beta tested with it, etc. And then I've taken all of that information, plus an examination of where things stand with the TV services and prices offered by their major competitors (Xfinity TV, DISH satellite, etc.) and pieced everything together in a logical way.

    The only "inside" sources I've had are a local AT&T installer I spoke with last year, plus various online posts that claim to be from current or laid-off AT&T employees. I take all of those sources with a grain of salt but, to the degree that they confirm other sources, I give them some credibility. For instance, I asked my AT&T Internet installer in spring of 2018 what was happening with Uverse TV. "Oh," he replied, "we're going to completely stop doing new installations of that later this year. It's getting phased out." And at that time, AT&T's CEO was publicly stating that their forthcoming streaming TV service -- what I'm calling AT&T TV (based on various trademarks that AT&T has registered over the past year or so) -- would debut in late 2018, matching the timeframe that my installer was saying when Uverse TV would stop being sold. But as fine-tuning and beta testing for AT&T TV (in its current form as DirecTV Now) has drug on, its introduction has gotten delayed a few times.

    But I think they're getting pretty close now. Although it's always possible that, instead of rolling out in August, it doesn't happen until this fall due to additional problems. But I tend to think that they're going to want the new AT&T TV and the new DirecTV packages in place well before the NFL regular season kicks off on Sept. 5, given that NFL Sunday Ticket will still be a big promotional item for DirecTV again this year (possibly for the last year). NFL Sunday Ticket might be offered on AT&T TV too. I think AT&T will want to get those changes made and out of the way before they turn their attention to what they're really excited about later in the fall, the introduction of HBO Max.

    The only real advantage that traditional managed IPTV (like Uverse TV) offers over regular OTT streaming (when OTT is completely done over a provider's own network) is that managed IPTV supports multicast video for popular channels. One multicast stream might serve a million simultaneous viewers of the same channel, which is way more efficient bandwidth-wise than running one million simultaneous unicast streams of the same channel to all those viewers.

    But the technology has existed for a few years now for an operator to seamlessly switch between unicast and multicast OTT streams when the video is totally distributed on their own network (as will be the case for AT&T TV viewed by AT&T Internet/Fiber customers). The operator needs to be able to control the internet gateways (modem/router) deployed in their customers' homes to make this work but that's not a problem for AT&T because all of their home broadband customers MUST use an AT&T-provided gateway. AT&T can deploy multicast-capable firmware on those gateways any time they want. And as more and more of their broadband customers use AT&T TV instead of Uverse TV, I expect that they will do that to more efficiently manage the amount of network bandwidth being taken up by AT&T TV streams.

    For a fuller technical discussion, see this article: Multicast ABR and low-latency streaming are the starting gun for migration to an all-HTTP video future | Videonet
     
  8. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Hmm, well some new information coming out today casts some amount of doubt about HBO Max being a multi-tiered product, as AT&T had originally stated it would be last fall.

    AT&T's SVoD Service to Cost More Than Disney+, Says Analyst | Light Reading

    Sounds like, at least when the new service launches this fall in beta, it will be one single tier (like Netflix), although an ad-supported element will be added in Q1 2020 when the service exits beta. (It also sounds like AT&T is still trying to formulate exactly WHAT this new service is going to look like, so plans are still in flux.)

    Perhaps standalone streaming subscribers will no longer have the option to get only the traditional core HBO service, as they can currently do via HBO Now, but instead will only be able to get the full HBO Max service with all the extra stuff it might offer (content from the Cinemax and Turner networks, Warner library content, etc.). So, in effect, HBO as an SVOD increases from $15 to a higher price ($17-18) but gets a lot of extra stuff added in. And if ads are not going to be introduced until next year, that could mean that ALL of that stuff will be ad-free. Or it could mean that it will only be ad-free for a few months, and then ads appear in some of it come 2020. Or perhaps the ad-supported element that arrives next year will be a whole separate, additional pool of lower-quality content that exists inside the app, free for anyone to use (like Tubi, Pluto TV, etc.). Free content might encourage cord-cutters to install the app (and watch ads) and then perhaps pay for the much larger pool of ad-free content.

    Given that the majority (I calculate at least 80%) of HBO subscribers in the US get it as an add-on to a multichannel cable TV package, I wonder what sort of access they will have to HBO Max. If the plan now is NOT to have a core HBO tier plus a separate "upgrade" non-HBO tier, then perhaps HBO cable TV subscribers will simply get access to the entire HBO Max app as a part of their subscription (the way they currently get access to HBO Go). But if that's the case, then surely HBO will seek a slightly higher wholesale rate per subscriber from their cable distribution partners. Maybe they could do this by insisting that HBO can no longer be sold alone by their cable partners but instead must be bundled with Cinemax (and vice versa). AT&T/Warner might suggest a combined retail price for the two services at $17-18 (i.e. the same as they charge for HBO Max as a standalone SVOD), although the cable companies (as now) will be free to set their own prices higher (but if they price the HBO+Cinemax combo too high, customers would simply cancel and instead sign up directly to the HBO Max SVOD for a few bucks less).

    I think the game plan here for AT&T is to essentially shrink the profit margins that their cable TV partners are making on HBO and Cinemax, which are currently close to 50% based on what I've read. (The average wholesale rate per cable subscriber is about $7.65 for HBO per one industry analyst and, I am guessing, about $5.00 for Cinemax.) So with HBO Max, AT&T's goal would be to make just as much profit on the average subscriber while driving down the profit margin for their distributors (from about 50% to about 30%, which I think is about the profit margin that digital distributors like Prime Video Channels and Apple TV Channels get for HBO and Cinemax). This would allow the total price paid by subscribers to be lower (versus what subscribers have historically paid for HBO + Cinemax combined). Lower retail prices will lead to more subscribers, and therefore greater profits for AT&T.
     
    #8 NashGuy, May 29, 2019
    Last edited: May 29, 2019
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  9. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Another thought I had about the possible future rollout of "AT&T TV": if it does include the Starter tier that I envision (offering the same set of live channels as AT&T WatchTV, except with HBO too), perhaps that tier will completely replace Watch TV, which would be killed. (I don't think it has many active users anyway.)

    The main reason AT&T seems to keep Watch TV around is as a freebie ($15 value) to offer to their premium AT&T Wireless Unlimited & More customers. In addition to free Watch TV, they also give free HBO, Showtime, Starz or another premium service ($9-15 value) to their AT&T Wireless Unlimited & More Premium customers. I could see them replacing that offer with a free subscription to the AT&T TV Starter tier (which would include HBO), or a $30 discount on the Plus or Max tier instead. Unlimited & More customers would be given a $15 discount off of any AT&T TV plan.

    AT&T has way too many different TV services right now. Would make a lot of sense to me to use AT&T TV to replace DirecTV Now, Uverse TV and Watch TV, leaving DirecTV (satellite) as the only other ongoing service besides AT&T TV being sold to new customers.
     
  10. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    My thoughts exactly. Just get it down to DTV and AT&T TV
     
    #10 CSM, May 30, 2019
    Last edited: May 30, 2019
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  11. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    You assume that companies view simplicity of product lineup as an advantage. You must not have shopped for toothpaste for a while. There's a reason they try and fill every niche with products that seem to have massive overlap with one another. They've never talked about i.e. the 'Directv via IP' offering replacing Directv Now, or the AT&T Watch product being a short term offering that will go away once they filled out their streaming portfolio.
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Oh, I admit, it's speculation on my part. I'll say this: having worked professionally in marketing communications, I believe there's an advantage to having a simpler, streamlined product line-up because it's easier for consumers to understand their options, which ones are targeted for which use-cases, etc. I don't think TV service is quite the same thing as packaged consumer goods like toothpaste (yes, Crest offers a dizzying array of choices). And I don't see any of AT&T's competitors with quite as convoluted a line-up of competing TV service options either; AT&T is an outlier. Perhaps AT&T's marketing department thinks that complexity and consumer confusion is somehow a good thing but I would disagree (and so would countless online comments from consumers I've read over the past year).

    Some of my predictions are based on specific statements made by AT&T execs. Others are simply speculation. Predicting that AT&T TV (i.e. "DirecTV via IP") will replace both DirecTV Now and Watch TV fall into the latter category.

    I did used to think that the forthcoming C71 Osprey-based "DTV-via-IP" service would exist separately from DTV Now. The former would be for non-cord-cutters, a streaming replacement for satellite and Uverse TV, with more expensive, fuller channel packages that require use of AT&T's own box; DTV Now would continue to be for budget-conscious cord-cutters who want skinnier packages accessed via apps on their own devices. But as I've thought more about that recently, the logic just seems to collapse, particularly in light of what Comcast TV is now doing: making their TV boxes optional. Subscribers can pay $5/mo per Comcast TV box or instead just use the Comcast streaming app for free.

    I also don't think that AT&T wants to maintain separate sets of contracts for separate sets of channel packages going forward either. If you've paid attention to the CEO's comments over the past year, he's hinted that he wants to thin out and restructure channel packages across the board. Which is why the new Plus and Max packages are showing up on DTV satellite too.

    OK, so let's assume it's likely that DTV-via-IP and DTV Now will have the same channel packages (and, of course, the same UI and same streaming delivery platform). What exactly would differentiate them? The former requires use of the C71 but the latter doesn't? Why not just offer the option to go either way under the same brand, as Comcast is now doing? Maybe DTV-via-IP would come with a spacious cloud DVR while DTV Now would only offer the current 20 hours of storage. But, again, why not do what Comcast TV is doing: offer 20 hours of cloud DVR for free and an upgraded cloud DVR for an extra $10. It's been rumored for over a year that DTV Now has plans to offer an extra 100 hours of cloud DVR storage for $10 extra.

    At this point, it just doesn't make any sense to me that these two things, DTV-via-IP and DTV Now, will actually be two different services. Which is why I think DTV Now will just get rebranded and relaunched as AT&T TV, a "new" flagship service that offers the optional C71 box. The marketing message around AT&T TV will be different than it has been for DTV Now but, for those cord-cutters still interested in DTV Now, they'll be served by AT&T TV too.
     
  13. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Why not just have AT&T TV if that’s what they call it as their only streaming service, except for the upcoming Warnermedia service and have it start at $15 and go to $90? The $15 package would be the WatchTV channels and get rid of the WatchTV name. I agree with NashGuy why pay for separate channel contracts across different services wouldn’t that be expensive? They can’t have the same channel contract under different names or can they?
     
  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I think that the contracts allow them to have the same channel packages sold under different brands. For instance, they used the original satellite packages from DTV satellite on DTV Now to begin with, they just changed the package names (Entertainment became Live a Little, etc.). And the new Plus and Max packages on DTV Now are also available on DTV satellite now.

    But there is an expense in terms of maintaining separate brands, separate advertising, etc. And I don't know what the point would be of having AT&T TV ("DTV-over-IP") separate from DTV Now or even Watch TV. As you say, just put all the possible packages, from cheapest to most expensive, together under the same brand. Offer the full range of feature options -- 20 hour cloud DVR vs. 120 hour cloud DVR, 2 streams vs. additional streams, premium a la carte add-ons, etc. -- all under the same brand. Let the customer decide how much he wants to pay and how "skinny" or "fat" he wants his service to be.

    It makes sense for DirecTV to retain its own separate brand because of the history of the name and the fact that it's a completely different delivery system (DBS) with different pricing and features.

    But it seems to me that all the streaming multichannel services should just be consolidated under the AT&T TV brand. No one will confuse that name with satellite TV. It immediately communicates to consumers that it's AT&T's main TV service. It matches the AT&T Fiber and AT&T Internet branding conventions and therefore suggests that it's the "matching" TV service that goes with them. And it allows them to leave behind the baggage of the DTV Now brand (and the near-anonymity of the Watch TV brand).
     
  15. DS0816

    DS0816 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I think U–verse will eventually die out to be replaced by DirecTV. AT&T has a problem with distribution of sufficient speed levels everywhere it has a footprint for Internet. Some areas have become quite good. Others are lacking by comparison to other providers. During the 2020s, it will need to correct that. No matter how much we can discuss its platform for television, where it is at is Internet [broadband; high speeds].

    As for television, something which does not get mentioned enough (because, for some, it is an uncomfortable topic) is this: A lot of people dropped cable-television subscriptions because of prices, yes, but also because their personal money, vs. the monthly prices for cable-television programming, made subscribing no longer worth it to them.

    I will be interested to see whether there will be a notable dropoff of individual channels, ones which are parts of multiscreens of particular parent programmers. Like with premium-movie programmers. With Discovery Channel. With ESPN. Not necessary all those, but there are more to more consider, and I think it isn’t difficult to understand what I am getting at. These individual channels all cost, for carriage, and for subscribers with a cable or satellite company. To be on a trajectory toward streaming—with content not only from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, but also with the future arrivals of Disney and Apple and others—may render the traditional linear channel lineups, the multiscreens of redundancy, not sustainable in a few years from now.
     
    NashGuy, whitewolf8214 and larry55 like this.
  16. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    New comments today at an industry conference by AT&T's CEO of Communications, John Donovan, about their forthcoming streaming TV service (what I predict will be branded as "AT&T TV"):

    Interviewer: But you've been excited about the thin client DIRECTV service that's coming later this year. You've changed packaging on DIRECTV NOW and changed pricing. Anything you want to share with us in terms of the streaming strategy?

    Donovan: Well, the streaming strategy, the -- whether you call it an OTT or IPTV or thin client, we're going to transform our product. And that's -- we've been saying that's going to be due the back half of the year, it's going to be out in the third quarter, and it's the most -- it's the thing -- it's the consumer product I'm most excited about since the iPhone. It radically reshapes what your concept of television is.

    And so we're going to -- we think we're going to really be disruptive in the market on features and capability...
    Full transcript here.

    So he's confirming that it's on track to debut some time in the third quarter (July to Sept.) timeframe, as I predicted.
     
  17. slice1900

    slice1900 SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Last year at this time they were saying it would be out before the end of the year, then it was early second quarter, now it is Q3. It is not "on track" when it has been delayed twice, and at this rate I wouldn't be surprised to see it delayed again.
     
  18. CSM

    CSM SatelliteGuys Pro

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    One thing he said it would launch in beta so maybe that is why it will still launch in Q3?
     
  19. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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    If you want to parse semantics, fine. I didn't say that the project is "on track to launch in the originally planned timeframe." I said "on track to debut some time in Q3," by which I mean that "based on where things stand with the project today, it is currently projected to launch in Q3."

    Yes, the projected launch date has slipped multiple times -- from "fall 2018" to "year-end 2018" to "spring 2019" and now to "Q3 2019". So, yes, it could certainly slip again. That said, all of those previously projected launch dates were issued further out than is the case this time. Q3 starts in just 24 days. Typically, the closer one gets to finalizing a project, the more confidence one has in projecting the finish date. We'll see...
     
  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

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