AT&T has filed for a trademark for ‘AT&T TV’ with the U.S Patent & Trademark Office, a possible signal that the telco will eventually move away from its current TV brand names, DIRECTV and U-verse.

In its trademark application, the telco says AT&T TV would be used for “Set-top boxes; computer hardware and software used for the control of voice controlled set-top boxes; remote controls for set-top boxes.”

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The request, which was filed on March 6, 2018, does not elaborate on how or when the set-top boxes would be used.

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AT&T owns the traditional TV services, DIRECTV and U-verse, as well as the live streaming service, DIRECTV Now. Shortly after the company’s merger with DIRECTV was completed in 2015, DSL Reports wrote that an internal AT&T memo suggested the company would eventually phase out the DIRECTV and U-verse brands.

However, instead of dropping them, AT&T has expanded the DIRECTV brand by launching DIRECTV Now on November 30, 2016.

But it’s possible that AT&T is now preparing to put all TV services under the AT&T brand, or perhaps, just the two traditional TV brands. The trademark application refers to set-tops, which DIRECTV and U-verse use while DIRECTV Now does not.

While DIRECTV has established a strong brand over two decades, the satellite TV service is now losing subscribers due in part to the growing popularity of live streaming services such as DIRECTV Now.  AT&T may feel it’s near time to dump the DIRECTV brand name before it begins losing significant value.

Another scenario: AT&T has discussed launching yet another TV service over a proprietary Broadband line sometime this year. The AT&T TV name could be designated for that venture.

And one more possibility: AT&T could never use the AT&T TV name. Companies sometimes file trademark requests for names that they eventually never use.

— Phillip Swann
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