Q. I have DIRECTV, but I was thinking of using the Internet to watch TV. I know AT&T just started HBO Max, right? But is there something like that for DIRECTV? I remember something called DIRECTV Now. Is that still in business? — Maria, Indianapolis.
Maria, you sound confused, but don’t despair. You are not alone. The explosion of similar-sounding streaming services has triggered confusion in everyone from financial analysts to industry journalists to just plain folks.
Let me try to explain what’s going on here.
Yes, there used to be a streaming service called DIRECTV Now. Launched in November 2016, AT&T (which owns DIRECTV) suggested it would be an eventual replacement for the satellite TV service.
Thanks to dirt-cheap prices (just $10 a month for the first three months!), DIRECTV Now took off like a rocket, so to speak, reaching nearly two million subscribers in less than two years.
However, AT&T realized that DIRECTV Now couldn’t be profitable with such low rates so it began to raising prices in early 2019. Consequently, subscriptions immediately began to decline and the service was under 800,000 at the end of the first quarter of this year.
AT&T also changed the name of DIRECTV Now to AT&T TV Now in August 2019.
So the answer to your question is that DIRECTV Now no longer exists as a brand, but the renamed service does. If you would like to subscribe, AT&T TV Now’s plans start at $55 a month. But note that you only get around 45 channels for that $55 a month, which is considerably less than any plan now offered by DIRECTV, the satellite service.
AT&T also now offers AT&T TV, another streaming service designed to be an alternative to DIRECTV. (AT&T TV went nationwide almost four months ago.) Plans for that service start at $49.99 a month. However, like DIRECTV, you must sign a two-year agreement which comes with early termination fees. Prices almost double in the second year of the deal as well, just like DIRECTV.
Also worth noting that AT&T TV does not have as many channels as DIRECTV, either, and both AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV do not offer the NFL Sunday Ticket.
Maria, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe. (And unconfused.)
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— Phillip Swann