TV Answer Man, I was waiting all month for DIRECTV Stream to start up, thinking it would have a bunch of new features like 4K and the Sunday Ticket. But it looks like it’s no different except for the name? I’m an older guy so I remember that old song, Is That All There Is, and this is what DIRECTV Stream reminds me of. Is that all there is?! Well, is it?– Jerry, Toledo, Ohio.
Jerry, you are referring to the 1969 hit song, Is That All There Is?, by Peggy Lee, penned by the great songwriting team of Stoller and Lieber. But yesterday’s rechristening of AT&T TV as DIRECTV Stream apparently has many people wondering if that’s all there is.
I received several reader e-mails yesterday and this morning asking if DIRECTV Stream has the same features as DIRECTV, such as the NFL Sunday Ticket, 4K programming, and a 200-channel lineup that includes the NFL Network. But DIRECTV Stream is exactly the same as it was under the AT&T TV moniker. No Sunday Ticket. No 4K. No NFL Network. A smaller lineup of channels. And so on.
On the plus side, DIRECTV Stream does not require a two-year contract, as DIRECTV does. But that was already part of AT&T TV’s offering, too. So, again nothing different.
The reader e-mails suggested people were expecting something quite different, at least a few new features such as 4K. After all, rival live streamers YouTube TV and FuboTV now offer select sporting events in the new picture format. But DIRECTV Stream didn’t even add that. And it remains a mystery why AT&T hasn’t offered the Sunday Ticket on its live streaming service. (Note: It did in select markets in 2018 when AT&T TV was called DIRECTV Now, but hasn’t since.)
The DIRECTV Stream renaming, of course, comes from the new alliance between AT&T and the private equity firm, TPG. The two outfits have formed a new company for DIRECTV, which includes the satellite TV service, U-verse, and AT&T TV, now DIRECTV Stream. AT&T and TPG said earlier this month that AT&T TV would be renamed.
DIRECTV’s new management team, which includes former AT&T executive Bill Morrow as CEO, must believe that a mere name change is sufficient to generate interest in the live streaming service which has been losing subscribers over the last few quarters. (The relaunch was accompanied by an expensive ad campaign featuring tennis great Serena Williams.)
But it seems to me, and at least some readers of this site, that yesterday was a lost opportunity to add a few features to truly ramp up the excitement.
Is that all there is? is an apt description here. But there’s another old saying that applies as well:
You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann