By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
DIRECTV this morning unveiled a new marketing strategy that includes a two-year price guarantee for both satellite and streaming customers, eliminates (or least downplays) the DIRECTV Stream brand for new customers, and introduces a new set-top called Gemini. The company will now refer to both its satellite service and its streaming service in marketing campaigns as DIRECTV rather than DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream.
Since our article was published this morning, we have received several reader e-mails with questions regarding how the new strategy will affect new and existing customers. We contacted DIRECTV and here are some answers:
Will DIRECTV’s satellite service and its streaming service (now referred to as DIRECTV Internet) have the same channel lineup?
No. But DIRECTV says it hopes to eventually align the new channel lineups or come very close to an alignment. The satellite edition currently has more channels than the Internet plan. For example, satellite customers get the NFL Network while streaming subs do not.
Will DIRECTV’s satellite service, or streaming service, offer fewer channels than before.
No. The lineups are the same.
Will DIRECTV’s satellite plan still come with a termination penalty if you cancel prior to the end of the two years?
Yes. Any satellite subscriber must pay a penalty of $20 a month for every month left in the two year agreement if he or she cancels early.
Will DIRECTV’s Internet service now have a termination penalty since there’s now a two-year price guarantee?
No. There will be no termination penalty. You can still cancel at any time.
Does DIRECTV’s Internet plan require a two-year agreement?
Will current DIRECTV Stream subscribers see any changes to their plans, pricing or interface?
The DIRECTV Stream logo will be removed if you get DIRECTV via its new set-top, called Gemini. Pricing for existing subscribers will remain the same.
What is the new pricing for new DIRECTV satellite and streaming customers?
The plans for both satellite and streaming will begin at $64.99 a month with a two-year price guarantee. The Choice plan for both services, which include regional sports networks, will be $84.99 a month while the Ultimate plan for both will be $109.99 and the Premier package will be $154.99.
What’s new with this DIRECTV Gemini set-top?
DIRECTV today announced that its Gemini set-top, which has been available in trial markets, is now available nationwide to both satellite and streaming customers. The wireless box allows customers to watch apps such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube without getting a similar device such as Roku or Fire TV. The Gemini includes a voice-activated remote control. While the Gemini is provided for free, there’s a $15 advanced receiver fee for both satellite and Internet customers who get one. See this page for more details. (Succession’s Brian Cox, aka Logan Roy, is featured in a new advertising campaign for the Gemini.)
Will new DIRECTV Internet customers be able to watch 4K programming from networks such as Fox and ESPN, just as DIRECTV satellite subscribers can?
No. DIRECTV’s satellite plan will continue to offer 4K programming, but not the streaming service. DIRECTV Stream has never offered programming in 4K. FuboTV and YouTube TV are the only live streamers that do.
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— Phillip Swann