Joining Dish Network, Verizon and Comcast with online over the top streaming packages will be DirecTV. Owner AT&T has announced DirecTV packages will be available with a satellite dish later this year. One big difference between this and the other online services is that the main service will not be a “skinny” bundle, but similar to what is being offered to the satellite subscribers.
Calling it “DirecTV Now,” it will allow subscribers to watch live TV, log into channel websites to watch their programming online and watch shows on their smartphones. The key is that the service will be available to anyone and they won’t have to be a subscriber to AT&T’s broadband service nor DirecTV to pick it up.
There will be three different packages that will available to potential subscribers:
The “DirecTV Now” bundle will be oriented toward live scheduled programming, the same way existing TV on-screen guides work.
But one of the other bundles, “DirecTV Mobile,” will be oriented toward on-demand programming, more like Netflix and Hulu, which is a big shift for the industry.
This lower-cost plan will be just for smart phones, while “DirecTV Now” will work on big-screen TVs too.
A third offering, “DirecTV Preview,” won’t require a monthly subscription at all. It will be a free app with a smaller selection of shows, perhaps intended to persuade people to pay for the bigger bundles.
Another key to the new services is that no contracts will be required nor extra equipment such as satellite or settop boxes. And the major cable channels will be made available as part of the DirecTV Now bundle. Expect ESPN to be part of this and a sports tier that will be added as well. There’s no word if NFL Sunday Ticket will be part of the DirecTV Now bundle.
The service is expected to launch in the 4th quarter of this year.