Call it “plausible.”
A leaked email has surfaced detailing the potential rollout of DIRECTV Now, DIRECTV’s streaming-only service. While this site does not link to or quote from leaked information, it should be fairly easy for you to find if you look.
What can be said for sure is that the service is due to launch in November, according to a statement from AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, quoted by engadget and other sources. Mr. Stephenson goes on to say that the service will be priced below rival services, which represents a change from previous statements about the service.
DIRECTV Now is the top tier of three DIRECTV streaming products, and potentially the only one with a price tag. It’s expected to be similar to DIRECTV’s current app for smartphones and tablets, although it will also offer an app for streaming devices. Pricing is definitely going to be key here, and since the product was announced we here at the Solid Signal Blog have believed that it would be priced similarly to off-contract price of the lowest DIRECTV package, with similar channel selection.
That could be true. It could also be totally true that the service launches in November, not just because it was said yesterday but because it’s been said all along. We’ve always expected this product by the end of the year.
I’m still pretty bullish about this product but I think that right now, here in 2016, traditional pay-TV service will still be better. I think there will be more channel selection in the pay-TV package, at a similar price, and I think that there’s still a lot of life left in the “DVR” idea where you record what you want instead of relying on On-Demand programs that could expire. Still, if you’re living somewhere that doesn’t let you get satellite TV, it’s going to be a better option than cable for you and it’s going to match your mobile lifestyle. This is a way for AT&T to capture an entire generation of people who don’t really “buy in” to the traditional television model, and potentially provide a pathway to traditional television viewing that should keep that model live for a few more decades.
Why is traditional pay-TV better? Simply put, it’s designed to be better. Streaming is designed to be highly personal, but it puts a huge strain on the internet service provider. If you’re streaming at the same time as all your neighbors, chances are that none of you is really getting great quality. On the other hand, pay-TV is designed from the ground up to accommodate everyone with no speed issues, no buffering and no hiccups. In the future, bandwidth may be cheap and virtually unlimited, but today it isn’t.
But of course, we’re all speculating. I look forward to a chance to kick the tires on the real thing.