“DIRECTV Now” to cost $50 for 100 channels?

There have been a number of reports this week claiming that DIRECTV is pricing its new streaming service at $50 per month. While that’s not an unreasonable guess, it’s just that — a guess. Apparently this all started with this article which quoted analysts saying what DIRECTV should price its service at, which got all blown out of proportion and eventually taken as fact.

Truth is, I suspect we’ll find out what DIRECTV Now’s all about, fairly soon, but anything up to this point is just a rumor.

Obviously, this service is a key part of AT&T’s future plans for success. Traditional pay-TV has hit a wall, as increasing content costs and aging infrastructure have meant that customer prices keep skyrocketing, with average pay-TV bills for out-of-promo-term customers topping $100 per month. That’s just unsustainable, and every provider is looking for ways to jump to a new generation of service.

For AT&T, it’s a TV service that exists solely over the internet, using AT&T’s wireless and wireline internet products. The company has been working hard to get LTE and fiber into more areas than ever, and as a result it’s well placed to offer a rich streaming service. Add to that the excellent contract work done by DIRECTV’s lawyers, and you have a recipe for runaway success.

But will it cost $50? Only time will tell.

And will it take the place of satellite-delivered DIRECTV service? There’s an easy answer, even though no one has specifically said it out loud: Of course not.

DIRECTV has over 20 million subscriber households watching satellite TV and they’re not all going to move to streaming right away. Sure, there are going to be some that do, but chances are most people will keep their service just as is for the short term. As you look 5-10 years down the road, the picture gets a little fuzzier, and you have to look at a lot of different factors. If you’re looking 20 years down the road, it basically turns into “who knows” but then again that’s true of just about everything technological.

The one funny thing about the future is no matter how much you prepare for it, it’s always going to surprise you. You can believe what the analysts are saying today, but really… it’s better to wait for the truth, then decide for yourself.