It’s been over six months since DIRECTV announced that it will have streaming services for customers who don’t want to get satellite TV. Am I the only one who’s getting antsy? Several sites have reported AT&T exec Randall Stephenson having said that the service will launch by the end of the year, but hey aren’t we heading toward the end of the year at warp speed?
To be fair, I’m a satellite TV subscriber… you probably already guessed that. So it’s likely that I’m already enjoying the “DIRECTV Now” experience as it’s expected to be very similar to the experience you get today with DIRECTV’s apps for smartphones and tablets. So I should be worried that I’m missing out on something.
Still, I’m sure that you all are as interested as I am to see the service launch and see how it’s received in the marketplace. Unlike the competition, DIRECTV Now is expected to be a full-featured service at a price that comes close to traditional satellite TV. It’s expected to appeal to people who currently pay a lot for entertainment and expect a lot in return. While there has been no official marketing yet, I’d expect DIRECTV Now to be targeted toward millennials (isn’t everything?) who move frequently and who often live where satellite TV isn’t an option, either because the apartment complex isn’t open to it or because mommy and daddy’s house doesn’t have it. This group often doesn’t even own a TV and would love to be able to consume 100% of their video on a tablet or laptop.
The big difference between DIRECTV Now and other services is that with very few exceptions, you won’t need to leave the DIRECTV app to get your entertainment fix. High end channels like HBO are expected to be available, and with DIRECTV’s on demand library, there’s a good chance you won’t need to go to Hulu, Amazon, or Netflix unless you’re looking for one of their exclusive programs. It’s also pretty reasonable to presume that you’ll be able to add sports packages as well. While MLB.TV provides a streaming experience with no other subscriptions, it’s the only league sports network that does, and so adding DIRECTV Now will probably give you access to other sports packages on your mobile device for the first time.
Personally, I’m excited. DIRECTV has not always taken technological leadership in streaming, allowing the culture to build up before jumping in. At this point, DISH and Verizon both have streaming-only packages, and it’s also possible to cobble together a decent programming experience with an antenna and a few app subscriptions, even if you’re on a mobile device. That’s all great for early adopters, but DIRECTV is banking on the idea that there are people who want the same amount of polish they get with regular TV, and they want it on every device in the home. That’s what really excites me.
One more bit… and this may just be wishful thinking… if there is a DIRECTV Now app for streaming devices, and it’s sounding like there will be… it would be great if that app could stream DIRECTV programming from the local playlist or from DIRECTV’s on demand selection, which would give existing subscribers something to cheer about as well. Hey, why not?