Will we see DIRECTV at this year’s CES?

We’re mere hours away from the opening of the 2017 Consumer Electronics show. The whole blog team is packing up and getting ready to head down to Las Vegas, where temperatures are expected to be a lot toastier than they have been at our Novi, Michigan corporate offices.

I know you all have tons of questions, and the biggest and most common one is, of course, “what will we see from DIRECTV this year?” DISH always makes a big splash at CES, last year introducing the Hopper 3 mega DVR. DIRECTV’s been silent at this show for years, its presence reduced to private meeting rooms. The last big public splash for the company at this show was nearly a decade ago.

That trend continues, as neither AT&T nor DIRECTV are listed on the official exhibitor list. There will be DIRECTV staff there of course, and I’ll be meeting up with a few of them. I’m not sure what I’ll end up being able to say, as a lot of this stuff is confidential, but I do know it’s going to be a big year for DIRECTV all around.

No one expects DIRECTV to sit on its hands for another year and watch DISH get all the acclaim for a DVR that has more tuners than most normal people could need. It’s a fair bet we’ll see some sort of new equipment in 2017, but will we see it at CES? I doubt we’ll see more than a simple demonstration behind closed doors, which is what we saw in previous years when DIRECTV was showing its prototype 4K system.

You might ask yourself why a company as large as AT&T isn’t bigger at CES. In truth, neither AT&T nor DIRECTV have had much taste for this sort of show for years. The official position is that these mega-shows are a way for hardware people to show what they have and for software people to make deals behind closed doors. As a Solid Signal Blog fan, you might think of DIRECTV as a hardware company, but the truth is that about 98.5% of the company’s 25 million customers don’t care what the box is in the living room as long as it works. For that 1.5%, we’re here for you of course, and that’s still hundreds of thousands of people who crave the kind of information you’ll find here at this blog.

As big as it seems, though, even hundreds of thousands of people aren’t enough to make a splashy investment at CES worthwhile. I know DISH gets a lot of press with its hardware releases, but it’s hard to know if this really translates into customer additions… since the company loses subscribers regularly. I’m always surprised to see DISH in the hall because compared to a company like Samsung or Intel, they’re kind of a niche marketer.

So, sorry to say, there won’t be a DIRECTV presence at CES again. That doesn’t mean we won’t learn something along the way though, so keep reading throughout the week and if there is something particularly juicy to pass along, you’ll find it here.