A large AT&T logo seen on the outside of its corporate offices.
Enlarge / AT&T company places of work on November 10, 2020, in El Segundo, California.

AT&T is killing off the online-video service previously referred to as DirecTV Now and introducing a no-contract possibility for the newer on-line service that changed it.

AT&T unveiled DirecTV Now late in 2016, the yr after AT&T purchased the DirecTV satellite tv for pc firm. Costs initially began at $35 a month for the live-TV on-line service, and it had signed up 1.86 million subscribers by Q3 2018. However clients rapidly fled as AT&T repeatedly raised costs and minimize down on using promotional offers, leaving the service with simply 683,000 subscribers on the finish of Q3 2020.

In 2019, AT&T modified the title from DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now, creating confusion amongst clients and its personal staff as a result of the corporate concurrently unveiled one other on-line streaming service known as AT&T TV.

AT&T TV was pitched as a extra sturdy alternative for satellite tv for pc TV, and it even mimicked cable and satellite tv for pc by imposing contracts, hidden charges, and a giant second-year worth hike. Going ahead, AT&T TV Now will not be supplied to new clients, and AT&T TV would be the flagship for AT&T’s live-TV streaming enterprise. “AT&T TV Now has merged with AT&T TV,” the service’s web site says in an replace flagged in a information article by TV Reply Man yesterday.

For current customers, “AT&T TV Now clients’ service and plans stay in impact” with none adjustments, an AT&T spokesperson instructed Ars. “We’ve got no different worth adjustments to announce at the moment.”

Convoluted pricing, an AT&T custom

Beforehand, AT&T TV was solely obtainable with a contract. There may be now a no-contract possibility that prices extra within the first yr however could possibly be cheaper in the long term if clients use it for a number of years.

The no-contract AT&T TV costs are $69.99 per 30 days for 65 channels; $84.99 for 90 channels and one yr of HBO Max; $94.99 for 130 channels and one yr of HBO Max; and $139.99 for 140 channels and HBO Max with out the one-year time restrict. There is no regional sports activities community charge in these packages.

The primary-year costs for contract plans vary from $59.99 to $129.99, plus a regional sports activities community charge of as much as $8.49 for all packages besides the most cost effective one. Together with the sports activities charge, the first-year costs on many of the contract plans are $10 or so cheaper than the equal no-contract choices. An exception is the “premier” bundle with 140 channels and HBO Max, which prices about $140 the primary yr no matter whether or not you could have a contract or not.

Clients who choose the two-year contract will get a giant worth hike the second yr, with base costs starting from $93 to $183 per 30 days plus the sports activities charge. The second-year costs might really be greater than that because it’s primarily based on the “then-prevailing price,” which AT&T might change. The contract possibility additionally requires a $19.95 activation charge and an early termination charge of $15 for every month remaining on the contract.

Preserve going

There isn’t any automated worth improve after 12 months for the no-contract possibility, however that’s not a assure that costs will not rise. AT&T’s fantastic print says that “pricing, channels, options, and phrases are topic to vary and could also be modified or discontinued at any time with out discover.”

There’s one other issue that makes the no-contract worth $10 larger in order for you numerous cloud-DVR storage. Whereas the contract possibility comes with 500 hours of cloud DVR storage, the no-contract possibility solely comes with 20 hours until you pay an additional $10 per 30 days to improve to 500 hours. The contract possibility additionally comes with one free AT&T TV machine, which prices $5 per 30 days for twenty-four months on the no-contract plan. Third-party streaming units additionally work with the service, so there isn’t any requirement to purchase this.

There is no worth change proper now for current AT&T TV clients. Regardless of the brand new no-contract possibility, the contracts for current AT&T TV clients “stay in impact,” AT&T instructed Ars. As is at all times the case with AT&T TV companies, the pricing tiers are convoluted, so new clients ought to study them rigorously earlier than signing up. This desk supplies a breakdown of key variations between contract and no-contract choices:

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AT&T

Multimillion-customer exodus

For monetary reporting functions, AT&T TV is a part of a class AT&T calls “Premium TV” companies, which additionally contains DirecTV satellite tv for pc and U-verse wireline TV. AT&T has misplaced practically 8 million clients from the class previously few years, dropping from over 25 million in early 2017 to 17.1 million on the finish of September 2020.

Extra buyer losses could possibly be on the way in which, as AT&T is elevating costs on each DirecTV and U-verse efficient January 17. AT&T is attempting to promote DirecTV, however affords thus far have reportedly valued the satellite tv for pc supplier at a couple of third of the $49 billion AT&T paid in 2015.

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