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DirecTV Now Is Active

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AT&T has been teasing the public for months. Early last summer, the telecom giant announced that its DirecTV division would launch a streaming video platform. AT&T offered few details at the time. Later it said that the streaming service, to be called DirecTV Now, would begin operating late in the year.  At various times, the company announced the signing of content licensing contracts for it, and last month  said that DirecTV Now would begin streaming before the end of November. Last week, AT&T announced that it had scheduled a launch party for Monday, November 28.

In discussing the cascade of licensing agreements AT&T signed for DirecTV Now in the last few months, John Stankey, the CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group, said, “I’ve never seen as much paper move in as little time.”

Channel Packages and Prices

All has now been revealed. At Monday’s launch party, AT&T said that DirecTV Now would begin operating on November 30.  The basic package of 60 channels, called “Live a Little” will sell for $35.00 per month. An 80-channel tier called “Just Right “ is priced at $50.00 per, month, with the 100-channel “Go Big” package at $60.00 per month. The premium package, called “Gotta Have It” is priced at $70.00 per month, very similar to the rate for a standard cable TV package.

For an unspecified period of time, AT&T will discount the “Go Big” package to $35.00 per month.

On DirecTV Now, premium movie channels such as HBO and Cinemax will sell for just $5.00 per month– the lowest rate in the industry.

DirecTV Now will carry AT&T’s own original content  from Fullscreen, a channel geared for teens and young adults that has hitherto been available only on YouTube, and Reese Witherspoon, an actress who appeared on stage at the launch party, will provide original content from her studio, Hello Sunshine.

Features of DirecTV Now

For AT&T’s wireless internet customers, DirecTV Now will not count against their data caps when streamed on mobile devices.

In connection with the launch of its new streaming platform, AT&T also offers Freeview, a limited  number of ad supported channels free to the viewer.

One glaring weakness of DirecTV Now is the absence of any DVR function, so the viewer has no means of recording live shows, If he misses one, he can only hope  it will be available on demand later. AT&T says, though, that it is developing a cloud DVR, and it will be available within a few months.

DirecTV Now supports 3.1 Surround Sound and a frame rate of up to 60 FPS, making it ideal for watching sports. It offers two video quality settings, “Good” and “Better”. “Better” is 1080p High Definition, so “Good” presumably is 480p Standard Definition.

Marketing DirecTV Now under the slogan “Let Freedom Stream, AT&T is promoting it as a “mobile first” service, compatible with almost every known video streaming device: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast (Android now, IOS early in 2017), Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, iPad, iPhone, and Safari. The only critical omission is Roku. AT&T says it will add Roku compatibility within “two or three weeks”.


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