Why AT&T’s DirecTV Now may change how you watch TV tomorrow

It’s been a pretty good week for AT&T.

Over the weekend, the company announced its proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner, adding a portfolio of media offerings to its portfolio, like HBO, TNT and Cartoon Network.

Tuesday morning, AT&T announced DirecTV Now, which will stream more than 100 live channels for $35 per month beginning in November.

Now what are you paying for cable/satellite right now? It’s probably more than $35, right?

DirecTV now will be available on all of your mobile devices and if you are an AT&T customer, the data used with the service won’t count against you. The channel lineup wasn’t announced but you can expect all the Time Warner stuff plus NBC/Universal, Fox, Disney and other familiar channels.

And this immediately becomes the best deal in streaming. PlayStation Vue has 100 channels for $54.99 and Sling TV will give you more than 25 channels for $20 (but some associated, um, difficulty with watching them sometimes). Two other competitors, Hulu and YouTube, are also planning streaming services, but have yet to announce pricing.

DirecT’s current streaming service is very good and now its get HBO’s even better streaming service — and streaming know-how — on top of that. Company president Randall Stephenson said AT&T was able to keep the price low because it doesn’t have to negotiate content deals with Time Warner properties and it doesn’t have to worry about hardware costs, like satellites, with the deal.

Even more interesting? Stephenson said AT&T expects this to be the way the majority of its customers get TV within four years, forgoing DirecTV satellite service or traditional cable. And he said AT&T’s upcoming 5G cellular network could one day eliminate the need for cable.

The guess here is that DirecTV Now will hit Google’s Chomecast, Amazon’s FireStick and Apple TV as an app. And let’s say it does and you have Netflix plus this service and you can now kill HBO streaming. You can get a lot of what you need for less than $50.

TV, folks, is about to get a whole lot more interesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft plans to bring cable programming to Xbox 360

XFinity on Demand screen shot for Xbox

Details are still sketchy at this point, but Microsoft made a big announcement this morning that it plans to bring cable television content to its Xbox 360 during the holidays. Think of the 360 as your new set-top box.

Microsoft announced today that nearly 40 TV content providers, including HBO, Comcast and Verizon, will have programming available via the Xbox. Comcast will be bringing its on-demand service, called Xfinity, to the Xbox as well. It reportedly will make use of Xbox 360’s Kinect system, which offers voice and hands-free gesture controls.

Customers who subscribe to cable services that support the new feature likely would continue their subscriptions and just use the 360 as their de-facto cable box. It would marry live content with the type of services customers are getting from Xbox Live and Apple TV and Sony PlayStation Store (Netflix, Hulu, On-Demand, etc) along with gaming. It could be a powerful combination.

Here’s the information Microsoft posted this morning:

Xbox 360 Teams Up With Entertainment Leaders to Transform TV

Today we are happy to announce plans to roll out the next generation of TV entertainment on Xbox LIVE. We have nearly 40 world class TV and entertainment providers coming to Xbox LIVE including: Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S.; BBC TV and radio in the U.K.; Telefónica in Spain; Rogers On Demand in Canada; Televisa in Mexico; ZDF in Germany; and MediaSet in Italy, that will begin rolling out to consoles in more than 20 countries this holiday.

Entertainment Partners on Xbox 360 (Existing and New)

• ABC iView – Australia
• AlloCiné – France, Germany, Spain, U.K.
• Antena 3 – Spain
• Astral Media’s Disney XD – Canada
• AT&T** – U.S.
• BBC – U.K.
• blinkbox – U.K.
• Bravo – U.S.
• BSkyB** – U.K.
• Canal+* – France, Spain
• Channel 4 – U.K.
• Channel 5 – U.K.
• CinemaNow (Best Buy) – U.S.
• Comcast – U.S.
• Crackle – Australia, Canada, U.K., U.S.
• Dailymotion – Available in 32 markets
• EPIX – U.S.
• ESPN** – U.S.
• Facebook** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• FOXTEL** – Australia
• GolTV – Spain
• HBO GO – U.S.
• Hulu – Japan
• Hulu +**– U.S.
• iHeartRadio (Clear Channel) – U.S.
• Last.fm** – U.K., U.S.
• LOVEFiLM – Germany, U.K.
• Manga Entertainment – U.S.
• Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment/Real Sports – Canada
• MediaSet – Italy
• MSN with MSNBC.com – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, U.K.
• MUZU.TV – France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K.
• Netflix**– Canada, U.S.
• Rogers On Demand Online (RODO) – Canada
• RTVE – Spain
• SBS On Demand – Australia
• Syfy – U.S.
• Telefonica – Spain
• Televisa – Mexico
• “The Today Show” – U.S.
• TELUS** – Canada
• TMZ – U.S.
• Twitter** – Available in all 35 Xbox LIVE markets
• UFC – Canada, U.S.
• Verizon – U.S.
• VEVO – Canada, U.K., U.S.
• VimpelCom** – Russia
• Vodafone Portugal** – Portugal
• YouTube – Available in 22 markets
• ZDF – Germany
• Zune** – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain

* Xbox LIVE Gold membership and/or other subscriptions/fees required. Kinect functionality varies by feature, provider and region.
** Denotes existing partners on Xbox LIVE available today.

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