AT&T TV Now Is Merging With AT&T TV—Wait, What?

Illustration for article titled ATT TV Now Is Merging With ATT TV—Wait, What?
Image: Tim Boyle (Getty Images)

AT&T appears to be killing its AT&T TV Now packages, directing new customers to its similarly titled AT&T TV product. Yes, those are two different things.

As reported by Variety, the AT&T TV Now website now—which as recently as earlier this month still promoted live TV streaming packages—now splashes an ad for the company’s AT&T TV product, a hardware-based streaming service that launched last year. A notice on the page states that AT&T TV Now “merged with AT&T TV to bring you the best live and on-demand experience,” with additional language that AT&T TV Now plans are no longer an option for new customers. The page does state, however, that AT&T TV Now customers will still be able to access their accounts. An AT&T spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that these existing customers “will not experience any disruptions as part of this change.”

The spokesperson said that because the company is testing out a no-annual contract plan for AT&T TV, “it makes sense to consolidate the two experiences.”

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As it relates to new customers, there are significant differences between the two products. With AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now), its two primary packages were a $55-per-month option with more than 45 channels and a premium $80-per-month package that included more than 60 channels as well as HBO Max. AT&T TV, meanwhile, offers several subscription packages that range from $70 to $95 per month or more, depending on whatever add-ons are included. The number of channels included is higher, however.

But AT&T TV also has a bunch of sneaky terms and fees that can make those seemingly decent streaming prices creep up pretty fast. Its streaming box can cost either $5 per month for 24 months or $120 per box, depending on which option the company determines you qualify for. Signing a two-year contract with AT&T TV, for example, will start you at $60 per month for the first year but will cost you $93 per month the year after. When Gizmodo reviewed the service and hardware last year around the time of AT&T TV’s launch, shady pricing was a primary concern.

A spokesperson for the company did confirm to Gizmodo that the companion box is not necessarily required for AT&T TV, and a full list of compatible devices can be viewed on its website.

At the very least, AT&T appears to be paring down its confounding marketing and product lineup. I guess that makes sense after the great HBO Go/Now/Max debacle of 2020.

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Update: Added comment from AT&T, including information about whether the change will affect existing customers, a link to compatible devices, and additional context about the decision to merge the two products.  

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DISCUSSION

I really liked the idea of AT&T TV for my mother; it appears to give the same experience of cable or satellite, including a “normal” remote control, channels with actual channel numbers, etc... just delivered over the internet instead. It would have given her a nice alternative to cable, or having a satellite dish installed.

The problem is the pricing. They use the DirecTV pricing model, where you’re locked into a two year contract but you don’t know what the second year pricing will be. Frankly, that sort of thing should be illegal. Plus, their pricing is way too high to begin with, even in year one.