/AT&T is merging streaming services AT&T TV and TV Now. Heres what it means – CNET

AT&T is merging streaming services AT&T TV and TV Now. Heres what it means – CNET


AT&T TV

AT&T TV is now fully in the center of AT&T’s streaming TV world. 


Sarah Tew/CNET

AT&T TV Now, the telecom and media giant’s streaming service, is going away. On Tuesday, AT&T announced that it would be “merging” TV Now with AT&T TV, its cable and satellite alternative that also streams live TV over the internet but previously required having at least one of AT&T’s dedicated streaming boxes. 

As part of the merger, AT&T is also removing the requirement that AT&T TV customers use at least one of its streaming boxes, called AT&T TV Stream, and it is also getting rid of AT&T TV’s mandatory contract. 

From now on, AT&T TV will be month-to-month, just like AT&T TV Now. AT&T says that current contracts will remain in effect, but once they expire, customers can move to a month-to-month payment option. If you’re on an AT&T TV trial you can switch to a noncontract plan without paying an early termination fee. 

AT&T TV’s noncontract packages start at $70 per month for a base Entertainment package that includes ESPN, CNN and FX, as well as local broadcast channels and 20 hours of cloud DVR. An additional $10 per month boosts the DVR storage to 500 hours per month. Regional sports are included starting in the Choice package, which runs $85 per month without a contract and includes a year of HBO Max and NBA League Pass Premium. 

Those who aren’t afraid of commitment can still sign up for a two-year contract, which lowers the Entertainment package’s first-year price down to $60 per month for the first year, before jumping to $93 per month in the second. Choice users would see the price drop from $85 per month to $65 per month for the first year of the two-year contract, but the second year would jack the price back up to $110 per month. Those with Choice on a two-year contract would also be on the hook for paying an additional $8.49 per month “regional sports fee” for two years. 

Both packages do, however, include 500 hours of DVR as part of the two-year commitment. 

As for devices, if you don’t want to use the company’s Android TV-powered streaming box (aptly called the AT&T TV Device), you can stream AT&T TV on a host of devices. This includes iOS and Android phones and tablets, plus TV streamers such as the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Google Chromecast and Samsung smart TVs (2017 or later). 

“We’re bringing more value and simplicity by merging these two streaming services into a single AT&T TV experience,” said Vince Torres, AT&T’s senior vice president of marketing, in a statement. 

First introduced in November 2016 as DirecTV Now, AT&T TV Now was the carrier’s first streaming television service. The company expanded to offer a few different streaming options over the years, including a cheaper (now discontinued) AT&T Watch TV that largely consisted of Turner channels it owned and AT&T TV, the current cable and satellite replacement. It also introduced HBO Max, its Netflix and Disney Plus rival, last year. 

Although the company is no longer adding new subscribers to AT&T TV Now, a company spokeswoman says that existing users will still be able to use the service and “will not experience any disruptions as part of this change,” adding that the pricing is “not changing at this time.” 

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