AT&T charges about $135 a month for the online video service formerly known as DirecTV Now.
DirecTV Now launched in 2016 with plans ranging from $35 to $70 per month for 60 to 120 channels. There have been several price increases and decreases in the number of channels since then, which is the result of AT&T affect two or more of $50 per month for 45 channels and $70 per month for 60 channels.
This week, AT&T completed the name change from DirecTV Now to “AT&T TV Now.” The $50 and $70 plans are still available, though AT&T TV Now customers can also get 65 channels for $93 a month, 85 channels for $110, 105 channels for $124, or 125 channels for $135. There is also a Spanish language plan called Óptimo Más with 90 channels for $86 a month.
The channel lines up on the $50 and $70 plans with HBO, but HBO charges an extra $15 a month on the more expensive plans. Full channel lineups for each of these plans are available this link.
Plans come with 20 hours of cloud DVR storage. Standard charges allow streaming on two devices at the same time. You can run three simultaneous devices for $5 extra a month.
Even AT&T’s DirecTV satellite plans are small per channel advertising rates, ranging from $60 a month for 155 channels to $135 for 330 channels as of today. But those prices don’t include a variety of additional fees, and prices rise after 12 months when the discounts end.
Amendment: We thought the $93 to $135 plans were rolled out this week, but it appears they are available for a few months while the service is still called DirecTV Now. Sea Cutters sent it story on the new program in March. But AT&T this week introduced a second set of plans, including another one that will cost $135 a month after the discounts end. That is explained in the next section of this article.
AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV are different things
In its quest to make choosing a streaming TV package as confusing as possible, AT&T has separate online services called AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV. They’re both expensive, but AT&T TV without Now also has contract hassles and extra fees that are common in cable and satellite TV packages.
Unlike AT&T TV Now, AT&T TV is only available in a few cities so far, namely Orange and Riverside in California; West Palm Beach, Florida; Topeka and Wichita in Kansas; Louis and Springfield in Missouri; and Corpus Christi, El Paso, and Odessa in Texas. It will roll out to more cities later.
AT&T TV is sold as a stand-alone service or in bundles with AT&T Internet. Similar to cable or satellite DirecTV, AT&T TV pushes customers to sign two-year contracts that lock in a discounted price for the first 12 months. A $20 activation fee and early termination fees apply. This service uses the AT&T streaming TV box but also works on the AT&T TV app Android, Roku, Electric TVwe had iOS (including Apple TV).
AT&T claims on its website that it “fixes TV,” but it sounds more like AT&T is fixing cable on the streaming platform. The advertised monthly rate for AT&T TV ranges from $59.99 to $79.99 a month, but those prices don’t include taxes and surcharges, and base prices are raised significantly after 12 months.
For example, $59.99 plans are $93 a month after the first year. The $64.99 plan is $110 after the first year, the $74.99 plan is $124 after the first year, and the $79.99 plan is $135 after the first year. The second year’s prices could end up being even more than that, as AT&T says it will use whatever the “prevailing rate” is when your discount ends.
Those prices don’t include taxes, they don’t include the $8.49 per month Regional Sports Tax, and they also don’t include “surcharges and other fees.” You can avoid the entertainment fee by purchasing the lowest priced package, as it does not include local entertainment networks.
The promotional price includes an AT&T TV streaming box. Each additional flow box apparently money $120 in one lump sum or $10 per month over 12 months.
In summary, AT&T has taken many of the price peeves that consumers hate about cable and satellite TV and brought them to online streaming. This strategy may raise AT&T’s net worth from each TV customer, but it is unlikely to help AT&T stop the exodus of customers from its TV services.
As we wrote last month, AT&T lost 946,000 TV subscribers in Q2 2019 after announcing a series of price increases. With DirecTV satellite, U-verse TV, and streaming TV plans, AT&T’s total number of video subscribers dropped from 25.4 million in Q2 2018 to 22.9 million in Q2 2019.