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AT&T TV Now Rolled Into AT&T TV

(Image credit: AT&T)

Updated: This story was updated to include details on AT&T's new pay TV strategy.

AT&T has simplified its rather confusing pay TV strategy, folding the virtual MVPD AT&T TV Now into AT&T TV, while orienting the latter into a vMVPD service that lacks contracts and proprietary leased equipment.

AT&T TV Now's remaining subscribers, which totaled 683,000 as of the end of September, will be rolled into AT&T TV, the company's more traditionally structured pay TV service.

AT&T TV, which also operates on the open internet, will move from annual to monthly contracts, and will no longer require customers to lease a proprietary Android TV set-tops. In addition to those AT&T's device, the service will now run on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV players and Google Chromecast dongles and sticks; iOS and Android mobile devices; and Samsung smart TVs, the company said.

“We’re bringing more value and simplicity by merging these two streaming services into a single AT&T TV experience,” said Vince Torres, senior VP of marketing for AT&T. “Customers can stream the best collection of live and on-demand programming on devices they already have, or they can get our exclusive AT&T TV Stream device to enjoy enhanced features and functionality.”

The move effectively kills AT&T TV Now, which started life as the $35-a-month DirecTV Now back in November 2016, growing on promotional steroids to reach 1.8 million subscribers by the summer of 2018. 

AT&T TV Now becomes the second major competitor to bow out following the shuttering a year ago of Sony PlayStation Vue. 

AT&T TV Now’s base-tier service offered 45-plus channels for $55 a month. AT&T TV is base priced at $70 a month for 65-plus channels.

 AT&T TV monthly-contract packages come with 20-hours of cloud DVR storage included. For an additional $10 a month, customers can upgrade to 500 hours of storage.

So, if you signed up for DirecTV Now four years ago, your $35-a-month skinny bundle has doubled in price and girth.

It's the latest video move by AT&T, which has given up on its $49 billion purchase of DirecTV in 2015, and is now focused on its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc. and the resulting launch of SVOD service HBO Max. 

For AT&T, traditional pay TV is now being simplified down to AT&T TV, the IP-based service, launch last year and now largely serving to underpin the telecom's rollouts of fiber internet and fixed 5G services. 

AT&T was already in the process of sunsetting its legacy pay TV platform, U-verse. And it’s trying to sell its satellite TV platform, DirecTV.

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!