It may be delivered over the open internet. And it may be powered by Google software. But AT&T’s new pay TV service, AT&T TV, is as traditional as it gets when it comes to the fine print.
After receiving an AT&T TV brochure last week at Next TV’s Los Angeles office, we broke out ol’ magnifying glass to examine some of the caveats.
The brochure prominently advertises a first-year promotional price of $79.98 a month for AT&T TV and AT&T Fiber (1 Gbps), with fine print adding taxes and a $10-a-month “equipment fee” for the gateway. AT&T is throwing in a $200 Visa reward card for “qualifying” AT&T TV signups.
For those unfamiliar with AT&T TV, the service will ultimately replace DirecTV satellite, U-verse IPTV and AT&T Now vMVPD platforms, offering a service based on Android TV and its accoutrements (all the apps available in the Google Play Store, plus voice control via Google Assistant). There’s not satellite dish or truck roll required to establish service, but there is a proprietary set-top.
Our AT&T TV brochure touts “live TV & sports, On Demand, Cloud DVR and access to HBO, Netflix, Pandora and more!” It doesn’t say how many channels specifically are in the bundle.
So what’s in the fine print?
> There’s a $19.99 charge for “activation.”
> Terminating the AT&T TV service early in the 24-month commitment will trigger a charge of $15 per month left on the contract.
> There’s a $10 discount for bundling AT&T TV with AT&T fiber internet, and the discount kicks in “within three months” of signing up for service. Until that discount kicks in, subscribers will pay $99.98 for the double-play service, plus tax. That includes not only the $10-a-month that’s not yet been discounted, but the $10-a-month “internet equipment fee.”
> AT&T recommends a minimum internet connection speed of 8 Mbps for AT&T TV and subscribing households are limited to three concurrent streams.
> After 12 months, the price of the double play will increase to $152.99 a month; the AT&T TV service will be priced at $93 a month and 1-gig internet priced at $59.99 a month.
> AT&T TV subscribers get one Android TV-powered set-top as part of their advertised monthly service price. Additional set-tops can be purchased for “$120 each for on installment.”
> If you cancel the service within the first 14 days, you must return the AT&T TV set-top in order to avoid a $120 “non-return fee.”
> There are no credits for any “partial-month periods or unwatched content.”
> “Pricing, channels, features and terms [are] subject to change & may be modified or discounted at any time without notice.”
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!
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