The FCC and cable service providers are currently in the midst of a battle over whether the latter can force subscribers to rent set top boxes. Soon, though, this battle may be moot, as cable boxes could become a relic of the past.
Today, AT&T, one company that collects set-top box rental fees, announced plans to launch in Q4 2016 an over the top package that will give viewers the ability to stream TV channels – and lots of them – no matter which internet or phone provider they use.
The difference between AT&T's offering and Sling TV’s is that the latter is all about the skinny bundle - a paired down offering that keeps prices low while giving consumers many of the top channels they watch via larger, more expensive packages offered by cable companies.
But AT&T Entertainment Group CEO John Stankey told Deadline’s David Lieberman that the skinny bundle “doesn’t have a lot of traction.” The goal, Stankey said, “is to find the happy medium and middle of the road between that scaled premium experience that we already are successful with and what the industry talks about with the skinny bundle.”
The difference in ideology, then, is that AT&T doesn’t believe that cord cutters feel they need a lot less channels– it’s that cord cutters hate the process behind cable, from installation to customer service interaction. AT&T’s base package, which will seemingly offer more channels than Sling TV’s base package, will almost certainly be more expensive – likely at prices similar to Sony PlayStation’s Vue.
Below, more information about the new offerings via the release:
The company plans to offer a range of content packages, including much of what is available from DIRECTV today -- on-demand and live programming from many networks, plus premium add-on options. Customers will be able to access the service over a wired or wireless Internet connection and on Internet-enabled devices. Consumers can simply sign-up for the service, download the app and begin watching.
This affordable offer will deliver a mobile-first user experience for people wanting to watch premium video and made-for-digital content directly on a smartphone, regardless of the wireless provider. Consumers can start watching video immediately after the same simple sign-up and app-download process.
This free offer for anyone with a wired or wireless Internet connection will feature some of the quality programming available on DIRECTV today. The tailored ad-supported service will showcase content from AT&T's AUDIENCE Network, many networks and other content