AT&T, a multinational conglomerate holding company, is reportedly rolling out a new internet-connected national TV service. The new AT&T TV service will allow consumers to wirelessly connect TV boxes powered by Google Android to the broadband service, which will eliminate the necessity to adopt satellite TV dishes or U-verse fiber hookups. As it connects wirelessly to any broadband service by plugging the set-top box to the TV, no external box or satellite installation will be required.
The new video interface, which will offer similar services as Comcast’s X1, will ultimately replace U-verse and DirecTV as the company’s flagship TV service. The android-powered box runs a custom interface developed by the company, and contains a cloud DVR with 500 hours of storage.
The AT&T TV service has been previously available in just 13 markets. It offers access to streaming services in the Google app store. It also includes a voice remote with Google Assistant. Users can deploy the virtual Google Assistant to play music, check weather conditions, change the channels, as well as control smart home gadgets including light bulbs.
A reduced customer acquisition cost is the primary benefit that the company has observed through its Google Android-powered internet-connected TV boxes. For instance, the associated customer acquisition costs and satellite TV installation charges usually cost around $700, a figure which is drastically lower than dish installation costs. In the near future, AT&T may eventually be compelled to sell off the satellite TV assets, in case of the switch of DirecTV customers to the new TV service. Elliott Management Corporation, the hedge fund of Paul Elliott Singer has supported the divestment in the past but has faced opposition from the company.
AT&T will offer the new service in areas where there is U-verse internet, which will cost around $80 to avail 1 Gb internet per month. The subscribers with no Internet access are required to maintain a 24-months commitment, with TV packages starting at $49.99 per month for 12 months. The company’s premium mobile, video, or broadband subscribers will get access to HBO Max for free.