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Best Cable Deals | Consumer Triple Play - Part 3

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09 Dec

How DirecTV Now Fares Against PlayStation Vue And Sling TV

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Dish Network

DirecTV Now Service

There are three main streaming options for the US customers to choose from today, which includes Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and the most recent DirecTV Now streaming service from AT&T. These companies face tough competition in the market, as the users will not settle down for less. A brief comparison of these three internet TV services will help you know more on the same.

Sony PlayStation Vue

Reports say that PlayStation Vue is the most expensive among all the content streaming options, but it is the only service that offers CBS Network channels, and until recently, they were the only service that offered a cloud DVR that is capable of storing recorded content for 28 days.

The basic package of PlayStation Vue costs 29.99 dollars per month and offers more than forty-five channels, which includes Fox, Kiro7, ESPN, CNN, and TBS. There is also a 34.99 dollars a month pack from Vue, offering more than 60 channels, a 49.99 dollars per month pack that offers 90 channels, and a 64.99 dollars per month pack offering 90 channels plus Showtime and HBO (Showtime for 10.99 dollars and HBO for 15 dollars per month as add-ons).

Dish Network Sling TV

Sling TV is one of the first internet content provider services that initiated the cord-cutting trend. This service by Dish Network offers one of the cheapest streaming services when compared to PlayStation Vue and DirecTV Now.

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Streaming Options Available

The starter package, Sling Orange, costs just 20 dollars per month and offers more than 30 channels; the next pack, Sling Blue, is available for 25 dollars per month and offers more than 40 channels. There is also the Sling Orange + Blue package, which costs 40 dollars and includes all channels.

Sling TV service also has add-ons, starting at five dollars per month. Add-on packages include kids, Spanish, comedy, International, and sports packs. Moreover, Sling TV offers Starz and HBO for just fifteen dollars. It is also reported that the cloud DVR program of Sling is under test and will be released soon.

AT&T DirecTV Now

AT&T is the most recent player in the online content streaming business. DirecTV Now offer many advantages like unlimited streaming on mobile with AT&T internet, and numerous channels and On-Demand content.

DirecTV Now services start at thirty-five dollars per month for the 60 plus channels offering; fifty dollars per month for 80 plus channels; sixty dollars per month for more than 100 channels; and seventy dollars per month for 120 plus channels. HBO and Cinemax are the available add-ons for five dollars each per month.

08 Dec

Experts Say That DirecTV Now Is Almost The Streaming Service Of Your Dreams

DirecTV Packages

Streaming Service Of Your Dreams

Many of us genuinely wish to cut the cord, as we think that we pay too much for TV packages that are full of channels that we do not watch. Users are particularly not happy paying more than a hundred dollars a month for TV programming and they will obviously explore the alternatives.

Most users who are considering cord cutting may have come across the various streaming services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. These services offer bundles of television channels that stream over the internet and the best part is that users can stream the programs on whatever device they like. In that line, AT&T recently introduced their streaming service called DirecTV Now, and like many other streaming services, DirecTV Now also offer many tiers of service.

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Live A Little Package

The channel bundles on DirecTV Now run from 35 dollars for 60 plus channels to 70 dollars for 100 plus channels. Users also have the option to add Cinemax or HBO channels, each for an extra of five dollars a month. In addition to that, as a promotional offer, the Go Big package, which costs 60 dollars per month and offer 100 plus channels, is offered for just 35 dollars a month.

AT&T says that the 35 dollars price will be in place as long as the users have an active subscription to the service, but they also said that the offer for the Go Big package would be available only for a limited time. Besides, the base pack called Live a Little, which costs thirty-five dollars, includes most of the popular channels together with ESPN, Disney, and Fox Sports 1.

Local programming and channels are available in the select markets of DirecTV Now, where the service networks own the stations. In Dallas Fort Worth, NBC5 and Fox4 are available, although NBC 5 channel is not available on streaming boxes like Apple TV; but the channel is available on smartphones and web browsers.

KTVT (CBS channel 11) and WFAA (ABC channel 8) are not available in the DirecTV Now channel list, as different media firms own these channels. Moreover, PBS programming is also not available right now.

28 Nov

FCC Commissioner Says WTJX-TV Should Be Made Available On Satellite TV

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Satellite TV Services

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said in a post shared on their official website, that the government owned WTJX-TV, which is also a local PBS affiliate, should be available to satellite TV customers in the US Virgin Islands. She shared the post after her recent visit to the territory, together with Delegate to Congress Stacey Plaskett.

“Imagine living in New York City and discovering that your pay-TV provider does not carry the local PBS affiliate and instead provides you with a Philadelphia based station. While this unusual arrangement would preserve access to some of your favorite nationally-televised PBS shows like Antiques Roadshow and NewsHour, unless you have an over-the-air antenna, it would mean missing out on the high-quality local programming that broadcasters are required to provide their communities of license,” writes Clyburn.

She said that the issue was brought to attention by Plaskett on her visit to the territory. Sources say that the issues affecting the residents of the island were discussed during the visit.

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Federal Communications Commission

“The local PBS affiliate, WTJX-TV which has been broadcasting for more than 40 years is not available to satellite customers, including a growing number of residents who have chosen DISH as their provider. In its place, DISH carries WMTJ, a Puerto Rico based station. Geographically, Puerto Rico is just over 100 miles from the Virgin Islands, but make no mistake they are very different communities, not to mention that they have a different dominate language,” Clyburn said.

The FCC Commissioner also added that she met with Tanya-Marie Singh, who is the CEO of the Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System, to discuss the matters. Virgin Islands Public Broadcasting System includes WTJX-FM 93.1 and WTJX-TV, and highlights local shows that are of high quality like Ritmo Del Doce, Meet the Candidates (during election cycles), and Face to Face with Addie Ottley.

Clyburn said that WTJX-TV is not being transmitted by some of the satellite TV service providers at present, as the territory is not in a Nielsen Designated Market Area. “This means, in sum, that WTJX cannot elect must-carry or retransmission consent. And while I cannot compel carriage of WTJX as an FCC Commissioner, I do believe it is the right thing to do” she said.

“We owe it to the people of the Virgin Islands to ensure they have access to local public broadcasting, just as those living in the continental United States, Hawaii, and parts of Alaska have come to expect and I call on the powers that be to make it happen, now,” Clyburn concluded.

25 Nov

Regulatory Chief Of AT&T Responds To FCC Comments On Zero Rating

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AT&T Responds To FCC

The regulatory chief of AT&T has responded to the criticisms raised by the FCC by stating that their sponsored data and zero rating plans are providing the “benefits to consumers and competition”, which the Commission said they wanted a few months ago. Senior executive VP of external and legislative affairs for AT&T, Bob Quinn responded to the letter from FCC by adding, “These initiatives are precisely the kind of pro-consumer challenges to cable that the Commission heralded in approving AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV.”

Quinn argued that the Data Free TV plan offered by AT&T would allow their subscribers to access and stream the company’s latest streaming service, DirecTV Now, on their mobile devices without disturbing the monthly data allotment of the subscriber. He said that this offering is crucial for the telecom company, as it helps them to remain competitive in the market.

“Cable providers have built-in advantages as a result of which they still supply the majority of pay-TV subscriptions and fully 85% of internet connections that the Commission considers broadband. In fact, during the first three quarters of 2016, Telcos lost 475,000 broadband subscribers while cable added 2.44 million,” Quinn said.

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Comments On Zero Rating

He further added, “DirecTV’s sponsorship of that content through Data Free TV allows DirecTV to better compete against the cable incumbents by ensuring that its subscribers receive the mobile video experience they increasingly demand in the most consumer-friendly manner possible. Indeed, industry observers have observed that the pay-TV business finally looks like it’s about to get seriously disrupted by the internet. They have referred to DirecTV Now as a ‘bombshell’ and AT&T as the video ‘insurgent’.”

Quinn commented that, “Data Free TV is certainly not free to AT&T. As more and more consumers discover the benefits of that service, AT&T will see escalating usage on its mobile network, where video already accounts for a clear majority of traffic. AT&T will need to respond to those new usage demands by making capital-intensive investments, which will add to the billions AT&T has already spent to keep up with skyrocketing mobile video usage.”

He also said that other video distributors can also export this feature to their offerings and added that, “The suggestion that Data Free TV creates ‘significant disadvantages’ for online video distributors who wish to reach AT&T’s wireless subscribers is likewise off-base.”

“Any unaffiliated content provider can participate in AT&T’s sponsored data program on the same terms and at the same rate as DirecTV, and the sponsored data rate is as low as the market based rates AT&T currently offers even to wireless resellers who commit to significant purchase volumes,” Quinn concluded.

25 Nov

Dish Network And AT&T Offer Deals On Their Streaming Services

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Deals On Streaming Services

Dish Network has offered some of the best cable deals to their subscribers over the last few years and they are still one of leading cable providers in the country. However, things have not been that easy for the company, as they had to face a huge loss of subscribers during the third quarter of 2016.

Nevertheless, Dish Network is planning for a strong comeback by offering a bunch of exciting deals on their online streaming platform, Sling TV. Dish recently announced several promotions and deals aimed at attracting more subscribers to Sling TV streaming service.

In their Sling Blog, the company stated that they are providing Sling TV gift cards to their subscribers in denominations of $25 to $100 through GameStop, Best Buy, and Wal-Mart. In addition to that, they also revealed their plans to enter into a partnership with streaming device makers during the upcoming holiday season.

Reports say that any subscriber, who buys a fourth-generation Apple TV, will get the device for just $89 instead of $149, if they commit to Sling TV for 3 months. Furthermore, a 50 percent offer will be available to customers when the buy a Roku Premiere and player, if they sign up to Sling TV for 3 months.

Dish Network Channel List

Online Streaming Platform

However, Dish Network is not the only provider who is trying to draw in more customers to their online streaming service. AT&T has already announced their plans to launch their streaming service, DirecTV Now, and sources say that the service will be available to subscribers by the end of this week.

AT&T recently announced that subscribers, who commit to DirecTV Now for three months or more, would be rewarded with a free Apple TV, whereas those who sign up for the same service for a single month would receive a Fire TV streaming stick for free.

The report from AT&T also indicated that the company will offer a free 7-day trial to customers. However, subscribers who decide to not to pay for the service after the free trial will be automatically downgraded to DirecTV Freeview, a free service with limited content.

In addition to that, DirecTV Now streaming service would be available to subscribers at just $35 per month and it will offer more a hundred popular channels. Analysts say that this is the best deal offered by a streaming service until now.

24 Nov

Is DirecTV Now A Boon Or A Curse For Pay TV?

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DirecTV Now Lineup

AT&T will formally unveil the DirecTV Now service on November 28. CEO Randall Stephenson said that the service will offer 100+ channels and all these channels would be offered for a very low price of thirty-five dollars a month. Many analysts think that the release of DirecTV Now service will speed up the demise of pay TV services.

“Ma Bell is about to set the tone for the industry; all eyes are on the success of DirecTV Now, as well as AT&T’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner,” Amy Yong of Macquarie Research says. Then again, Michael Morris of Guggenheim Securities’ predicts that DirecTV Now and a live streaming offering from Hulu will be “the most incrementally covered and discussed topic in the pay-TV and media industries over the coming months.”

In American economy, pay-TV companies generate some of the heaviest profits. As per the statistics, distributors collect an average of ninety dollars per month from the hundred million households across the country, and if the advertising sales were also considered, pay-TV business accounts for about 200 billion dollars per year in total sales.

The system is strained, as subscribers, whose inflation-adjusted revenue has been without much change for the last decade, struggle to cope up with the annual hikes of pay TV prices. Yet this has resulted in a vicious cycle. As the number of subscribers decline, providers will have to raise the prices, which in turn will make subscribers or potential subscribers to search for alternatives.

DirecTV Packages

DirecTV Now Service

Experts believe that AT&T may have a solution if the low prices for the DirecTV Now service will win wireless users from T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. This is the only way the DirecTV Now initiative from AT&T would make some sense.

Michael Nathanson and Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson Research estimate that the programming costs of DirecTV Now could come to thirty-four dollars per user per month. “That would leave DirecTV’s gross margin per subscriber at around $1. Yes, $1,” they say. “DirecTV’s margin after [subscriber acquisition costs], customer service, transport, computing, and storage costs would be negative.”

On the other hand, it seems that the programmers are happy to have yet another source of distribution revenue. NBCUniversal, Disney, Fox, Discovery, Time Warner, Viacom, A&E Networks, Univision, Scripps Networks, and AMC Networks said that they would be represented in the lineup of DirecTV Now service. There are not much details about the CBS Network though, who have their own subscription streaming service named CBS All Access.

24 Nov

WPP, AT&T And Dish Network L.L.C Plans To Acquire INVIDI Technologies

Dish Network Channel List

Addressable Advertising Platforms

WPP, AT&T, and Dish Network L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of Dish Network, recently announced their plans to acquire INVIDI Technologies, one of the leaders in offering addressable advertising platforms.

INVIDI has stated that they will continue to operate independently even after the acquisition under the collective ownership of these three major companies. However, each of these companies can name their representatives, who will be selected to the board of directors of INVIDI. AT&T has decided to hold a controlling interest in the latest venture from the companies.

The software from INVIDI will enable the advertisers to deliver addressable video advertising to target audience across multiple distribution platforms and on TV. The ads will be delivered through INVIDI’s technology in order to target the households, which can be matched to thousands of psychographic or demographic attributes or even to a customer list, provided by the advertiser. This will in turn offer an opportunity for media buyers and advertisers to control the frequency, separation and reach across the video platforms.

Rick Welday, President of AT&T AdWorks said, “INVIDI gives us a great opportunity to expand our addressable advertising capabilities. We have significantly increased revenue with targeted advertising across multiple platforms. This deal will help us accelerate growth in our addressable advertising business and explore innovation and expansion into new platforms.”

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AT&T AdWorks Plans

Warren Schlichting, Dish Network’s executive vice president of Marketing, Programming and Media Sales said, “This is an opportunity to push innovation through the platform and expand the reach of addressable TV advertising, moving the advertising industry forward for brands and consumers.”

Dave Downey, INVIDI’s CEO said, “This is an exciting day for INVIDI, our customers, industry partners, employees and investors. Maintaining our independence and deepening our existing relationships with AT&T, DISH and WPP is a big move for our company and our people. Our ability to increase the value of ad inventory is transforming the way video advertising is purchased and distributed.”

Irwin Gotlieb, Chairman, GroupM Global, WPP’s wholly owned media investment management company said, “We were the first strategic investor back in 2007 and are retaining our position so that we can influence the addressable ecosystem for the benefit of our clients.”

Neither of the companies has yet disclosed the financial details of this acquisition, but reports indicate that the deal will happen during the first quarter of 2017.

22 Nov

AT&T Launches High-Speed Internet Service In Parts Of Charleston

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High-Speed Internet

AT&T subscribers in Charleston area will now be able to enjoy high-speed internet service. AT&T is the second internet provider to offer high-speed internet service to the residents of Charleston. The first telecom company to sell gigabit access in Charleston region was Moncks Corner-based Home Telecom. They installed the first gigabit connection in Summerville a few years ago.

Reports indicate that the latest service from AT&T will be available only in parts of West Ashley, Summerville, and Mount Pleasant. The Telco giant is still installing fiber cable throughout these regions and neighboring regions in order to expand their gigabit internet service to more areas. Reports indicate that North Charleston and Goose Creek are next regions, where AT&T is planning to launch their fiber internet service. Officials from the company have said that the cost for the gigabit internet service will be $90 per month.

Gigabit internet connection enables the customers to download data at an internet speed of 1,000 Mbps and it is one of the best internet speed offered by any provider in the country. Most of the internet connections in Lowcountry region are much lower when compared to what AT&T is offering. However, AT&T claimed that Charleston area is one among the 44 metros in the nations, where AT&T is offering gigabit internet service.

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AT&T Internet Service

John Mitchell, Regional Director of External Affairs for AT&T South Carolina said, “Our customers are increasingly interacting with their world in more data-intensive ways. A growing number of people are streaming content directly from their devices, and interacting with family and friends through live videos. For these reasons, we’re bringing our fastest internet speeds to Charleston area communities.”

Charleston Mayor, John Tecklenburg said, “We are excited that AT&T is bringing high-speed internet to our local business community. Ultra-fast internet speeds will provide our local businesses with the modern technology needed to succeed in our 21st century economy.”

Mt. Pleasant Mayor, Linda Page said, “Ultra-fast internet from AT&T will provide greater economic opportunities for our residents and help our local small businesses grow. AT&T’s investment to deliver high-speed internet in rural areas across South Carolina using the latest technologies will help drive innovation and job creation.”

Charleston residents, who have subscribed to the fiber internet service from AT&T, will be able to access the latest Wi-Fi technology, and they can enjoy broad coverage and faster Wi-Fi speeds in an in-home setting.

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