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10 Nov

AT&T To Offer Free Amazon Fire Sticks And Apple TV Boxes With DirecTV Now

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AT&T Streaming Service

Reports indicate that AT&T is planning to give free Amazon Fire TV Sticks and Apple TVs with their latest streaming service, DirecTV Now. AT&T had earlier announced that DirecTV Now will be available to the subscribers by the end of November and it will offer more than hundred channels at an affordable price of $35 a month.

These amazing offerings from AT&T will certainly put them ahead of their competitors and attract more subscribers to their offerings. The leaked documents from AT&T acquired by Variety indicate that the major telecom company wants to ensure that all their interested subscribers will be able to make the most of their upcoming streaming service.

DirecTV Now will be delivered to the customers over the internet without the need for satellite or cable. However, just like all other streaming service subscribers, DirecTV Now subscribers will also require either a smart TV or a streaming box, if they are using a regular TV.

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AT&T Amazon-Apple Offer

AT&T realizes that not everyone has a smart TV or a streaming box, and the company is determined to take care of this issue with the offer, and make the service available to everyone in the US. Besides, it will also make their online streaming platform more appealing to customers.

The reports released from Variety indicate that subscribers, who sign up for DirecTV Now for one month, will receive an Amazon Fire TV Stick for free. The cost subscribers have to pay in order to get DirecTV Now for a single month is just $35, whereas the Fire TV Stick normally costs about $40.

The next offer from AT&T is a much better one, where the subscribers who sign up for the DirecTV Now service for 3 months or more, will be eligible to receive an Apple TV that normally costs $150. Interestingly, the price for the streaming service that subscribers would have to pay for 3 months is $105.

It is evident that both the offerings from AT&T are highly attractive, but the second one is more advantageous, if you were willing to pay for three months of DirecTV Now service in advance. Reports from several sources claim that AT&T will be able to pull this off without raising the price, as the provider will eliminate the need for satellite dishes and other costly equipments.

02 Nov

CBS And FOX Channels Might Not Be Available On DirecTV Now

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DirecTV Now

It is reported that AT&T will be launching their latest online streaming platform, DirecTV Now, without having prime channels from 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp. in their bundle. This streaming service will be available to the subscribers by the end of November and will offer more than a hundred channels at a comparatively lower price of $35 per month.

Analyst Craig Moffett says that AT&T has successfully signed agreements with major networks except CBS Corp. and reported that, “there is some contention over whether or not a Fox agreement has been reached – some reports citing AT&T suggest that it has; Fox itself said that it had not formally reached an agreement.”

It is evident that AT&T will have to launch DirecTV Now without two major broadband networks if they failed to reach an agreement with CBS Corp. soon. Earlier this week, a website named Satellite Guys claimed that they had intercepted an internal AT&T memo, which indicated that DirecTV Now would be launched on November 4. However, this report was denied by an AT&T representative later.

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CBS And FOX Channels

The AT&T representative said, “this what we’ve announced to date: Disney, HBO, Discovery Networks, NBCU, Turner, Scripps Networks, Starz, AMCN, AETN and Viacom will be among the more than 100 channels launching on DirecTV Now.”

Reports indicate that the agreements with the latter two content companies will certainly affect the margins AT&T receives on DirecTV Now. Moffett indicated that the wholesale price for AT&T’s DirecTV Now programming would be approximately $26 per subscriber. “Including CBS and Fox, which we believe will ultimately be included in the bundle once the deals are reached, programming costs will be near $34,” he said. However, the margin for DirecTV’s traditional satellite TV service will come around $60 a subscriber, when factors like leased HD DVRs are considered.

“AT&T’s aim is, of course, to minimize cannibalization of existing subscribers (and minimize piracy and password sharing), so the new service will be limited to a single stream, reducing its attractiveness as a substitute for linear packages that serve whole households,” Moffett added. “Still, there will inevitably be some cannibalization. Indeed, AT&T itself acknowledged that any truly disruptive video product will bring with it significant cannibalization risk. Obviously, the more aggressive the price, the higher the cannibalization.”

26 Oct

AT&T Confirms DirecTV Now Launch In November

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DirecTV Now Services

DirecTV subscribers were sitting on pins and needles wondering when AT&T will release their DirecTV Now internet-only streaming service. And it seems that they won’t have to wait for too long.

As part of a discussion of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed that the DirecTV Now service would be launched by November. He also confirmed that the service would carry a price that is “radically lower” than the competing offers.

While speaking about the proposed 85 billion dollar buyout of Time Warner, Stephenson said that DirecTV Now service would pose big threat to the rivals. He did not go further into the details of the pricing, but said that the service is a nationwide “mobile-centric product,” with “100 premium channels.” He also added that DirecTV Now would be “purely mobility-driven [and] purely over-the-top, this is a whole new capability.”

AT&T bought DirecTV for 48.5 billion dollars last year, thereby adding satellite TV to their wireless and broadband services. “As soon as we closed DirecTV, we went full out on developing this [DirecTV Now idea],” the company CEO said.

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DirecTV Now Launch

The Telco giant has also taken the next step by bringing Time Warner on board, and Stephenson believes that DirecTV Now service will be much improved with the inclusion of TV and movie content from Time Warner. “This is what we’re after, speed of execution and changing the game.”

He also laid some of the possibilities. “What can you do with Time Warner content, really fast and very uniquely for our customers? Can we integrate social into that content? Can you have the capability to, I’m watching content, clip it and send it via social media to my friends?”

The Time Warner deal is a natural evolution of the industry, Stephenson said. “The world of distribution and content is converging and we need to move fast and if we want to do something truly unique, begin to curate content differently, begin to format content differently for these mobile environments, and this is all about mobility.”

Stephenson stressed that a new AT&T-Time Warner company will not be holding content hostage from the other distributors. “The idea that we’re going to come along and start to constrict the distribution of this content makes no economic sense. That would be a crazy idea. So the idea that is going to be a byproduct of this [deal], it doesn’t make sense.”

24 Oct

Pricing Of DirecTV Now Will Affect That Of Hulu, Comcast, And Amazon

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DirecTV Streaming Services

The launch of DirecTV Now, a hundred plus channels video service based on internet, is nearing its release and the television industry is waiting for AT&T to announce the pricing details of the service. How much the rivals of AT&T, like Charter Communications and Comcast, should worry about the DirecTV Now service, depends on the pricing of the service.

The pricing of DirecTV Now service could have big impacts on the strategies followed by Hulu, Google, and Amazon as well. Hulu is planning to launch a new live streaming TV service by the start of 2017, and according to analyst Craig Moffett, “If they [AT&T] price too aggressively, there is an obvious risk of cannibalization.”

“They make very attractive margins on their legacy DTV business today. Offering an internet-based alternative will mean lower costs, particularly for equipment, so they can justify a lower price. But that doesn’t mean they can justify pricing at razor thin margins. That would be cutting off their nose to spite their face,” he added.

Many analysts predicted that AT&T might sell their DirecTV Now service for charges between 50 to 55 dollars, where the streaming service from Hulu is expected to cost around forty dollars a month. Hulu is a joint venture of 21st Century Fox Entertainment, Comcast, and Walt Disney. Time Warner has also bought a ten percent share in Hulu.

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AT&T Services

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that they would accept thinner margins for the DirecTV Now service. Still, there is wiggle room in the comments of AT&T, as DirecTV Now is a fat bundle that offers a lot of content to the users.

Experts say that programming will be the biggest cost for AT&T. William Power, who is an analyst at William Blair, said that AT&T might use the content delivery network of Akamai Technologies to offer internet videos to their users.

In fact, AT&T might need Akamai’s services. as DirecTV Now streams live TV that includes major sports coverages. DirecTV Now usage will not be counting towards monthly data caps for the wireless users of AT&T though, and that was made clear by the company last month.

Analysts at UBS estimate that the DirecTV Now service will have about 2.5 million users by the end of 2020. John Hodulik of UBS thinks that the OTT competition will be much heated up by 2020 and might even affect the number of users of DirecTV satellite connection.

19 Oct

AT&T Named ParkHub As The Official Parking Partner Of Their Stadium

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AT&T Stadium

In a recent announcement, AT&T declared ParkHub as the Official Parking Partner for AT&T stadium. Founder & CEO of ParkHub, George Baker Sr., said that, “Growing up in Dallas, and a longtime Cowboys fan, it is an honor to be a vendor, and now an official partner, with the most visible sports stadium in the world.”

“The Cowboys, through their partnership with AT&T, have shown they will continue to utilize technology to create a world-class fan experience. Our partnership does that for the parking industry, which is why this relationship is a natural fit,” he added.

ParkHub recently introduced a new handheld point-of-sale cashier system, Prime, which was powered by AT&T itself. This new service helped the major satellite and cable provider to transform their industry. This system installed at AT&T stadium allows the customers to either purchase advance parking tickets through Ticketmaster or pay for their parking tickets by using their credit cards at the parking entrance. These two options became available at AT&T stadium only after the Telco’s involvement with ParkHub.

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ParkHub – AT&T Partner

Director of Planning & Logistics at AT&T Stadium, Jud Heflin, said, “I believe our fans are very pleased knowing they can now pay with credit cards instead of cash, and they recognize the impact this has had on our overall parking experience. It is a ‘win’ for all those involved: the stadium, fans, and parking attendants.”

In addition to that, the Prime system from ParkHub also allows the mangers to be responsive, efficient, and organized. The customer data, transaction times, inventory, and revenue details are all collected in the proprietary dashboard in real time. This technology also allows the parking mangers to take decisions on where to deploy resources in order to accelerate the process.

Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Jerry Jones Jr., summarized their new partnership with ParkHub by stating, “As one of the most recognized sports venues in the world, AT&T Stadium places a premium on smooth traffic flow and quality services provided to our fans.

“ParkHub parking management has dramatically improved our fans’ arrival into the parking lots and improved our internal controls and operational efficiency around the parking process. ParkHub’s team goes above and beyond to provide a better overall event-day experience for all visitors to AT&T Stadium as well as assisting our operations team in overall parking management,” he added.

15 Oct

AT&T And Comcast Subscribers In St. Johns County Will Have To Wait For Internet And Cable Services

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Wait For Internet Services

Even though power was restored in most of the households in St. Johns County after the devastating Hurricane Mathew, some homeowners have still not yet regained their access to internet and cable services. However, internet services are of vital importance to a major proportion of the residents, as they use it for work purposes.

AT&T and Comcast, the leading internet and satellite providers in the nation, have not yet shared any details on the number of customers, who still do not have access to internet and cable services after the hurricane. Many reports also indicate that subscribers are concerned about when they will be able to access internet.

In an e-mail, Jon Hunt, a Vilano resident AT&T subscriber shared his concern by stating, “We haven’t seen an AT&T truck in Vilano since the storm. It would be nice to at least have an estimate of when service would be restored.” In reply to that, an AT&T representative said that they are “resolving issues,” and said that Hunt received his internet and cable services a few days ago.

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St. Johns County Subscribers

AT&T spokeswoman, Rosie Montalvo said that, “Overall our Florida network performed well during Hurricane Matthew. Our wireless network is functioning normally. We are actively working to restore service for some individual customers whose home phone, internet or TV service has been affected by storm damage and power loss. We have brought in additional technicians from outside the area to assist in this effort, and we are working as quickly as possible to restore service for our customers.”

Interestingly, AT&T subscribers were not the only one to raise their voice against this issue. Many Comcast subscribers also shared their concern about the issue and they wanted to know when they would be able to access internet and cable services. In their reply, Comcast has guaranteed that they are working to settle the problem at present, and their subscribers will be able to access services immediately.

Comcast public relations manager, Cindy Arco said, “Our service restoration efforts in St. Johns County are progressing nicely, although, as you know, this was one of the hardest hit areas during the storm, so there’s still a lot of reconstruction to be done. We have scattered areas throughout the county where either the power is still out or we are still working to restore our services. In those specific areas, we have multiple crews working to restore services as quickly and as safely as possible.”

12 Oct

AT&T Huntsville Subscribers Will Get Access To Fiber Service

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Huntsville AT&T Subscribers

AT&T has recently announced their plans to launch AT&T Fiber to Huntsville areas including certain parts of Madison. As per the announcement, small businesses and eligible AT&T subscribers in Huntsville region will get access to the 1-Gigabit internet connection on AT&T’s fiber network.

Huntsville is an important market for AT&T and they are trying to attract more customers in this area to their internet service through this exceptional offering. Huntsville is one among the 67 large cities where AT&T offers fiber internet service to their subscribers.

In a recent announcement, AT&T’s Alabama President, Fred McCallum said, “We are proud to deliver AT&T’s fastest internet to our customers in the greater Huntsville area, offering enriched experiences as our customers increasingly interact with their world in more data-intensive ways.”

“At AT&T, we are committed to innovation and providing cutting-edge technologies such as our ultrafast internet speeds that will enhance the many ways our customers live, work and play,” McCallum added. He also confirmed that AT&T Fiber service would be available in certain areas before the end of the month.

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Fiber Service Access

AT&T has already started offering their fiber service since last summer. However, they are planning to launch it in new areas and make it available to more customers in October. An AT&T spokesperson admitted that sign up advertisement and mails were already delivered to some subscribers, who live in eligible areas.

The announcement from AT&T was well received by the area leaders. “Huntsville is home to some of our country’s most innovative companies and continues to develop as a premier tech hub.” said Tommy Battle, Mayor of Huntsville.

“AT&T’s continuing infrastructure investment and launch of ultra-fast fiber internet are instrumental to Huntsville becoming a Gig City and offering residents and businesses additional resources to thrive in today’s digital society,” Mayor Battle added.

On the other hand, Alabama House Speaker, Mac McCutcheon said, “It is exciting to have AT&T already fulfilling the promise it made less than a year ago to bring ultra-fast internet to Huntsville and surrounding communities. New technology offers economic growth opportunities and enriches the quality of life for residents and business owners. I applaud AT&T’s continuing investment in Madison County and throughout Alabama.”

Mayor of Madison, Troy Trulock, also praised the efforts by AT&T, and said, “Increased access to high-speed internet is an important ingredient for our flourishing local tech community. AT&T is the first major provider to offer these speeds to area residential customers. AT&T’s ultra-fast internet is a welcome addition to our city and state.”

05 Oct

Project AirGig From AT&T Is Ready For Launch

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AT&T Project AirGig

AT&T is planning to deliver high-speed internet services over power lines in their Wisconsin market. AT&T has also recently announced that they are planning to conduct field trials, which will enable any user on the electric grid to receive internet service.

The latest technology from AT&T is called as Project AirGig. The venture will deliver internet services to houses and business by using inexpensive plastic antennas and other devices along the power lines. This technology has also eliminated the need to install the costly fiber-optic cable.

AT&T recently said that they aim to deliver high-speed internet services to their subscribers in rural areas within the nation and abroad. Presently, the internet services in abroad rural areas are minimum or very less. President of AT&T Wisconsin, Scott VanderSanden shed some light on their latest plan and said that Project AirGig will be a “game-changer” for Wisconsin and other regions.

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AT&Ts New Venture

“Much of this is going to depend on how the field trials play out … but we are very optimistic this could work in the most remote areas of Wisconsin and also in some of the most urban and suburban areas of the state,” VanderSanden said. AT&T has also informed that the initial test conducted in their laboratory was encouraging and they are planning to conduct field trials on their latest technology.

“We think Project AirGig is unlike anything that’s out there. We’re experimenting with multiple ways to send a modulated radio signal around or near medium-voltage power lines,” AT&T said. However, they have not yet disclosed the location where field trials will be conducted. Reports indicate that some of the field trials of Project AirGig will be held overseas.

In a statement, AT&T’s chief strategy officer, John Donovan said that, “Project AirGig has tremendous potential to transform internet access globally.” However, AT&T is not the first company who came up with this idea. The electric utility on Washington Island in Door County had already done this a few years back but they had to discontinue the project due to reliability issues.

Manager of the Washington Island Electric Co-op, Robert Cornell said, “It was good for our system, in that we found a lot of things that were probably outages waiting to happen several years down the road. But it was a lot of maintenance.”

03 Oct

Chernin And AT&T Double Their Efforts To Attract YouTube Viewers

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YouTube Viewers

A new streaming service VRV is all set for launch, and it will feature videos from popular web channels including Cartoon Hangover, Rooster Teeth, and Crunchyroll. Moreover, VRV has also signed deals to acquire the rights for the web channels Machinima, Funimation, and CollegeHumor. These web channels are rumored to be the final additions of this streaming service before its debut. The streaming service will be available to the customers by the end of this year.

Almost tens of millions of viewers switch into these channels to access the quality entertaining programs they offer. The latest streaming service, VRV, is planning to bring the YouTube viewers and other paying subscribers to a single platform. In view of that, media executive Peter Chernin and AT&T Inc. have doubled their efforts in order to convince YouTube viewers to pay for the videos.

VRV is determined to create a web media brand, which will be able to stand out in crowded marketplaces. However, Otter-backed Ellation, the company that is launching VRV, has not yet set the price that customers will have to pay in order to access this streaming service.

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Chernin And AT&T Efforts

While streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon are offering wide variety of TV shows, fan favorite entertainment programs, blockbuster movies, and a lot more, VRV is trying to focus on the overlapping interests of the fans with caustic horror, video games, and anime offerings. In addition to that, VRV customers will also be able to watch videos free, pay for individual channels, or buy a bundled pack.

AT&T and Chernin had earlier made an unsuccessful attempt to buy Hulu LLC in 2013. However, AT&T and Chernin grew more interested in paid web video services since then. Otter Media is the joint venture cofounded by Chernin and AT&T a few years ago.

Otter Media has actually done well over the years, and they were able to acquire the rights of the web video company Fullscreen Inc. earlier. Mondo Media, an animation company based in San Francisco with large YouTube followers, has also agreed to produce new shows for VRV.

In an interview, Mondo Media’s CEO, John Evershed said, “We still plan to use YouTube to test shows, find an audience at scale and push them towards paying for content.”

30 Sep

Hulu And AT&T Plan To Offer New Skinny Bundle Offerings

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HULU – AT&T Skinny Package

Cable and satellite subscribers will once again be tempted to cut the cord, as major entertainment companies are bringing in more skinny bundle offerings. Hulu and AT&T shed more light into their new offering at the Advertising Week panel and admitted that they plan to target cord-nevers and cord-cutters.

Peter Naylor, senior vice president of advertising sales for Hulu, said that, “the way people are watching, a la carte and on demand, is the way of the future.”

AT&T Entertainment’s executive vice president and CMO, Brad Bentley, said, “We had the opportunity to deliver this premium experience with a greater choice in flexibility. We have a chance to really customize and personalize the experience using data.”

The latest streaming service from AT&T, DirecTV Now, will be available to the customers by the end of this year. AT&T is looking to attract more customers by offering over 100 popular TV channels, which broadcast fan favorite TV series, comedy programs, news updates, exclusive sports events, and a lot more.

Hulu is also ready to launch a skinny bundle of network and cable channels to their subscribers. This offer will be available to the Hulu subscribers by next year. “We’re trying to take the best of what we like, and a generous dose of reinvention,” Naylor said.

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DirecTV Now

He also added that audiences will be in for a treat and they will receive the best “user experience”, if major content providers allowed Hulu to offer their channels in their latest skinny bundle offerings. Time Inc.’s ad-supported People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN) was recently added to Hulu’s list of offerings.

Bruce Gersh, senior vice president for strategy and business development at Time Inc. said that the response was “fantastic.” He added, “Our advertising partners have really responded well.”

PEN network put up an 18-minute video about the recently divorced Hollywood celebrity couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie last Friday, which grabbed a lot of viewer attention. Gersh said, “It just shows that there’s excitement about the brand and the access we have.”

The number of ads aired on Hulu are also very less when compared with other providers. “You can’t mirror the ad load of a conventional TV experience and expect people to watch,” Naylor highlighted. He also added that majority of new subscribers opted for $7.99 per month plan rather than opting for the ad-free plan.

“We had the single biggest year in advertising the same year we introduced an ad-free service. But people want to be able to get what they want,” he said.

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