We're about to learn whether AT&T's new streaming video service can go toe-to-toe with the likes of Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. AT&T is planning a Nov. 28 launch event in New York for DirecTV Now.
We already know a little bit about DirecTV Now, based on information that's trickled out from AT&T since it began hinting at the service earlier this year. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said back in October that DirecTV Now would start at $35 a month and offer more than 100 channels.
What we don't know yet is exactly what those channels will be, and since streaming services rise and fall largely on whether they can provide the shows people want to watch, that will be a critical detail to find out before we can say whether DirecTV's a better option than Sling TV, PlayStation Vue or the other services aimed at competing with bloated and expensive cable TV packages.
That said, on price and channel quantity alone, DirecTV Now looks intriguing. Sling TV costs less, starting at $20 a month, but that tier only offers 20 channels. PlayStation Vue's entry-level package (currently priced at $40 a month) offers 45 channels, but that's still a far cry from the number that AT&T is bandying about with DirecTV Now.
We've heard rumors about some of the channels that might find their way onto DirecTV Now. In October, Variety reported that Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps and A+E Networks would have channels on the service. Expect the official word to come down on Nov. 28. We'll also likely learn what devices DirecTV Now will work with, as rumors suggest that AT&T will offer either a free Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick to anyone who signs up for the service.
We also hope to learn how much control users will have over the platform. Will DirecTV Now let users record content for viewing later on? Will it include must-have DVR features like being able to pause programming? And how will it handle commercials?
The service is arguably the most important announcement AT&T has made since it acquired DirecTV last year in a deal valued at $48.5 billion. While DirecTV is still operating as a standalone satellite television provider, AT&T hopes to expand its programming to more places. DirecTV Now is an opportunity to do just that.
Tom's Guide will be there on Nov. 28 when AT&T takes the wraps off DirecTV Now and we can start filling in those details.