AT&T is again evolving DirecTV services, and is now pushing them even further into the modern, streaming-video era of entertainment. While we’ve compared DirecTV vs. Dish Network before, AT&T’s ongoing work in the area is creating an increasingly clear distinction. So let’s take a look at the latest changes.
Most of the changes affect the DirecTV app and the U-Verse app, which are in an uncomfortable, sort-of-the-same-thing phase for these services. With the new app, you can stream live channels as well as any recorded programs that you have (this includes on-demand content). You can also review those recorded programs offline (more on this in a bit). On the face this probably sounds familiar – many cable providers have offered very similar services for the past couple of years. But AT&T’s adoption of this streaming-first model is one of the largest, and DirecTV is one of the largest offerings, even more proof that streaming is really the future.
But that’s not all! If you use AT&T’s Data Free TV service through its mobile network, none of this streaming stuff will affect your mobile data caps at all – so you don’t have to worry about where you watch content.
Of course, if you’ve been following our detailing of telecom announcements, you know we have a healthy amount of skepticism about any new deal. Are there any secrets hiding in this massive app update? Yes – a couple things worth noting. First, that whole “watching content on our mobile network won’t affect data usage” deal is a little troubling, especially for fans of net neutrality. Basically, AT&T is treating its customers far better than other mobile users, even if they are accessing the same data in the same network, which raises a few tricky questions.
Second, the requirements for this deal are a little sticky. AT&T makes it clear that “access to content varies by package” and that “not all channels” will be available, so you aren’t guaranteed the ability to stream everything. It’s also worth nothing that you need a DirecTV subscription above a certain tier, as well as a Genie HD DVR 44 or better model to take advantage of these streaming possibilities.