AT&T launches new online TV service as video customers fall

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T is launching a new internet-delivered TV service Monday as it struggles with a shrinking DirecTV satellite business.

The new service, AT&T TV, will have most of the same channels offered on DirecTV, but it’ll come over the internet rather than a satellite dish. AT&T has been testing the service in 13 markets and is now making it available to anyone.

AT&T will send subscribers an Android streaming-TV box to use the service. The free device will also come with Netflix and other streaming apps, the way Comcast’s X1 cable box does. Additional boxes cost $120.

The channel lineups and prices are comparable with what’s available from DirecTV, but AT&T TV doesn’t have NFL Sunday Ticket, a package of out-of-market football games.

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The company is trying to adapt to the shift to streaming video, as subscribers to traditional cable and satellite TV services fall. In May, it’s launching HBO Max, a $15-a-month streaming service that will marry HBO shows with original programs and TV shows and movies from WarnerMedia. AT&T also has an online package that started as a cheaper service with fewer channels than a traditional bundle, but it is shedding customers after price increases. AT&T is now trying to downplay that service in favor of the new AT&T TV.

Customers don’t need to be AT&T internet or wireless customers to sign up, although there are discounted packages available. And the company is promoting the service by saying it won’t count against AT&T data caps.

By itself, AT&T TV starts at $50 a month for a year with a two-year contract. As with many traditional TV services, the promo rate expires after a year. Some packages also come with a $8.50 fee for regional sports.

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