AT&T to launch DirecTV service without dish, set top box

A satellite dish would no longer be needed to get DirecTV, with parent

AT&T is launching three new streaming video options on DirecTV that do not require a satellite dish or set top box, from late this year.

They are DirecTV Now, a stream-based service that works with any internet capable device that AT&T arranged to host the app on; DirecTV Mobile, aimed at the consumers who wanted to watch on their smartphones; and DirecTV Preview, which would allow people to snack on DirecTV content for free.

''We're extending a product set that will give the customer some choice and options on how they consume premium pay TV content," John Stankey, the CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group said in an interview.

No dish, set-top box or annual contract would be required. Without disclosing pricing, Stankey said the new deals would be less expensive than current DirecTV bundles. Subscribers would, however, not get full-scale DVR capabilities, access to "stacked" multiple seasons of a given show or other premium features.

AT&T offered no specifics on the nature of content packages either, which included the possible availability of DirecTV's premium programming asset, NFL  Sunday Ticket.

''Because of the nature of our agreement with the NFL, we have some additional work to do to get their consent to include (Sunday Ticket) in the offer. We'd certainly like for that to occur but right now we don't have a commitment for that to happen,'' Stankey said.

Like other cable and satellite companies, AT&T is trying to win new customers by making it a little easier to sign up for and watch TV.

According to commentators, it was difficult to gauge how the deals would appeal to viewers, as it was not clear, what they were. AT&T, which bought DirecTV last year, had not provided details as to which channels or video would be available, or whether there would be any content blackouts on mobile devices or computers when one stepped out of one's house.

A number of web TV services had run into start up difficulties. Apple had announced a streaming service which failed to materialise, after reportedly hitting roadblocks in negotiations with channels. Sony's TV service, Vue, which launched featured many popular channels, but not those owned by Disney, like ESPN and Disney Channel.