Reinventing AT&T TV for 2020 – Initial Research

What’s the scoop?

In short, AT&T seems to be in a tight spot when attempting to offer a unique and appealing product given the current market of services available to consumers in 2020.

While there are a number of products that offer streaming services for a monthly fee, even if we are just looking at the ones that offer Live TV streaming, there is still hefty competition.

The Best Live TV Streaming Deals This Week*

Hulu: 7-day free trial of live sports, shows
SlingTV: $35 for your first month (includes ESPN, CNN, TNT, more)
Philo: 7-day free trial of live, on-demand TV
FuboTV: 7-day free trial of live streaming

– PC Mag –


The quick snapshot.

Upon reading some written reviews and Youtube reviews of AT&T’s streaming service, there are a few reasons that it seems to fall short of 2020 standards.

AT&T recently significantly increased the price of their service and also made a subscription to HBO a mandatory part of the package. They require upcharges or premiums in order to access popular channels such as CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, AND EXIX, as well as international packages. They have recently stopped supporting popular hardware such as Roku, which creates a barrier in the minds of consumers who do not want to have to invest in the installation and learning curve of new hardware. AT&T has also dropped a number of channels, which only decreases the overall appeal of their service.

My gut reaction to the information that I have gathered is that AT&T really needs to make some hard, and potentially sacrificial decisions about how to differentiate themselves from the crowd, especially given their less than shining reputation as a company in general. This statement also includes my personal bias as a long time AT&T customer who also pays for, or has dabbled in multiple other streaming services.

Other products are significantly more affordable than AT&T’s cheapest package. They offer a discount if you bundle with their internet service, but this seems to me like more more of a barrier to new customers (who may be happy with their internet provider) rather than an incentive.

With so many options out there, there doesn’t seem to be, at a glance, an obvious reason to go with AT&T for your streaming service unless you are already a very loyal AT&T customer. Even then, their website is confusing when disguising between three different services (I’m still not quite sure if they are separate services), AT&T TV, U-verse TV, and DIRECTV. Furthermore, the services is only available in the small area of the US at present.

Live TV alone feels like a dying service as a millennial consumer, who would never consider watching live TV unless it related to a very critical live event related to politics or sports.

The echoed positive review of AT&T TV seems to be their sleek and user friendly interface, which is fun and easy to use. However, users have been known to tolerate less than sleek interfaces in order to view the content that they really want to access.



After getting a basic lay of the land for streaming services as they exist right now, it is even more important to look towards the future of the services, and the trends that will likely emerge given what we know about human behavior and television consumption in the modern era.

Trends according to Kelton Tech:

  • Digital Originals are on the rise
  • Mobile is surpassing TV as Primary Content Consumption Channel
  • “Content Fragmentation” creates competition – forging strategic partnerships with networks and production companies etc in order to feature content exclusive to your service
  • Users devices are becoming congested with too many services and subscriptions

My simple personal brainstorm for AT&T:

  • Focusing on live sports television and optimizing the platform for sports consumers only with the interface and features that make watching live sporting events even more phenomenal
  • Offering as many channels as possible
  • Unlimited DVR Cloud Storage for as long as possible (ex: YoutubeTV offers 9 months of storage, where as AT&T currently only keeps for 30 days)
  • Definitely drop the necessity for their specific hardware, and instead make their product as easily accessible as possible to anyone who already owns hardware that allows streaming apps
  • Given that all other live TV streaming services seem to still have commercials, create a NO COMMERCIALS option (unsure of the legality of this)
  • Offline viewing as a priority as well as viewing content your phone or other devices
  • Multiple logins for family and friends plans


Main points:

  • Lack of channels is a key problem
  • Cloud storage also a key problem
  • Mandatory HBO seems to be unpopular
  • Requirement of AT&T’s hardware is inconvenient and outdated
  • Price does not match the service being provided
  • AT&T needs to look toward future trends and get ahead of their competitors in the changing landscape, rather than mimic current service providers

Other sources: