AT&T TV Now is no longer accepting new subscribers

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AT&T TV Now — the fifth largest live TV streaming service in the United States — is no longer accepting new subscribers.

That's according to an alert on the AT&T TV Now website that clearly states the following:

AT&T TV NOW packages are no longer available for new customers. Current AT&T TV NOW customers can continue to access their service here.

Existing AT&T TV Now customers can continue to use the streaming service, AT&T told us over email. 

Really, all this means is the AT&T TV Now name is going away. It also doesn't mean AT&T is getting out of the streaming business, because you can watch AT&T TV — which, you know, streams — on the same devices, like Amazon Fire TV, Roku Apple TV and more. (But not Android TV, though. For whatever reason, that's still verboten.)

“We’re bringing more value and simplicity by merging these two streaming services into a single AT&T TV experience,” said Vince Torres, SVP, Marketing, AT&T. “Customers can stream the best collection of live and on-demand programming on devices they already have, or they can get our exclusive AT&T TV STREAM Device to enjoy enhanced features and functionality.”

The change simultaneously ends and creates more confusion around AT&T's already confusing strategy.

AT&T TV Now is the former DirecTV Now, which was the streaming service that lived alongside the DirecTV satellite service. The service was rebranded as part of a larger reorganization within AT&T. (Which, by the way, also owns HBO Max.)

Then came AT&T TV, which didn't help clear things up any. It's an IP-based (as in not cable and not satellite) linear TV service that requires new hardware, and AT&T has been strongly pushing it since launch.

Meanwhile, AT&T TV Now (and DirecTV Now) has been hemorrhaging subscribers for years. It sported some 1.84 million subs back in the third quarter of 2018 but has fallen ever quarter since, most recently reporting some 683,000 subscribers, or only about 138,000 more than its closest competitor, FuboTV.

AT&T had more packages than just about any other streaming service, too, and in recent years AT&T had used it to help boost the subscriber numbers for the legacy HBO service, including it in a $55-a-month plan with around 40 other linear channels. Things got bigger and more expensive from there, with its "Ultimate" package weighing in at a whopping $135 a month for more than 125 channels, including regional sports and local networks.

AT&T isn't going quite the same route as Sony did a year ago, when it gave customers three months' notice that it was shutting down PlayStation Vue, its live TV streaming service. AT&T TV Now just isn't accepting any new subscribers is all. And that you basically have exactly the same service in the form of AT&T TV Now. 

Other options available in the United States, in addition to the aforementioned FuboTV, are Hulu With Live TV — which is the No. 1 service in the U.S. with more than 4.1 million subscribers — followed by YouTube TV with more than 3 million subs, and Sling TV, which had 2.458 million subscribers at last count. There's also Philo, which has 750,000 subscribers for its skinny bundle of channels, which costs just $20 a month.

Phil Nickinson

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.