AT&T is adding enhancements to its DirecTV TV Everywhere app, which now allows AT&T wireless customers to stream video from DirecTV without worrying about monthly data caps. Customers have to be both DirecTV and AT&T wireless customers to stream video to their wireless devices without impacting their monthly data allowance.
The updated DirecTV TV Everywhere app allows subscribers to access live linear channels and DVR recordings on mobile devices. Streaming video will work through both WiFi and mobile data services like 4G LTE.
According to an AT&T press release, the updated DirecTV TV Everywhere app enhancements include:
- Stream Live Channels – Access to live programming that you subscribe to on DIRECTV (up to 315 different channels), almost anywhere you have internet access, whether it’s via Wi-Fi or mobile network. You can restart shows in progress or watch shows that aired in the last 72 hours – even if you forgot to record them!
- Stream Recorded Programs – Access to content recorded on your home DVR via your mobile device, wherever you have internet access, whether it’s via Wi-Fi or mobile network.
- View Recorded Programs Offline – Ability to download almost all recorded content from your home DVR to your mobile device via your home Wi-Fi network. Once downloaded, you can watch that program anywhere, even if you’re on a plane – no internet required.
Linear channel availability is limited, subject to content rights, but does include local broadcast channels in some markets.
What About Net Neutrality?
Perhaps the most interesting news with these enhancements is the so called ‘zero rating’ implication, which means AT&T customers can watch video without worrying about it impacting their monthly data allotment. By operating both wireless and video networks, AT&T is creating competitive advantage, particularly over cable companies.
Comcast and other cable MSOs can offer TV Everywhere, but streaming that content on mobile devices can potentially count against a Comcast subscriber’s wireless data allotment. Competing wireless companies like Sprint and T-Mobile are now offering unlimited data plans (with some restrictions), so there is somewhat lessened competitive advantage for AT&T with them. Dish has no option to zero rate their video content line-up for TV Everywhere.
This has interesting net neutrality implications. The FCC may be compelled to open a net neutrality inquiry, given the perceived preferential treatment of AT&T’s video content, over others like Netflix and Amazon Video. I suspect Verizon may soon offer a similar option for FiOS subscribers.