AT&T hopes to eliminate truck rolls on new Directv video installations by using a box dubbed “Osprey” in place of a satellite dish, said John Stephens, AT&T senior executive vice president and chief financial officer at an investor conference today.
“The only truck roll is a UPS truck,” Stephens said.
End-users will “hook the box into a broadband line” from AT&T or another service provider in lieu of having a satellite dish installed by AT&T technicians, Stephens said – a comment that implies the offering will work with a new streaming version of Directv service that AT&T first began talking about in late 2017.
Not to be confused with DIRECTV NOW, a separate “skinnier” OTT streaming service, this next iteration of Directv aims to eventually replace DBS delivered video content, according to past statements from AT&T executives.
AT&T Osprey Box
The Osprey box is currently being tested by AT&T employees, Stephens said. Some employees previously leaked information about the Osprey box via Reddit, and the Cord Cutters News website ran what the author said was a photo of the box, but until now AT&T has made few, if any, official statements about the box.
Stephens did not say when the box would be released publicly but he did say it would be “the next step” in taking cost out of the company’s video offerings.
That could be quite soon, as AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson previously said the company would have a thin set-top box client to support the streaming version of Directv this quarter.
The streaming version of AT&T’s Directv linear TV offering is just one of at least six different video offerings the company offers or plans to offer, including several planned subscription video on demand (SVOD) offerings that would compete with SVOD services from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others.
At the investor event today, Stephens offered a few more details about the SVOD offerings, which he referred to as “direct to consumer” services and which he said are planned for availability in the fourth quarter. He noted that HBO is likely to be an important piece of multiple offerings, perhaps including one offering emphasizing Warner Brothers content and another emphasizing live TV.
Several times in his talk at the conference, Stephens spoke of AT&T’s plan to use advertising to enable the company to offer video services at prices customers are willing to pay and that also provide AT&T and content providers with the margins that they expect.
Stephens made his comments at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, which was also webcast.