AT&T is working on a unified platform for all of its video services, including DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, and U-verse TV. A DIRECTV NOW Cloud DVR will be the first feature to show up from this new platform evolution, coming this summer, the company announced.
Currently, AT&T operates three separate video platforms, including its satellite based DIRECTV, its OTT offer DIRECTV NOW, and its IPTV service U-verse TV. That’s a costly, complicated, and unsustainable approach. Hence the move to a single, unified video platform, which the company has been discussing for a couple years now.
“We all want easy and quick access to our content, regardless of where, when or on what device we watch it,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Entertainment Group in a press release. “By developing for a single video platform, we’ll deliver new features and platform innovations in a faster, more efficient way. And it will be simple and consistent wherever you watch—TV, phone or tablet.”
The process will take considerable time. DIRECTV NOW is the launch platform for this new unified video experience. Beta testing of the DIRECTV NOW cloud DVR will begin ‘this summer,’ with no firm date offered. Following that, AT&T will begin the process of rolling out the platform across all of its services, with a companion DIRECTV app next in line after the cloud DVR beta launch, the company announced.
Other features of the unified platform discussed in the press release include pausing live TV, parental controls, individual user profiles, downloadable content to go, and 4K HDR. DIRECTV NOW is playing a bit of catch up with cloud DVR, given most OTT competitors including Sling, PS Vue, and even new entrants CenturyLink, and YouTube TV already have the feature.
The process will take some time to reach all of these platforms, including U-verse TV, which has been discontinued. Despite moving on from the IPTV platform for new sign-ups, AT&T did amass over 4 million IPTV customers, many of whom will have to be serviced for some time to come.
Highlighting the realistic timeframe to convert all of these customers on today’s separate platforms to a new, unified platform, AT&T says, “Customers of other AT&T video services will have the opportunity to start using the new platform in the coming years.”