AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has joined the ever-more crowded TV streaming space and is now offering AT&T TV nationwide.
If the company's Warner Media unit is going to compete for entertainment eyeballs, streaming really isn't optional anymore — it's where viewers are going.
About 5.5 million cable and satellite TV customers cut the cord last year, a roughly 8% decline in traditional TV delivery, according to The Wall Street Journal.
"We’ve been on a march to rationalize our portfolio since we did the DirecTV acquisition and AT&T TV is just the next logical step in that occurring," AT&T COO John Stankey, who heads up the Warner Media unit, told CNBC earlier this week.
Here's what you should know about AT&T TV.
What's Included With AT&T TV
The service includes live TV — more than 100 channels in the basic package — along with 40,000 on-demand titles. The number of on-demand titles rises with higher tier packages.
The sports channels available include ESPN, FS1 and NBC Sports, among others. TBS, CBS and TNT, all of which will broadcast March Madness college basketball games, also are included.
The service also includes cloud storage of recorded content.
What AT&T TV Costs
The basic package is $45.99 a month. The medium-tier package is $54.99 and the top-of-the-line "Xtra" package is $64.99.
What AT&T TV Really Costs
Some costs may not be well-publicized. AT&T said in the fine print on its website that the $45.99 price is for one year when users sign up for a two-year term, and the second year cost is higher — though it doesn't say how much higher. It also doesn't include taxes. If you want regional sports networks, that will add $8.49.
But there are also discounts for bundling your AT&T TV with other services, like internet, and a sign-up deal exists that could result in a $250 rebate.
Other AT&T TV Features
AT&T is touting that its service includes Voice Remote with the Google Assistant, so you don't have to actually pick up the remote: you can search for TV shows or movies with voice commands.
AT&T has signed up LeBron James, Missy Elliott, Tracy Morgan and Cookie Monster for ads touting the new service.
AT&T Faces Competitive Streaming Sector
The streaming service is the latest to join a crowded field, where competitors already include the pioneer of the industry, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX), and recent entrants Apple Inc. (NASDAQ; AAPL) and Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), as well as streaming services from Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), DISH Network Corp.'s (NASDAQ: DISH) Sling TV, and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA), among others.
AT&T Warner Media will launch another streaming service, HBO Max, in May.
Stankey said at the recent Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that more than 10 million HBO subscribers will be offered access to HBO Max when it launches.
AT&T Price Action
AT&T shares were down 3% at $37.03 at the time of publication Thursday.
Photo courtesy of AT&T.