This week we learned that AT&T is building an Android TV-powered streaming player. The limited information on the FCC filing clearly points to it being built to stream AT&T’s DIRECTV service.
What did we learn? Here is a quick breakdown of some of the hints to the future of DIRECTV NOW.
Android TV Support
Back when AT&T announced the new DVR, they had a few other announcements that ended up being overshadowed. The other big announcement was that AT&T was building a new app that would unify DIRECTV NOW and DIRECTV satellite customers.
The new DVR feature needs the new app to work and, according to all reports, later this year when the DVR launches this new app will start rolling out.
The fact that DIRECTV is building a new streaming player for Android TV likely means that the new DIRECTV app will support Android TV and allow DIRECTV NOW customers to also stream on Android TV.
At this time there is no official DIRECTV app for Android TV. So any new app for Android TV is likely to be built off of the new app for both satellite and DIRECTV. This would explain why the current DIRECTV NOW app never got an Android TV version.
At the same time, AT&T announced the DVR and new app they also announced plans to offer 4K streaming. This new Android TV box offers 4K streaming, and it is likely to be the first device to stream 4K DIRECTV NOW.
4K streaming on demand is becoming more common, but 4K live streaming is still something new. AT&T owning the streaming player that offers 4K live TV streaming could give them better control over the quality of their stream. While many devices offer 4K, having the ability to control both the software and hardware will give AT&T more control over the performance of 4K for their viewers.
The move into 4K live streaming could explain why AT&T would want their own device to help make the first steps into 4K.
A Greater Focus on Streaming
This box is a step toward a greater focus on streaming. It is aimed at both DIRECTV NOW and DIRECTV satellite customers, but it does not link in with their current DIRECTV satellite hardware.
While it is highly unlikely that AT&T will shut down their traditional service anytime soon, it seems that they are slowly moving to make streaming a bigger part of their business.
What is the timeline for the DVR?
This does not give us any hints at the DVR timeline. AT&T is already testing the new DIRECTV NOW app on Fire TV, Apple TV, Mobile, and Chromecast. They will likely come out before this player hits the market.
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