Earlier today DIRECTV NOW underwent a major pricing and channel restructuring following the initial announcement from AT&T yesterday.
In essence, the four plans that were previously available are now gone and replaced by two new plans. These newer options cost more while also providing access to less channels.
While AT&T did officially announce the two new plans, what wasn’t announced at the time is the other packages that are also now available.
Prior to today, rumors had been circulating that AT&T intended to launch streaming-only versions of its satellite service, DIRECTV, plans. That’s now what seems to have happened although they have arrived under the DIRECTV NOW banner.
Again, the updated AT&T website does not actively promote these plans and instead only highlights the new “Plus” and “Max” plans on the main page. However, if you click on any of the “Get one month free” buttons you will be directed to a new page - click here to be redirected to that page.
On first impression this page also only offers the option to choose from the Plus and Max options, but if you then click on the small “See more packages” tab at the bottom, the page will expand revealing the additional plans.
In total there are four main satellite-equivalent plans on offer: Entertainment, Choice, Xtra, and Ultimate. In spite of them now appearing on the DIRECTV NOW website, the DIRECTV satellite service has offered plans with these names for some time. In principle, they seem to be the exact same plans just now available in streaming form as well.
Entertainment costs $93 per month and in return offers access to a minimum of 65 channels. That’s 15 channels more than the DIRECTV NOW Max plan offers. Choice sees the monthly price rise to $110 and along with that price increase the number of channels goes up to 85, while Xtra comes with 105 channels for $124 per month. Lastly, the most robust option, Ultimate provides access to 125 channels but sees the price escalate to $135 per month.
There’s also a Spanish-language option, Optimo Mas, that provides access to 90 channels for $86 per month.
What is clear here is AT&T has now separated packages based on the number of channels included.
For example, when introducing the two new DIRECTV NOW plans, the company stripped back the number of channels on offer including a number of major ones such as AMC and Discovery. Although all of these channels are available through the four additional plans.
This is likely why AT&T is able to continue to offer access to these channels to customers who are grandfathered into one of the older plans - AT&T has not broken ties with these networks, just shifted their availability from the two ‘cheaper plans’ to the more expensive ones.
Interestingly, AT&T has opted to not include HBO as part of the additional streaming plans, meaning customers who opt for the far higher-priced packages will still have to pay for HBO separately. This is in spite of HBO now being bundled in with the two cheaper plans.
As a result, if you were to opt for the Ultimate plan and then add HBO to the mix, the price would come in at $150 per month.