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The DirecTV Now Name Must Be the Real Problem, Decides AT&T

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For anyone having trouble keeping track of streaming service names (see my last blog on the many flavors of HBO), AT&T has a new headache for you: DirecTV Now is becoming AT&T TV Now,.

BlogDirecTV Now is the satellite service's clueless attempt at a skinny bundle. It starts at $50 per month and includes such basic cable essentials as HLN, Revolt, TruTV, and Ovation—channels the average cord-cutter is trying to get away from. The higher-end DirecTV Now Max service includes 15 more channels and goes for $70 per month. With offerings like these, it's no wonder skinny bundles aren't taking off.

Hoping to fix the situation, corporate parent AT&T has decided that a name change is just the thing. So DirecTV Now will become AT&T TV Now later this summer. That seems to be the only change, as subscribers will access the service through the same app with the same credentials.

AT&T quickly decided that the DirecTV brand it bought in 2015 is toxic, and it's true that people hate pay TV companies. But people aren't that fond of phone carriers, either. I had DirecTV for many years, and unless there was heavy rain or snow it worked just fine. I've had AT&T phone service for the same amount of time, and I can't get a connection in the middle of Manhattan even when I have four bars. So I have my own opinion about which is the weaker brand name.

When AT&T TV Now rolls out, don't confuse it with AT&T TV, a new service AT&T will launch first in select markets later this year. Both will be accessible through the same apps, but AT&T TV is a direct replacement for DirecTV, meant to deliver a similar service without the need for a satellite dish. The company hasn't announced details yet, so we'll all have to wait and see.

All of this ignores the fact that what people want from an online bundle is a few dozen live channels that include locals and basic cable favorites—and they want it at a low monthly price! Keep it simple. Maybe a few more quarters of declining subscriptions will show AT&T execs the problem with their plans. Or maybe they'll just rename the service one more time and hope that does the trick.

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