It’s no secret that TV providers periodically raise their prices, so it came as little surprise when AT&T recently levied price increases up to $8 on DIRECTV and U-verse plans. Subscribers of traditional TV services are familiar with price increases like this one from AT&T. After all, it’s why many have decided to cut the cord in favor of streaming services like DIRECTV NOW and Hulu.
But what happens when the streaming services start raising their prices? We’ll soon find out as AT&T made some big changes, including price increases, to their DIRECTV NOW service.
How did DIRECTV NOW packages change?
DIRECTV NOW previously gave streamers 5 package options, ranging from 65 to 125+ channels starting at $40 to $75 per month. With the new changes, DIRECTV NOW will offer only 2 packages, “PLUS” and “MAX,” starting at $50 and $70 per month, respectively.
Package options and pricing aren’t the only things to change. The new packages now include HBO®, HBO Family® and HBO Latino®, but some channels in the old DIRECTV NOW packages are missing.
The new DIRECTV NOW packages offer 40 to 50+ total channels, a significant decrease from the number of channels previously available. Popular channels that didn’t make the cut include A&E, AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery Channel, MTV and Nickelodeon.
What it means for current DIRECTV NOW customers
If you already have DIRECTV NOW, you can choose to keep your package, but at a cost. Prices for all previous DIRECTV NOW packages from the “Live a Little” to the “Gotta Have It” will increase $10 per month. Additionally, adding HBO® will cost an extra $15 now, and Cinemax® or STARZ® will cost $11.
You also have the option to “upgrade” from your grandfathered package to either the new Plus or Max packages. You’ll lose some channels if you opt for a new package, but if you find picking up HBO a fair trade, it may be worth the switch. Keep in mind, however, that if you give up your grandfathered package, you won’t be able to get it back.
What it means for people considering new DIRECTV NOW service
New customers can choose from the PLUS and MAX packages but are not eligible for any of the former DIRECTV NOW options. Both new packages include HBO and the MAX package includes Cinemax along with some extra sports channels.
If you want to try out DIRECTV NOW before committing to one of the new packages, you’re in luck. AT&T is extending their free trial period from a week to a full month for a limited time. After the month, you can continue service for the regular monthly rate, or cancel free of charge. As with previous DIRECTV NOW packages, no contract is required and you can cancel at any time.
AT&T is banking big on HBO to entice new DIRECTV NOW customers, but if HBO is something you could do without, you might want to consider other streaming services or a traditional TV service. For example, AT&T’s WatchTV app doesn’t include HBO, but it gives you 35+ channels for a lower price than DIRECTV NOW packages.
Why is AT&T raising prices on U-verse, DIRECTV and DIRECTV NOW?
The main reason TV providers raise prices is due to cost increases, and increased programming costs from the networks can be a big contributor to that. Increased costs from the networks seem to be the catalyst behind the recent AT&T price increase. When asked about the price increases, AT&T stated their most recent cost increases were due to “increasing programming costs and changing customer trends.”
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