DirecTV Now is gaining some features likely essential to subscribers to the streaming video service: a cloud DVR and a third video stream.
AT&T’s streaming service (starts at $35 monthly; you can get a free 7-day trial at directvnow.com) had been testing a free cloud-based virtual digital video recorder that saves 20 hours of programming with some subscribers.
Now, as part of an overall makeover for the service, all of its subscribers will begin getting the feature, the service says on its website. Initially it’s only available on Apple devices (using iOS 10 and higher) including Apple TV, and Chromecast devices and TVs, as well as Google Chrome and Safari browsers.
The update is coming soon to additional Android OS and Chromecast devices, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku devices.
Also now available: a third simultaneous video stream (so three people can view different programming on one account) for $5 additionally each month.
Later this summer, subscribers who find they need a larger cloud DVR will be able to pay an additional $10 monthly to expand the recording capacity to 100 hours.
It make sense that AT&T is adding some features subscribers might want to pay for as AT&T “company executives have said they hope to make DirecTV Now profitable in part by offering add-on features for fees in addition to the programming packages,” said Phil Swann, president of TVPredictions.com.
DirecTV Now is priced below some of its competitors, such as Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which offers five simultaneous streams. But those are included in the subscription price. Early in DirecTV Now’s lifespan, AT&T has kept the entry price relatively low for consumers to drive adoption, but takes a hit to its bottom line. “It remains to be seen if cord-cutters will go along with AT&T’s strategy,” Swann said.
Another plan from AT&T: a version of the DirecTV satellite service that’s delivered via broadband, but different from DirecTV Now, AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan said Tuesday at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in San Francisco.
That would add to AT&T’s offerings, which also include AT&T’s U-Verse fiber-delivered pay-TV service and the recently-announced AT&T Watch $15-monthly “skinny bundle,” announced last month. “So today, we sit with 2 products, and what I just described there will give us a 5-product portfolio with various price points and various addressable markets,” Donovan said.
Also part of DirecTV Now’s new features: the ability to watch your local networks while you are traveling and an expanded library of on-demand programs.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.