DirecTV streaming services won't require a satellite dish

AT&T is joining Dish and others in offering internet-only viewing.

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AT&T isn't about to sit on its thumbs while Dish's Sling TV scoops up people eager to ditch conventional TV. It's introducing a trio of DirecTV streaming services in the fourth quarter of this year that won't require a satellite dish or existing AT&T services -- your phone, PC or media hub will be fine. The core service is DirecTV Now, which will offer "much" of DirecTV's regular live and on-demand content. If you're only interested in handheld video, DirecTV Mobile will offer a mix of "premium" videos and digital content on phones. And if you just want a peek, DirecTV Preview will give you a free, ad-supported slice of content from the networks and Otter Media, AT&T's online team-up with the Chernin Group.

The company isn't spilling the beans on pricing beyond vague promises that the paid services will be "affordable" and allow for multiple simultaneous streams. So long as they're reasonably down to Earth, though, this is a big move for AT&T. Rather than try to cling to traditional TV for as long as possible, it's anticipating a day when many (if not most) of its customers are depending solely on a fast internet connection for all their video viewing. AT&T clearly stands to profit from that shift given high-priced internet services like Gigapower, but it beats pretending that the future will never come.