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AT&T Missed a Few AT&T TV Cons, We Decided to Help Out

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AT&T recently sent out a Tweet explaining the pros and cons of AT&T TV. However, the company seems to have accidentally missed a few of the cons. These things do happen so we thought it only right to help out by filling in some of the missing pieces for AT&T. After all, we’re sure the company would want consumers to have a complete picture of its new service before signing up.

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It is understandable how these accidents occur, and AT&T’s Tweet did point out that “the pros column writes itself.” It is just a shame that the cons column of using AT&T also couldn’t write itself – or someone even write it. For reference, here’s the original Tweet with the (partially) filled pros and cons table.

As you can, AT&T has highlighted how its service comes with “all your entertainment together in one place.” What AT&T is referring to here is the set-top box the company offers with its new TV service. The rest of the pros consist of a voice remote, live TV and sports, 500 hours of cloud DVR, and the option to watch on other devices, such as a smartphone.

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AT&T TV Cons

When it comes to the cons list, however, AT&T forgot to mention anything beyond “your friends may miss you.” So here’s a roundup of the other cons that we’re sure AT&T meant to include, but forgot.

Two-year agreements

While live TV streaming services are all about consumer control and the removal of long-term contracts, AT&T TV is not. Instead, consumers are expected to sign up to a 24-month agreement. That’s considerable longer than the one month live TV streaming services typically require.

Price increase in the second year

Price increases are nothing new in live TV streaming and just about every service encountered at least one price increase in 2019. Therefore, the suggestion AT&T TV will see a price increase at some point is not unusual. However, while services tend to increase by $5 or $10 each time a hike is applied, AT&T TV’s price rise is not already confirmed, but is significantly higher. For example, the company’s “Entertainment” plan is priced at $49.99 per month and rises to $93 per month in the second year. That’s the entry-level plan.

To be clear, these are not technically price increases, as the higher prices are the normal rates. AT&T TV is simply offering a discounted price per month during the first year. As a result, it might have been more accurate to have labelled this section as “crazy expensive plans” instead of “price increase in the second year” – although the end result is the same.

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Early termination fee

Again, with most live TV streaming services adopting a no-commitment approach, leaving a service is as easy as hitting the “cancel subscription” button. With users paying each month in advance, they typically retain access to the service for the remainder of the month and then they are done.

In contrast, as AT&T TV subscribers have signed a two-year agreement, if they opt to cancel they will incur an early termination fee. How much will depend on how long is left in the contract, considering AT&T charges a flat $15 per month for each month remaining. For example, new subscribers have fourteen days to cancel for free, otherwise a cancellation in the first month would result in a $360 charge.

You can see how the charge is broken down by month in this handy table AT&T has provided.

Taxes & RSNs fee

RSNs have been in the news a lot recently considering so many live TV streaming services are dropping them in order to keep costs down. In this sense, it is good that they are available through AT&T TV. What’s more, many subscribers to other live TV streaming services would probably (happily) pay an additional fee to keep access to select RSNs. As for taxes, well, they’re taxes.

However, considering the RSNs are not optional with AT&T, and considering how expensive the service will be in the second year, any additional costs are an additional negative.

AT&T TV set-top box required

Another con that AT&T forgot to mention is how its new set-top box is not optional. While subscribers can also access the service on other devices, they will still be required to have at least one of these boxes. That’s not such a good thing considering consumers clearly prefer to choose their equipment and platform.

What’s more, and in spite of the higher monthly cost overall, this is not a free box. Subscribers who do not return the device within 14 days of cancelling, will incur a charge. At present, the set-top box fee is $120.

The bottom line

AT&T TV will be an ideal service for many consumers, as it gives them the option to maintain a TV experience similar to cable and satellite services, along with all the benefits of a streaming platform, and without any of the problems associated with a streaming alternative.

However, for those who have embraced cord cutting, the use of lengthy contracts, company hardware requirements, price hikes in the second year, as well as additional various fees and charges, AT&T TV is probably not going to be their first choice.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

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