AT&T plans to push DirecTv aside

13 December 2015 by Steve Blum

The DirecTv brand will fade from the U.S. marketplace beginning next year. According to a story by Karl Bode in DSL Reports, AT&T will start the process of re-branding the service as AT&T in January, and will complete it when the company’s next generation television platform is launched. That also means that Uverse will begin to fade as well, positioned as AT&T’s “legacy TV offer”. The plan, according to Bode’s story, is to consolidate everything into a single architecture…

The company has previously stated that it’s developing a new gateway that will allow third-party broadband connections, LTE connections and AT&T broadband connections. Users will be offered a mish-mash of options depending on whether or not they’re inside AT&T’s fiber to the node footprint.

AT&T executive John Stankey has said that the carrier is moving to “one consistent architecture” for all TV and broadband users that will involve “very thin hardware profiles,” likely a nod to cloud DVR support. The company’s set top, router and gateway hardware “will become a consolidated, single platform over the next 24-36 months.”

The DirecTv and Sky brands will still be used outside of the U.S., at least for the near term.

I’m sorry to see the DirecTv brand fade, though. It’s a powerful brand, as I discovered in 1994 when DirecTv (owned by General Motors, via Hughes), Thomson Consumer Electronics (under the equally fearsome RCA brand) and my company, U.S. Satellite Broadcasting (USSB) launched the first digital DBS platform in the U.S., then called DSS, short for digital satellite system. The DirecTv brand proved dominant, and eventually everything, including USSB, was merged into it.

The brand is perfectly simple and explicit. In seven letters, it tells you exactly what it is and what you’ll get. AT&T, on the other hand, despite being one of the world’s most recognised brands, has never made that hard connection with television service in consumers’ minds. Don’t be surprised if DirecTv makes a comeback.