Ebitz, Mari-Elain mug 2018

Mari-Elain Ebitz

All Things Tech

Local stations removed from AT&T’s TV services

It wasn’t a Fourth of July to celebrate for everyone because some AT&T TV viewers lost their local stations that morning. AT&T and Nexstar are battling over fees, which resulted in local ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC affiliates being dropped on DIRECTV NOW, DirecTV and U-Verse TV in 97 markets.

Both parties claim the other dropped the stations.

Nexstar released a statement saying that they were “eager to complete an agreement with DIRECTV consistent with those it has made with every other cable, satellite and telco provider in order to end DIRECTV ’s action that is both unnecessary and punitive to its subscribers.”

AT&T replied in stronger terms, “We had hoped to prevent Nexstar from pulling its stations from our customers’ lineups and we offered Nexstar more money to keep them available. Nexstar simply said no and elected to remove them instead. Nexstar has chosen to hold our customers hostage ... they’ve done it to Cox Cable, DISH and Charter Spectrum and now to us. Nexstar is now demanding the largest increase AT&T has ever seen proposed by any content provider.”

There is some good news for subscribers in this brouhaha. AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW has negotiated with local affiliates owned by Sinclair and Scripps Company to add them to their lineup.

AT&T’s new streaming service to be called AT&T TV

In my last column, I mentioned the merger of DIRECTV NOW and Warner Media, resulting in a new streaming service for AT&T. However, now we find out that this new streaming service will replace DirecTV, their satellite TV service.

This is clearly a cost-saving move for AT&T since they will not have to send out installation techs to your house and no longer have to pay for satellites.

AT&T TV will soft launch test markets in August and a nationwide roll-out will be in the last quarter of this year; however, subscribers will need the new AT&T self-install streaming box, which will be available in AT&T stores. Reportedly, AT&T will stop selling new AT&T U-verse (fiber optic TV) subscriptions in those test markets.

College sports fans rejoice

If you can’t wait to watch AAC (American Athletic Conference) sports and are an ESPN+ subscriber, wait no more. ESPN and the AAC clinched a deal earlier this year bringing to ESPN a majority of AAC basketball and a large number of football games.

Although games will still be on ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPNU, many will move to ESPN+. Additionally, there is a new deal with the Big 12, in which an exclusive regular season football game from each participating school will air, as well as spring football games; all regular season and exhibition men’s basketball games (not on ESPN’s networks and expected to be 75+ games per year); women’s basketball and other conference sports such as volleyball, soccer, wrestling, softball, and baseball.

Plus, select Big 12 Conference championship events will be broadcast.

PlayStation Vue hikes price

In July, PlayStation Vue raised the monthly price to $49.99 for their Access Plan. New customers will pay this $5 increase now and current customers will pay it on or after July 31.

If your plan is the Core at $54.99, you have a cheaper alternative with YouTube TV. They have many of the same sports networks as the Core plan for $5 less per month.

Mari-Elain Ebitz was the first editor of the Greenbelt Gazette, which serves Sugarmill Woods, and is a past member of the College of Central Florida College Board of Trustees. She also does web design, specializing in not-for-profit organizations. You can email her at chronicletech@yahoo.com.

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