October 26, 2017
AT&T’s DirecTV is preparing to launch a new TV set-top box based on Google’s Android TV platform. A new FCC filing reveals that the satellite TV company is trying its hand at over-the-top streaming, with the model number C71KW-400 set-top box, described as the “AT&T/DirecTV Wireless 4K OTT Client.” The accompanying user manual, which defines OTT as delivering video via the Internet to user-connected devices, notes that the device will not be able to interact with DirecTV’s current Genie hardware.
Variety reports that the manual also “hints at a future hardware product called HS27,” and “reveals that the set-top will ship with a voice remote with integrated touch pad.” A look at the photos show that the device “has Ethernet, digital audio, HDMI and USB ports, but no antenna connectivity,” and “a screenshot shows images of Google’s YouTube and Google Play Movies services running on the device.”
With access to the Google Play Store, users “will be able to install Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu and other video apps as well.”
DirecTV Now, launched about a year ago, already offers service via the Internet, the fruition of AT&T signaling that it planned to “eventually embrace online video delivery for its TV services.” The new set-top box, however, isn’t branded as DirecTV Now, which “means that it will likely be made available to new or existing subscribers of AT&Ts or DirecTV’s traditional TV service.”
AT&T has not released a ship date for the set-top box or the delivery of OTT video but, says Variety, “the timing of the filing suggests that the company may unveil the service soon, with CES 2018 being a likely venue for such an announcement.”