DirecTV Now sets launch, will support two concurrent streams

DirecTV Now appears to be launching with two concurrent streams available per account—more than Sling, but fewer than many hoped. Image: DirecTV Now

As AT&T gets ready to spill the details of its new virtual pay-TV service at a launch party late Monday afternoon in New York City, one of DirecTV Now’s most speculated-about features may have already been revealed. 

According to upstart Chinese e-tailer LeEco, the over-the-top service will allow only two concurrent streams—one more than is offered in the base package of the leading market incumbent, Dish Network’s Sling TV, but fewer than the five concurrent streams video service pundits had been hoping for. 

AT&T reps didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquiry for confirmation and comment. 

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Known as the “Netflix of China,” LeEco announced in October that it is marketing consumer electronics, as well as wireless and SVOD services in the U.S.

Cord Cutter News was the first to discover the product page offering three free months of the $35-a-month DirecTV Now service when consumers buy select TVs and smart phones. 

RELATED: ‘Netflix of China’ LeEco to launch smart phones, smart TVs and streaming service in the U.S.

“Limit two concurrent streams per account,” the promotion said. 

AT&T has been careful not to bill the new virtual service as a replacement for traditional pay TV, adopting what has become a party line for such IP-based products—DirecTV Now, the company said, is merely going after the 20 million or so U.S. broadband homes without pay TV.

Analysts like UBS’ John Hodulik predicted that DirecTV Now’s quality user experience will give it a market share of nearly 3 million users by 2020. However, limiting the number of TV users in a household who can watch a service to just two would limit DirecTV Now’s potential to become a true pay-TV replacement. 

AT&T will reveal more details about its service at an invitation-only event in New York City Monday afternoon. The service is set to launch with more than 100 channels.