DirecTV to launch Android TV-based set-top

AT&T included photos of its new Android TV-powered DirecTV set-top in an FCC filing.

Further distancing itself from its recently acquired but fast-deteriorating linear satellite business, AT&T is developing a new Android TV-powered DirecTV set-top box that features no satellite connectivity at all. 

Variety found AT&T documents filed to the FCC outlining the new device, which goes by the model number C71KW-400 and is described as the “new AT&T/DirecTV wireless 4K OTT client.” In an associated user manual, AT&T said the device will interact with DirecTV’s existing Genie-branded CPE and will ship with a voice remote. Connectivity includes Ethernet, digital audio, HDMI and USB, but no antenna or satellite hookup. The devices will connect to the internet and the internet only. 

RELATED: AT&T Q3 earnings: DirecTV linear platform shrinks year over year for first time

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Notably, the device is based on Google’s Android TV operating system. The user manual even includes screenshots of associated services such as YouTube and Google Play. The latter digital store lets users download apps for Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now, apps compatible with Android TV. 

AT&T reported Tuesday that it added 296,000 users in the third quarter to its year-old DirecTV Now virtual platform, which now has around 800,000 customers. At the same time, the operator revealed losses of 251,000 linear satellite customers. Indeed, the DirecTV platform is 0.8% smaller than it was at the end of the third quarter of 2016, marking its first ever year-over-year customer losses. 

The development of an OTT box comes after Dish Network made its vMPVD service, Sling TV, the centerpiece of an OTT device released earlier this year, AirTV. That device combines the ability to stream Netflix and SlingTV as well as receive over-the-air broadcast channels.

It also comes a month after Arris revealed that it is developing a generation of Android TV-powered set-tops.

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