Verizon could be joining its pay TV and broadband rivals in building its own proprietary streaming box.
It’s unclear what Verizon’s potential plans for Stream TV could be. But the device doesn’t seem to be far off from the Android TV-based device AT&T is developing for its upcoming AT&T TV streaming service or the box developed by Comcast for its Xfinity Flex service.
Verizon for years worked toward building its own streaming TV service similar to DirecTV Now and Sling TV, but the company eventually ditched those plans. Now Verizon has a deal in place with virtual MVPD YouTube TV to sell the service directly to its 5G in-home internet customers. Earlier this year Verizon expanded that deal and announced plans to sell YouTube TV directly to its wireless and broadband subscribers. The company said it would offer “unique, high-value YouTube TV promotions to customers across platforms.”
Another question surrounding Stream TV is how much (if anything) Verizon might charge its customers for the device. Comcast’s new service Xfinity Flex offers a streaming device and aggregated platform for streaming services, all for $5 per month.
AT&T TV, which is getting a beta launch this summer, will use an IP connection instead of a satellite dish, and will operate on a proprietary Android TV set-top box that AT&T is currently testing. It’s unclear what AT&T will charge customers for its streaming box. Currently, DirecTV waives the cost of the first set-top box and charges $5/month for each additional receiver.
Of course, the idea of leasing a connected TV device from a provider inevitably runs up against the argument of whether it makes more sense to simply buy a $30 or $40 streaming stick from Amazon, Google or Roku.