12
May
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Satellite television has been experiencing a rough transition as consumers in the US increasingly turn to internet-based video services like Netflix and Hulu, and it looks like the current industry heavyweight DirecTV is ripe for the picking: AT&T is rumored to be making a $50 billion bid for the company.

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Artist's depiction of merger

AT&T operates its own television brand, UVerse, though that system is powered by Ma Bell's DSL broadband infrastructure. A switch to a satellite-based video service could free up bandwidth for AT&T's internet offerings, allowing them to remain competitive in the face of increasing speeds from rival cable companies.

The deal would be a cash-stock combo, and it's not the first time AT&T has sought DirecTV - previous negotiations have broken down in the past. This rumor, though, claims AT&T wants to lock down the transaction in the next two weeks in the wake of the Comcast-Time Warner merger, so this information at least has an expiration date.

At this point, not much else is known about the deal, though from the mobile side, it's not clear what kind of implications the merger would have, aside from giving AT&T more financial clout in a space it already wields great power in. We'll update you if we learn any more about this story.

WSJ

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • ignitionnight

    God damnit.

  • Chris

    Until Uverse is fiber to the curb and not just to the node, their internet speeds (I'm talking about response time, not bandwidth) will remain unstable... I remember experiencing packet loss and high ping times before I made the switch to TWC.

    I guess we can still have one positive outlook: It's not Comcast

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yeah, my UVerse connection drops regularly for no apparent reason. Their infrastructure really is crap.

      • br_hermon

        That sucks to hear because I'm increasingly annoyed with Time Warner and was going to switch to AT&T.

    • Richard

      Just depends on where you live.
      In Anaheim, my Uverse has a decent 12 ms ping with 0% packet loss according to pingtest.net

    • dude

      From experience I think ATT ping time suck monkey balls.

  • duke69111

    Maybe ATT will bring us all satellite smartphones.

  • biggsjm

    There are several versions of uverse. An FTTP version which is fiber directly the premise, and a FTTN version (fiber to the node) which delivers its last mile over copper. Please update your facts.

  • Mark Washington

    I thought they were already owned by att ?,that's strange

  • Havoc70

    NO NO NO, please NO!

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    NO, NO, NO. This is bad news for consumers.

    AT&T is at it again - their anticompetitive colors are showing!

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      Anti-compeTiTive. It makes sense.

  • Jason

    In the long-term, satellite TV providers need to be concerned. Satellite bandwidth is limited so they can't have the same sort of on-demand service that cable providers offer. Their so-called "on-demand" service is basically recording stuff to a DVR.

    Here is the issue: Internet service will be increasingly seen as more important than television service. As more people get competent Internet service from providers that offer television service also (likely at a bundled discount), fewer and fewer people will have any need at all for a satellite dish.

    Both of the major satellite TV services will probably get bought out eventually, and satellite TV will gradually become more of a niche product.

    • Matt Hay

      DirecTV's On Demand Feature is internet based.

      • Jason

        So a person subscribes to DirecTV, but to get on-demand they have to subscribe to an ISP also? If the ISP has their own TV and video services, at some point the person is going to wonder what that dish is doing in their yard.

        • Matt Hay

          Yes, pretty much. I have DirecTV and AT&T U-verse as my ISP. I could save money by going with AT&T for TV perhaps, but I could not have the 4 HD TV with 1.5 Terabytes of storage that I have with my DirecTV system.

          • Jason

            Maybe not yet. But why should your 1.5 TB of storage be tied to the DirecTV system anyways? True on-demand shouldn't require local storage because it's all being streamed in realtime.

  • Matthew Fry

    Because what this world needs is for all of our most hated companies to merge together into one giant megazord of disservice.

    • Matt Hay

      Why do we hate DirecTv?

      • Matthew Fry

        The same reason we hate Comcast. Promotional pricing, packaged channels, poor service, etc.

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        • joe_attaboy

          That's not been my experience with DirecTV. I've had the service in my current home since 1998 (when the local cable monopoly tried to screw me on installation fees when we moved into the house). I rarely have issues, they've always been super responsive and the service is great. There are some things I'd change (more a la carte programming, better on demand), but compared to the cable folks, it's much better.

        • Jeremy Sheehan

          I love DirecTV. I've had them for close to 15 years now and would never dream of moving to another cable provider. I'd be quite disappointed if AT&T took over, tho. They're great for home phone and internet. I've only had one major problem with my Uverse internet service in 6 years and that was when the entire Southeast was having problems! The other problems have all been minor and getting the problems resolved has always been quick and relatively painless. I will never use their TV or Mobile service after hearing all the problems that my friends and family have told me about.

        • motoridersd

          I agree with the promotional pricing part. I've been a customer for over 10 years and I do not benefit from any special pricing. My first gen DVRs are slow and the new systems are expensive and lock you into a 2 year contract even after paying a lot for the box. The service part though is very good. I have not had any issues in the past 10 years, and I have lived in many different homes where getting up and running with service takes less than a few hours.

  • Bob G

    YES YES YES YES YES!!!!

    DO IT! AT&T

    Let it happen!

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      Why would you want that?

  • DonaJMosher

    There are several versions of uverse. An FTTP version which is fiber directly the premise, and a FTTN version (fiber to the node) which delivers its last mile over copper. Please update your facts. http://num.to/613-870-792-553

  • https://steamcommunity.com/id/m-p-3 m-p{3}

    AT&T is big enough. Please don't make the same mistakes like those pharmaceutical mergers (Wyeth-Pfizer, etc).

    The consumer is bound to lose and will gain absolutely nothing from thos.

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      These are the Corporate States of Suemerica, why wouldn't they allow it?

  • wtf

    LOL. Funny, how the capitalist country has less choices than socialists.

  • dontsh00tmesanta

    Look at the money they make from over charging

  • dpm1228

    DirecTV is not cheap. They do have great service, though. I've been a customer since 1998, and never had an issue with Customer Service. People that complain about their poor service probably don't pay their bills. Speculation on my part..