AT&T TV kills support for Roku devices

AT&T and Roku have let their contract agreement lapse, and it means that Roku users will now have very limited support for AT&T TV, the company’s live streaming TV service.

According to a product support page spotted by Cord Cutters News, AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now lost support for Roku streaming boxes and smart TVs at the start of the new year.

“Heads up: Starting January 1, 2020, you won't be able to add the AT&T TV channel to your Roku device. Already have AT&T TV on your Roku device? You can keep using it as long as you don't delete the app. We're actively working on a new agreement with Roku and hope to resolve this soon,” AT&T wrote on its website.

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As AT&T prepares for a full national launch of AT&T TV, and as it struggles with massive subscriber losses at AT&T TV Now, losing Roku support strikes a massive distribution blow.

According to a Strategy Analytics’ study from last summer, there are now more than 41 million Roku-based devices in use, including Roku media streamers and Roku-based smart TVs, accounting for 15.2% of all media streaming devices. The firm also predicted that by the end of 2019, more than 52 million Roku-powered devices will be in use, accounting for 18% of all connected media devices.

AT&T lost approximately 1.16 million premium video subscribers (DirecTV and U-verse) and lost another 195,000 AT&T TV subscribers for a total of about 1.358 million during the quarter. The losses were dramatically higher than the 297,000 total net subscribers lost in the year ago quarter. Going forward, the company intends to push AT&T TV as its primary linear video product.

AT&T Communications CEO Jeff McElfresh, speaking today at Barclays Global TMT Conference, said that AT&T TV will officially launch in February 2020, and that it, along with HBO Max, will spearhead a “market reorientation” at AT&T.

“Our growth agenda is on fiber, in our entertainment group, and on AT&T TV,” said McElfresh. He said AT&T TV will feature customer acquisition costs of about half of what AT&T currently spends to bring on legacy satellite TV subscribers for DirecTV. He said the content lineup will be “every bit as good” as what AT&T currently offers through DirecTV and U-verse and that the user experience is “future leaning.”