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DirecTV to Launch Android TV-Based OTT Set-Top Box (EXCLUSIVE)

AT&T’s DirecTV is getting ready to embrace internet-based content delivery beyond its DirecTV Now service: The company is about to introduce a new TV set-top box that’s based on Google’s Android TV platform and ditches satellite connectivity for over-the-top streaming, according to a new FCC filing.

The new device, which goes by the model number C71KW-400, is being described by these documents as “the new AT&T/DirecTV Wireless 4K OTT Client.” A user manual published as part of the filings specifies that the device won’t be able to interact with any of DirecTV’s existing Genie hardware, and hints at a future hardware product called HS27.

Helpfully, the manual also supplies a definition of OTT as “the delivery of video via the internet directly into user-connected devices, allowing access to services anywhere, anytime, on any device.”

att ott box voice remote
CREDIT: Courtesy of the FCC

The manual also reveals that the set-top will shop with a voice remote with integrated touch pad, and photos show that it has Ethernet, digital audio, HDMI and USB ports, but no antenna connectivity — meaning that any and all programming will indeed come over the internet.

The manual also reveals that the device is based on Google’s Android TV platform, and a screenshot shows images of Google’s YouTube and Google Play Movies services running on the device. There’s also access to Google’s Play store, which presumably means that consumers will be able to install Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu and other video apps as well.

AT&T has long hinted at plans to eventually embrace online video delivery for its TV services, and the company has been selling its internet-based DirecTV Now service to consumers for about a year now. However, the new hardware doesn’t feature any DirecTV Now branding, but instead just uses the DirecTV brand. This means that  it will likely be made available to new or existing subscribers of AT&Ts or DirecTV’s traditional TV service.

There is no word when AT&T is looking to ship this new hardware, or officially launch OTT-based video delivery. However, the timing of the filing suggests that the company may unveil the service soon, with CES 2018 being a likely venue for such an announcement.

AT&T didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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