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AT&T lays out Web video options, but leaves out big details

The company unveils three different kinds of video services, which are set to launch in the fourth quarter. But it omits the price and channel options.

Sara Tew/CNET

AT&T is ready to go Hollywood.

The Dallas telecommunications giant unveiled on Tuesday three Web video services under its DirecTV brand. The services will launch in the fourth quarter, the company said, though it was mum on details like the price and what specific channels and content will be available.

There's DirecTV Now, a package of on-demand and live programming that customers will be able to access on any Internet-connected device, from a smartphone to a Roku streaming box, without the need for a traditional pay-TV subscription. DirecTV Mobile, meanwhile, is a feature for DirecTV subscribers that lets them access their content on any phone, regardless of the carrier. Lastly, there's DirecTV Preview, a free mobile-TV service similar to Verizon's Go90 mobile app, which offers a mix of short and long videos.

The services represent AT&T's attempt to break from the traditional cable and satellite TV model and make a wide range of content available to anyone with an Internet connection. AT&T is the latest traditional media company to experiment with Web video, an area that has drawn players ranging from HBO to rival Verizon to CBS (which owns CNET), all of which are going after younger consumers uninterested in paying a cable TV bill.

An AT&T spokesman declined to comment on the potential pricing of DirecTV Now, saying only that it would be "competitive."

DirecTV Now will boast a bundle of channels and on-demand programming. But it's unclear how many channels and how much content will be available in the package. It's also unclear whether there will be different pricing tiers for the service.

Pricing for Web video services tends to be lower than pricing for cable television and ranges from $14.99 a month for HBO Now to $11.99 for priciest version of Netflix. Sling TV gives you a bundle of live channels, including TNT and AMC, for $20 a month. AT&T positions this as more of a full replacement for cable TV, and it could accordingly be priced higher. Benefits include skipping a set-top box and an installation fee.

"We intend to offer customers a quality pay-TV experience, including top channels, sports and more, with increased value and flexibility of pure online streaming," John Stankey, CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group, said in a statement.