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ExtraBITS for 10 April 2017

In ExtraBITS this week, AT&T is using HBO as a carrot to lure more TV and cellular subscribers, YouTube is rolling out its own TV service, Comcast is entering the cellular market, and developer Panic voices concerns about the market for professional-grade iOS software.

AT&T Adds HBO as Unlimited Data Plan Bonus -- The unlimited data plan wars continue to heat up. AT&T has announced that customers of its Unlimited Plus wireless plan who also subscribe to AT&T-owned TV services like DirecTV, DirecTV Now, and U-Verse will also get HBO for free. In addition, streaming HBO will not count against the 22 GB soft bandwidth cap. Unlimited Plus customers will also receive a $25 per month credit toward the aforementioned TV services. If you live in an AT&T service area, that’s a sweet deal if you want unlimited mobile Internet, TV service, and HBO (which usually costs about $15 per month on its own).

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YouTube TV Rolling Out in Select Cities -- Google’s promised YouTube TV streaming service has arrived, at least in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay Area. For $35 per month, you get local channels for the major broadcast networks, as well as popular cable networks. As with traditional cable, shows are not generally ad-free. The first month is free, and Google will give you a free Chromecast after your first payment. YouTube TV includes six separate accounts, so everyone in the family can have their own cloud DVR library. Interestingly, YouTube TV is primarily mobile-focused, though you can use a Chromecast to watch on your TV. In our informal Twitter poll about TV streaming services, respondents were more interested in YouTube TV than DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV.

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Comcast to Offer Cellular Service in 2017 -- Everyone’s favorite cable and Internet provider, Comcast, has announced that it is entering the U.S. cellular carrier market with its new Xfinity Mobile service. Xfinity Mobile will use Verizon’s network and will offer unlimited data, talk, and text for $65 per month by the middle of 2017. Xfinity X1 subscribers with top-tier packages will be able to get service for $45 per month. Signups will be restricted to customers in Comcast’s current service footprint, and initially limited to those with Xfinity broadband service. We had originally attributed the recent wave of unlimited wireless plans to competition from T-Mobile after the FTC prevented its acquisition by AT&T, but insider knowledge of Comcast’s plans could offer an alternative explanation.

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Panic in the iOS Professional Market -- Software developer Panic has released its report on 2016. While the company had a great year highlighted by the release of its first game, Firewatch, co-founder Cabel Sasser commented that “iOS continues to haunt us.” Panic killed its Status Board app last year and, despite a significant investment in pro-level apps on iOS, is now refocusing on macOS. “Trying to do macOS quality work on iOS cost us a lot of time for sadly not much payoff,” Sasser wrote. That’s troubling news for Apple, which has spent the past two years pushing the iPad as a professional-level platform.

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