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AT&T TV NOW Review 2019

Enjoy free HBO®, but beware of a shrinking channel lineup.

Good for Premium Channels
Our Rating
Live channels
65+
Cloud DVR hours
20
Multiple streams
2
Monthly cost
Starting at $50

Our Rating

Package name PriceChannelsDVR Space Website
PLUS$50/mo.45+20 hoursView Package
MAX$70/mo.60+20 hoursView Package
OPTIMO MÁS$86/mo.90+20 hoursView Package
ENTERTAINMENT$93/mo.65+20 hoursView Package
CHOICE$110/mo.85+20 hoursView Package
XTRA$124/mo.105+20 hoursView Package
ULTIMATE$135/mo.125+20 hoursView Package
PriceChannelsDVR Space Website
$50/mo.45+20 hoursView Package
$70/mo.60+20 hoursView Package
$86/mo.90+20 hoursView Package
$93/mo.65+20 hoursView Package
$110/mo.85+20 hoursView Package
$124/mo.105+20 hoursView Package
$135/mo.125+20 hoursView Package

Update:

As of 10/18/19, AT&T TV NOW has announced their second major price increase of year, affecting every package. The PLUS package will go from a monthly price of $50 to $65.

First take: Is AT&T TV NOW good?

As a live TV streaming service, AT&T TV NOW misses the mark for most folks. While its included premium channels give it an edge over some competitors, overall the trimmed-down channel lineups for its two featured plans aren’t worth your money, especially since other streaming providers offer better overall packages for the same price.

For most folks, another livestreaming package or a standard DIRECTV package will probably make more sense.

AT&T TV NOW deals and promotions

AT&T TV NOW offers a free seven-day trial for new subscribers to the PLUS, MAX, or International packages.

Or you could get a free Roku Streaming Stick by prepaying for a month of either a PLUS or MAX package. These deals aren’t stackable, so pick carefully.

AT&T TV NOW prices and packages

How much is AT&T TV NOW?

PackagesChannel countPrice
PLUS45+$50/mo.
MAX60+$70/mo.
ENTERTAINMENT65+$93/mo.
CHOICE85+$110/mo.
XTRA105+$124/mo.
ULTIMATE125+$135/mo.
OPTIMO MÁS90+$86/mo.

AT&T TV NOW offers two base packages, PLUS and MAX. Both include local channels as well as some of the most popular news, sports, and entertainment channels.

The biggest perk, though, is that both PLUS and MAX packages include an HBO subscription at no added cost—and the MAX plan also includes CINEMAX® for good measure.

Once you move past the PLUS and MAX packages, you get more variety in your channel lineup, including regional sports, food and cooking, music, and global news channels.

But with more channels comes a higher price tag—yet despite paying more for the higher-tier packages, you lose the included premium channels that the base packages offer (though the ULTIMATE package does include STARZ ENCORE® movie channels). We can’t say we’re impressed by that.

Avid sports fans will want to consider the XTRA plan and higher to enjoy national sports channels like MLB Network, NHL Network, and NBA TV. However, at $124 per month, the cost of the XTRA package is about the same as many cable packages (that typically offer 200+ channels for the same price). Your wallet would probably prefer a more sports-friendly streaming service, like PlayStation Vue, instead.

A plus for Spanish-speaking subscribers: AT&T TV NOW offers two international add-on packages. Their sports-only DEPORTES add-on includes five popular sports channels (like ESPN and FOX Deportes) for $5 more per month, and the ESPAÑOL add-on offers 50+ sports and entertainment channels for $15 per month.

Cord-cutting savings? Not so much.

While the PLUS and MAX plans do offer free HBO, AT&T TV NOW ends up costing as much—if not more—than many cable packages, without offering as many channels to back that price up.

If you’re looking to actually save cash, we suggest checking out Sling TV or Philo, both of which are under $30 a month, with tons of channel favorites.

AT&T TV NOW channels

What’s on AT&T TV NOW?

Missing channelsPopular channels
  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • NFL Network
  • Pac-12 Network
  • COZI TV
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • Comedy Central
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • FX
  • TBS
  • SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUPSEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP
    Missing channels
  • NFL SUNDAY TICKET
  • NFL Network
  • Pac-12 Network
  • COZI TV
  • Smithsonian Channel
  • SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP
    Popular channels
  • Comedy Central
  • Disney Channel
  • ESPN
  • FX
  • TBS
  • SEE FULL CHANNEL LINEUP

    In terms of channel lineups, AT&T TV NOW falls a bit short of its competitors. Following its 2016 debut, AT&T TV NOW has since removed some of its most-loved channels from its base packages, while simultaneously increasing the price of both (not cool!).

    In those base packages, PLUS and MAX, you’ll get major networks like NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS, as well as other popular favorites like TNT, USA Network, ESPN, and Comedy Central. Music channels BET, MTV, and VH1 are present in both, but only MAX has CMT as well.

    You’ll also find more sports channels offered in MAX, notably CBS Sports Network, ESPNEWS, Golf Channel, and regional channels like YES Network and BTN (where available).

    If you want to access other popular channels like HISTORY, HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel, though you’ll have to subscribe to one of the more expensive packages (plus you’ll forfeit the free HBO subscription that comes with both the PLUS and MAX packages).

    For comparison, Hulu + Live TV includes these popular channels among its 60+ channel lineup (in most markets) for $44.99 per month—which is $5 less and 15 channels more than AT&T TV NOW’s 45-channel PLUS package at $50.

    Sports channels

    Baseball, hockey, and golf, oh my!

    Sports channelPLUSMAXENTERTAINMENTCHOICEXTRAULTIMATE
    BTN
    CBS Sports Network
    ESPN
    ESPN2
    ESPNEWS
    ESPNU
    Fox Sports 1
    Fox Sports 2
    Golf Channel
    Longhorn Network
    MOTOR TREND
    MLB Network
    MSG
    MSG+
    NBA TV
    NBCSN
    NHL Network
    Olympic Channel
    SEC Network
    Sportsman Channel
    Tennis Channel
    YES Network

    Sports fans will be pleased with the variety of channels AT&T TV NOW offers. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, considering DIRECTV’s long-standing affiliation with the NFL.

    But this table highlights a glaring omission from AT&T TV NOW’s lineup:

    NFL SUNDAY TICKET and NFL Network are nowhere to be found in any of its packages, even the highest-priced ULTIMATE package.

    Football fans, feel free to boo now.

    The MAX package is the clear MVP in terms of the number of sports channels you get for the price. It includes national and even regional channels if you’re in an area where your favorite teams are covered. We suggest it for most fans.

    For customers looking for specialized coverage, like MLB Network, NHL Network, or NBA TV, the XTRA or ULTIMATE packages will be your best bet.

    But if the big game is your only reason for upgrading, the hefty price hike probably isn’t worth upgrading to AT&T TV NOW’s higher-tier packages, especially if you compare it to sports packages from other streaming providers.

    For example, YouTube TV gives you live sports coverage from 32 different channels as part of its $49.99 monthly package, where AT&T TV NOW’s XTRA package offers half the number of sports channels (17 of ‘em) for over double the cost ($124 per month).

    When it comes to value for the price, AT&T TV NOW has dropped the ball.

    Local channels

    AT&T TV NOW packages include most local channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX) and some regional sports networks. To make sure your area gets the local channels you’re looking for, check your ZIP code.

    Want more local channels?

    There really is a way to get TV without monthly payments—through an over-the-air antenna. If your streaming package doesn’t provide the local channels you love most, an antenna offers free access to broadcast stations in your programming area.

    Sound interesting? We recommend this antenna for all of your broadcasting needs.

    Premium channels

    HBO for free? Sign us up.

    PricePrice
    HBO*Free w/ PLUS and MAX
    $11/mo. w/ all other packages
    CINEMAX**Free w/ MAX
    $11/mo. w/ all other packages
    SHOWTIME®$11/mo.
    STARZ ENCORE $11/mo.

    * Free with PLUS and MAX packages.
    ** Free with MAX package.
    ♱ Free with ULTIMATE package.

    Where AT&T TV NOW really stands out from the pack is its included premium channels, so grab your popcorn and get ready to binge-watch some of the best shows on TV.

    Both the PLUS and MAX packages offer an HBO subscription, including HBO Family and HBO Latino.

    And upgrading to the MAX package gets you access to CINEMAX as well.

    You lose your HBO and CINEMAX when you go outside the base plans—but, if you subscribe to the ULTIMATE package, you pick up eight STARZ ENCORE channels, which is double the HBO and CINEMAX offerings combined.

    Even if you choose a package that doesn’t include any premium channels (like the ENTERTAINMENT, CHOICE, or XTRA plans), the add-on channel prices are lower than you typically find on other streaming services or cable networks.

    Hulu + Live TV and PlayStation Vue both charge $15 for HBO, compared to AT&T TV NOW’s $11. Others, like Sling TV and YouTube TV, don’t offer as many premium choices at all.

    AT&T TV NOW original shows and movies

    At the moment, AT&T TV NOW doesn’t offer original shows and movies in the way Hulu and Netflix do.

    But like other AT&T-owned TV services like DIRECTV, AT&T TV NOW does feature the Audience Network. It’s no Netflix Originals, but it does have clever original shows like the Gen X wet dream Loudermilk. Most folks won’t pick AT&T TV NOW for its original shows and movies, but they’re a nice bonus for TV fanatics.

    Audience Network original shows and movies

    • Loudermilk
    • Condor
    • Mr. Mercedes
    • Undeniable with Dan Patrick

    AT&T TV NOW specs and features

    While AT&T TV NOW has upped its user interface and video quality, it unfortunately lacks in storage options and offline viewing.

    If more robust, these extras could have made up for the fact that AT&T TV NOW packages offer less than most competitors at similar prices. As it stands, there’s still plenty of room to grow.

    Cloud DVR

    With your recorded shows, it’s use ‘em or lose ‘em.

    PackageStoragePrice
    All packages20 hrs. / 30 daysIncluded

    AT&T TV NOW’s cloud DVR storage is currently in beta (and has been for over a year), and you get only 20 hours for up to 30 days maximum—and some channels aren’t eligible for recording at all. That’s pretty much the stingiest DVR storage we’ve ever seen. Only 20 hours and a time limit? Yeesh.

    Compare this to Hulu Live, which gives you 50 hours of included storage recorded from any channel, along with the option to add Enhanced Cloud DVR for 200 hours of storage. Plus, your recorded shows are kept indefinitely, making it a better choice for hoarding your Hoarders episodes. (We don’t judge.)

    Multiple streams

    Sharing is caring, and that goes for streaming, too.

    PackageSimultaneous streamsOffline viewing
    All packagesFirst 2 devices: Included
    3rd device: $5/mo.
    No Free Trial

    Each AT&T TV NOW package allows for two simultaneous streams. If you need to add a third device, you can do so for another $5 per month.

    If you were hoping to catch up on your favorite recorded show over a long flight, however, you’ll need to make sure to get in-flight Wi-Fi—AT&T TV NOW is streaming only, so it doesn’t allow for offline viewing of recorded or on-demand content. You’ll need to stick with Netflix for that.

    For households that need more simultaneous streams (because sometimes you just need to escape the “Baby Shark” overload), a different streaming service may better fit your needs: PlayStation Vue gives you five simultaneous streams, and Hulu + Live TV offers an unlimited device add-on plus offline viewing.

    Compatible devices

    Watch AT&T TV NOW from wherever you are.

    Streaming deviceAT&T TV NOW
    Amazon Fire TV
    Amazon Fire tablet
    Android mobile devices
    Android TV
    Apple TV
    Chromecast
    iOS mobile devices
    iPod Touch
    LG TV Smart TVs (select models)
    Mac computers
    Nintendo Switch
    PlayStation 3
    PlayStation 4
    Roku devices
    Samsung Smart TVs (select models)
    Vizio SmartCast TV (select models)
    Wii
    Wii U
    Windows computers
    Windows 10 phones
    Xbox 360
    Xbox One

    You can stream AT&T TV NOW on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and most other major devices, making it a highly accessible streaming service. Just keep in mind that Android devices must be generation 5.0 and up, and Chromecast must be generation 2.0 and up.

    Missing from AT&T TV NOW’s connected devices are all of the major gaming systems. XBox, Wii, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation don’t support AT&T TV NOW. (PlayStation’s no-show is unsurprising, as they have their own streaming service: PlayStation Vue.)

    Wondering how to watch AT&T TV NOW on your TV? Just download the AT&T TV NOW app from your connected device and sign in from there.

    Best streaming devices

    Ready to expand your viewing horizons beyond your cable box? Check out our guide to streaming devices.

    Video quality

    High-definition streaming, most of the time.

    PackageVideo resolution
    All packages720/1080p

    Most live channels on AT&T TV NOW stream at 1080p. However, some channels (like some sports channels) may drop down to 720p—so that fastball streaking across the screen may be a little fuzzy, depending on your source.

    This is pretty comparable with other streaming services—YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV offer the same resolution ratios.

    As with anything, your internet speed will be a major factor in your streaming quality, as will the device you’re streaming from (i.e., your TV versus your smartphone).

    So as long as your setup is optimized for streaming, we don’t think you’ll have any problems with AT&T TV NOW’s video quality.

    Having issues with your stream?

    Your home internet has a major effect on the quality of your video stream. If buffering is ruining your Netflix binge-watching fest, read our guide to the best internet plans for streaming.

    Channel guide

    In all, AT&T TV NOW really shines with its easy-to-navigate channel guide and clean user interface.

    In contrast to the cave-like feeling of Netflix’s user experience (black background, dark shadow overlays, etc.), AT&T TV NOW is a breath of fresh air, using clean, white backgrounds and dark lettering to highlight what shows are playing. For upcoming shows, the lettering changes to a lighter gray, so you can quickly tell what’s available to watch now versus later.

    AT&T TV NOW’s channel guide on a desktop computer.

    The top bar navigation allows you to quickly toggle between important categories, and you can easily access your favorite channels from the menu.

    Similarly, the left-hand column keeps you anchored by channel if you’re looking for your favorite network or just channel surfing.

    To find something specific, you can easily filter between shows, movies, sports, and your favorites.

    On a computer, the main live-viewing screen will minimize down to the corner without getting in the way while you poke around the rest of the site to find your shows. This keeps the site easy to navigate without ever losing your show.

    Watch shows and movies on your computer while browsing the rest of the site.

    Commercials

    Commercial-free packages

    All AT&T TV NOW packages include commercials, even for on-demand content, and there is no way to fast-forward through them or upgrade to get rid of them completely.

    This is a major bummer (and incredibly annoying), though pretty standard across the board for most streaming services. But to compare, Hulu + Live TV offers a no-ads upgrade to its on-demand library, which is a major draw if you’re tired of getting the Old Spice jingle stuck in your head.

    You can fast-forward through your recorded cloud DVR content with AT&T TV NOW, skipping the commercials that aired when the show ran live. This is slightly better than the cloud DVR policy from Hulu + Live TV; in order to skip recorded commercials, you’d need to upgrade to their 200-hour DVR for another $9.99 per month.

    However, neither service holds a candle to YouTube TV’s cloud DVR, which allows fast-forwarding as part of its included unlimited storage.

    Final take: Is AT&T TV NOW worth it?

    We admit that AT&T TV NOW’s add-ons are affordable, the user interface is user-friendly, and the variety of regional sports channels is refreshing.

    But when compared to major competitors, AT&T TV NOW just doesn’t offer enough value for the price.

    Once you go beyond the base packages, AT&T TV NOW costs about the same as most cable packages, making it hard to justify cutting the cord. Not only that, but its shallow cloud DVR storage needs a major upgrade. And it’s surprising that none of the NFL channels in DIRECTV’s satellite lineup are offered on its streaming counterpart. Plus there’s the matter of spotty reliability when compared to other streaming services.

    Overall, unless you want included HBO, we recommend looking elsewhere to get the most bang for your buck.

    AT&T TV NOW FAQ

    How can I watch AT&T TV NOW?

    After you sign up for a package, you can stream AT&T TV NOW from any connected device that supports the AT&T TV NOW app. This includes Chrome and Safari browsers, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Samsung Smart TVs.

    How many TVs and other devices can AT&T TV NOW support?

    You can stream on two devices at the same time with all AT&T TV NOW packages. You can also add a third device for an extra $5 per month.

    Is AT&T TV NOW free?

    You can get a free trial of AT&T TV NOW for seven days. After your trial ends, you’ll need to pony up the cash to keep your service going.

    Can I watch AT&T TV NOW on the go?

    Yes. AT&T TV NOW offers an app for your phone or tablet, so you can take your streaming service with you. But note that you can’t download shows to the app for offline viewing.

    What’s the difference between DIRECTV and AT&T TV NOW?

    DIRECTV is a satellite TV provider that requires a satellite dish for service. AT&T TV NOW (formerly DIRECTV NOW) is a live TV streaming service that requires a compatible streaming device and an internet connection. Both services are owned by AT&T.

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