Ever since its first offerings after purchasing DirectTV, AT&T has been intent on providing online content for its users. Those efforts have taken a lot of forms over the years, rebranding from DirecTV to AT&T TV Now, with a variety of models and packages that have now been largely combined into the current service called AT&T TV.
AT&T can be fairly opaque when it comes to understanding its services, pricing tiers, and what exactly you’re getting, so we’re helping out with a dive into exactly what AT&T TV is, and if it may be a good fit for you. Currently, AT&T TV is a strong option for ditching cable entirely without giving up on much content or juggling multiple platforms to get what you want.
AT&T is a streaming service bundle offered to United States customers for a monthly fee. In its current form, the service is a combination of on-demand streaming like you see on Netflix and Hulu, as well as live TV that is streamed rather than provided by cable — similar to how Sling TV operates.
AT&T TV requires an Android TV-based set-top box for your entertainment system, but can also work through the AT&T Now app for mobile devices. You can access streaming apps that you already use, like Netflix or Disney+, directly through AT&T’s interface so you don’t have to change platforms to watch what you want (although third-party fees will have to be managed separately).
The streaming service can mimic many of the abilities found in more traditional cable or satellite subscriptions — which is one reason it’s a good choice for those looking to replace those options with a streaming model. Users can browse live TV channels, including local channels and on-demand movies, as well as add premium channels based on package or preference.
The set-top box Android compatibility means that it also supports Google Assistant voice commands for quick searches or channel surfing, although you don’t need Android devices to use the more versatile app version — it can be downloaded to popular platforms like iOS as well.
AT&T TV’s channels vary but include channels like BBC and CNN collections, CNBC, Comedy.tv, a few different ESPN channels, Discovery, The Disney Channel, HGTV, TCM, and plenty more. This guide provides a full list of all channels available and what packages come with them so you can double-check for your favorites.
The service also comes with a certain amount of DVR cloud storage. This allows you to record shows and skip commercials just like a traditional DVR, as long as you keep your cloud storage cleared out.
No, AT&T TV isn’t that kind of streaming service. All the content is created through the entertainment divisions like HBO and offered as potential upgrades for AT&T TV depending on what sort of total package you want to put together. The closest the service comes to original content would be the higher-tier packages that offer things like a free year of HBO Max, which naturally includes all of HBO’s original content.
There are four primary tiers for AT&T TV. Let’s take a look at what they’ve got:
- Entertainment – $69.99 per month: This is the base package with the fewest channels at the lowest cost. It includes live TV, most on-demand titles, and 20 hours of cloud DVR storage. No streaming subscriptions are included here, so you’ll have to pay for extra apps as well.
- Choice – $84.99 per month: Choice is a significant upgrade that adds 20 more channels like additional ESPN channels, the Cooking Channel, and more — plus a free subscription to HBO Max for a full year. You also get access to even more on-demand titles on the service, and access to regional sports networks that make it easier to watch local games.
- Ultimate – $94.99 per month: This includes everything that the Choice package has, plus a further 20 more channels that include things like the NHL Network and FXM, and even more on-demand titles. The free year of HBO Max and support for regional sports networks are both also included here.
- Premier – $139.99 per month: The Premier package bumps up the price significantly to throw in subscriptions for all the streaming apps available directly under the AT&T umbrella. That includes HBO Max, Starz, and Showtime. You’ll still have to pay for entirely separate apps with no AT&T partnerships, like Netflix or Hulu. The number of channels is also increased, and you have access to the full list of 65,000-odd on-demand titles.
While 20 hours of cloud DRV storage is included with each package, any of the packages can be upgraded to unlimited cloud storage for an extra $10 per month. Note that additional taxes may apply to all packages, as may periodic discounts AT&T offers. You’ll also have to pay a monthly fee for the use of AT&T’s set-top box.
AT&T also recommends an internet speed of at least 24Mbps to use, and limits users to three concurrent out-of-home streams at a time. Additionally, DirecTV and U-Verse TV customers cannot apply for AT&T TV: You’ll have to contact an AT&T rep and discuss stopping those older subscriptions and switching over to this service.
In May 2021, AT&T confirmed its intentions to spin off all its entertainment assets into Discovery to create a new venture that would include HBO, Warner Bros., CNN, and much more.
This would be a major change for the entertainment industry, and it would have to be approved at the federal level before the spin-off could even begin. If it does take place, the fate of AT&T TV is entirely unclear. AT&T could maintain contracts with this new theoretical company that would allow AT&T TV to stay relatively unchanged — or it’s possible the telecom behemoth would remove its extra streaming services altogether during the transition and stick with just live TV. Whatever happens will probably be years in the making, and we’ll be sure to keep you updated throughout to avoid any surprises.
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