Everything you need to know about AT&T TV NOW

Joe Supan
JS
Joe Supan
Sep 6, 2019
ProsConsVerdict
✔ Includes HBO in every plan ✔ Has every local channel ✔ Excellent Spanish language add-on✘ Worst overall channel lineup of any streaming service ✘ Only 20 hours of DVR storage ✘ Only two simultaneous streams ✘ Poor choice for sports fansAT&T TV NOW really only has one thing going for it: HBO. If that channel’s not a must-have for you, every other live streaming service offers better value.

AT&T TV NOW review summary:

  • Formerly DIRECTV NOW
  • Seven packages ranging from $50-$135/mo.
  • Not compatible with any gaming consoles

AT&T TV NOW plan options

You can choose from seven different AT&T TV NOW plans, although the Plus and Max packages are featured most prominently. Here’s how they compare:

PlanMonthly priceNumber of channels
Plus$5054
Max$7070
Entertainment$9371
Choice$11097
Xtra$124124
Ultimate$135135
Optimo Más$86105
  • Plus ($50/mo.): ABC, BET, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS, CNBC, CNN, Comedy Central, The CW, Disney Channel, Disney Jr., ESPN, FOX, FOX Business, FOX News, FS1, Freeform, FX, FXX, Hallmark Channel, HLN, MSNBC, MTV, National Geographic, NBC, NBC Sports, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Ovation, Oxygen, Syfy, TBS, TCM, Telemundo, TNT, TruTV, Universal Kids, USA, VH1
  • Max ($70/mo.): Everything in Plus, Big Ten Network, Cinemax, CMT, Golf Channel, Paramount Network, Regional Sports Networks, TV Land

For a complete listing of channels in your area, enter your ZIP code on AT&T TV NOW’s website.

What channels is AT&T TV NOW missing?

AT&T TV NOW has a fairly low channel count compared to other live TV streaming services. And while it’s not as padded with filler as some, it’s also missing some big names. Here are some of the popular channels that aren’t available in the $50/mo. Plus plan:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • BBC America
  • CMT
  • Cooking Channel
  • Discovery Channel
  • Disney Jr.
  • Food Network
  • HGTV
  • History
  • IFC
  • Investigation Discovery
  • ION
  • Lifetime
  • MLB Network
  • Music Choice
  • NBA TV
  • NFL Network
  • NHL Network
  • Paramount Network (formerly Spike)
  • PBS
  • Science
  • Sundance TV
  • The Weather Channel
  • TLC
  • Travel Channel
  • TV Land

AT&T TV NOW vs. other live TV streaming services

There’s no way around it: AT&T TV NOW has the worst channel selection of any live TV streaming service. And at $50/mo. for its cheapest package, it’s not particularly cheap, either.

To gauge how AT&T TV NOW compared to the competition, we used a recent survey from TiVo that asked over 3,300 respondents, “Which channels would you be interested in including in your TV package?” The more people included a channel, the higher it ranked.

AT&T TV NOW has the lowest number of channels in the top 25 and top 50, and only one more in the top 100 than the $40/mo. Sling Orange + Blue. Any way you look at it, it’s the worst channel lineup of any live TV streaming service.

That said, it does boast one trump card: HBO is included in all of its plans. The premium network costs $15/mo. to add on to any other streaming service or to purchase independently through HBO Now. Taking that added value into account, AT&T TV NOW’s channel lineup starts to look a lot stronger.

If HBO is a must-have for you, it might be worth subscribing to AT&T TV NOW for that reason alone. You’ll probably have to make other concessions — see the long list of missing channels above — but HBO might be worth it.

AT&T TV NOWHulu + Live TVPlayStation VueYouTube TVSling Orange + BluefuboTV
Fox NBC FX TNT TBS USA SyFy Cartoon Network CNN Nat Geo
ABC
CBS
Discovery Food Network TLC HGTV
HBO
A&E History Lifetime
AMC
ESPN Disney Channel Freeform
Comedy Central
Animal Planet

Available add-ons

Like most live TV streaming services, AT&T TV NOW has a number of premium networks you can add to your package for an extra fee, but none of them offer a discounted rate.

  • Cinemax ($11/mo.)
  • Showtime ($11/mo.)
  • Starz ($11/mo.)
  • EPIX ($6/mo.)

In fact, almost all of them can be had for less. Starz only costs $9/mo. when you subscribe to it directly, Cinemax is $10/mo. from Hulu + Live TV and Showtime is $7/mo. from YouTube TV.

Spanish packages

Where you might find some value is with AT&T TV NOW’s Spanish language add-ons. For an extra $5/mo., you can add on five core channels like ESPN, Fox and History in Spanish. For $15/mo. extra, you can add on 59 Spanish channels, essentially recreating AT&T TV NOW’s Plus package. It’s the best Spanish language channel lineup of any live streaming service.

International packages

In addition to its Spanish options, AT&T TV NOW also offers three international packages that can be added to any of its plans. Here are the options:

  • Vietnamese ($20/mo.) – Nine channels
  • Brazilian ($30/mo.) – Two channels
  • Korean ($30/mo.) – 12 channels

Is AT&T TV NOW good for sports?

AT&T TV NOW is one of the worst options for most sports fans. It is missing several key channels that air nationally televised games, and it forces you to upgrade to its $70/mo. Max plan to watch your local teams.

National games

In both its $50 and $70/mo. packages, AT&T TV NOW is missing at least one channel that airs games from each major American sport. The $50/mo. Plus plan is an especially terrible option for college sports, as it’s missing every conference network.

LeagueWhat it hasWhat it’s missing
NFLESPN, Fox, NBC, CBSNFL Network
MLBESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FS1, TBS,MLB Network
NBAABC, ESPN, TNTNBA TV
NHLNBC, NBC Sports, USA, CNBCNHL Network
NCAA FootballESPN, ESPN2, Fox, ABC, CBSESPNU, ACC Network, Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, SEC Network

If you upgrade to the $70/mo. Max plan, you get the Big Ten Network, CBS Sports, ESPNU, NBC Sports and the SEC Network, but Hulu + Live TV, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV all include these channels at a much lower price.

Regional sports networks

Where AT&T TV NOW will probably lose most sports fans is its coverage of their local team’s games. MLB, NBA and NHL teams all play on your market’s regional sports network (RSN), and AT&T TV NOW only offers these in their $70/mo. and above plans.

If you care about sports, these are probably essential channels for you, and they can be had for much cheaper through other streaming services. Hulu + Live TV, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV carry almost every RSN for $50/mo. or less.

What’s more, AT&T TV NOW doesn’t include NBC Sports RSNs in any of its plans. These channels cover 19 MLB, NBA and NHL teams in nine different markets.

The one fanbase for whom AT&T TV NOW might appeal? New Yorkers. AT&T TV NOW and fuboTV are the only streaming services that carry MSG Network, the exclusive broadcaster of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils in market.

Will AT&T TV NOW actually save you money?

With its cheapest packages starting at $50/mo., AT&T TV NOW probably won’t shave off much from your TV bill. When internet costs are taken into account, it falls somewhere in between two of the most popular bundles from XFINITY and Spectrum.

AT&T TV NOWSling OrangeXFINITY (Starter Pro Double Play)Spectrum (TV Select + Internet)AT&T Internet + DIRECTV
Monthly TV + internet cost$50 (TV) + $60* (internet)$25 (TV) + $60* (internet)$90$90$75 year one, $121 year two
Installation feeNoneNoneUp to $60Up to $200Up to $99
Equipment rental feeNoneNone$13/mo.$5/mo.None
Contract lengthOne monthOne monthOne yearOne yearTwo years
Estimated year one costs$1,320$1,020$1,296$1,340$999 ($1,452 year two)
Number of channels6933140+125+155+

That said, AT&T TV NOW offers a number of perks that you won’t get through traditional cable and satellite TV plans. You can stream on two devices at once and every plan comes with HBO — an extra $15/mo. to add to Spectrum and XFINITY.

Most importantly, you can cancel AT&T TV NOW at any time, where traditional TV providers typically lock you into year-long contracts.

Mediocre user experience

To test out AT&T TV NOW’s user experience, we used it on three devices throughout the week: an Amazon Fire TV Stick, a Roku Streaming Stick and a MacBook Pro. Overall, it wasn’t much of a departure from most live streaming services we’ve tested — or cable TV guides we’ve used. We liked it better than Hulu + Live TV’s, but it didn’t wow us like YouTube TV.

AT&T TV NOW uses a guide you’re probably already familiar with. We liked how you can see as many as six channels at once when using a browser and four on streaming devices. The service keeps the channel you’re currently playing on in the background as you browse.

After a while, though, we found ourselves hardly ever using the guide. AT&T TV NOW saves your most watched channels on the home screen, so we usually found what we were looking for within a couple clicks.

Unfortunately, AT&T TV NOW did glitch out more than other services we tested. Occasionally when we opened the app on a streaming device, channels would fail to load. Usually restarting the app or device would do the trick, but if you want to catch a game or show on time, we could see how this could easily turn into a major frustration.

Mobile app

AT&TV NOW’s mobile app shared a lot of the problems we had testing it on our TV. The app would occasionally require a restart to work, or it would just close out unexpectedly. This experience was echoed in user reviews as well: It received 3.0 stars on Google Play and 4.6 on the App Store, with many reviews complaining about the difficulty of recording shows to the DVR, which has officially been “in beta” for over a year.

If you’re not planning on using AT&T TV NOW away from your home, this probably isn’t a dealbreaker. But anyone who expects to use it regularly on commutes or trips — particularly Android users — might want to go with a different service.

Mediocre extra perks

AT&T TV NOW falls well short of the rest of the pack when it comes to the extra perks it offers. Its DVR storage is better than only Sling, which doesn’t include any for free, and its two simultaneous streams are tied with Hulu and fubo for the stingiest in the game.

AT&T TV NOWHulu + Live TVPlayStation VueYouTube TVSling Orange + BluefuboTV
DVR storage20 hours (stores for 30 days)50 hoursUnlimited (stores for 28 days)Unlimited (stores for nine months)50 hours ($5 extra)30 hours
Simultaneous streamsTwoTwoFiveThreeFourTwo

20 hours of DVR storage

AT&T TV NOW was the last major live TV streaming service to introduce cloud DVR storage to its plans, and it’s technically remained “in beta” since it was added in May 2018. Our experience with the DVR was seamless during our week of testing, but we assume that caveat is still there for a reason. Recordings only store for 30 days, too, one of the shortest expiration times of any service.

Two simultaneous streams

You’ll only be able to stream on two devices at one time for each AT&T TV NOW account. If you live in a house that’s often battling for the remote, you might want to consider another option. You can also add a third stream for an extra $5/mo.

AT&T TV NOW FAQs

Which streaming devices work with AT&T TV NOW?

AT&T TV NOW has some of the worst device compatibility of any live TV streaming service. You can stream on the four major streaming devices, but there are few gaming consoles and smart TVs it doesn’t work with. Here’s the complete list of devices that work with AT&T TV NOW:

  • Roku
  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • Samsung Smart TVs (2017 and newer)

You can’t stream AT&T TV NOW on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or LG and Sony smart TVs. If you go with AT&T TV NOW, you’ll probably need a dedicated streaming device.

What internet speed do I need for AT&T TV NOW?

AT&T TV NOW recommends at least 8 Mbps for each device that’s streaming. So if two people are watching separate TVs in the same house at once, you’ll need at least 16 Mbps.

Not sure what kinds of speeds you’re currently getting? Use our speedtest below to find out.

Can you fast forward through commercials on AT&T TV NOW?

Unfortunately, you’re not able to fast forward through commercials on AT&T TV NOW — or any live TV streaming service. They work the same way as live TV through cable or satellite; commercials are part of the deal. That said, you are able to skip ahead on programs in your DVR. If you pause a show, you can also fast forward to catch up.

Does AT&T TV NOW stream in 4K?

AT&T TV NOW does not currently support 4K streaming on any of its channels, but there is a workaround. Select games on Fox, FS1 and Big Ten Network stream in 4K on the Fox Sports app. The app is available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Xbox and Android TVs. Keep in mind, you will have to subscribe to an AT&T TV NOW plan that includes these channels.

The bottom line

Our AT&T TV NOW review finds it’s only worth it if HBO is a must-have channel for you. Aside from that, it has the worst channel lineup of any live TV streaming service and the user experience is mediocre at best. It’s a particularly bad option for sports fans: You’ll only be able to catch your local MLB, NBA and NHL team’s games if you upgrade to the $70/mo. Max plan.

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