AT&T TV vs. AT&T TV NOW: What’s the Difference?

Last Updated:
Disclosure: Your support helps keep our site running! We earn referral fees for some of the products & services we recommend. Learn more

If you’re looking for a cable or streaming service having two services with similar names can be quite confusing! That’s definitely the case with AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV NOW).

The biggest difference between the two services is that AT&T TV is more of a cable plan with the benefit of some streaming elements, while AT&T TV NOW is more of a streaming service. Of course, there is more that sets these two services apart.

To help you make sense of what service offers what and which one, if either, could be right for you, we’ve created this AT&T TV vs AT&T TV NOW comparison.

You can check the sections below to learn about channel options, plan features, pricing, and more. This will give you a better idea of what each service has to offer.

While these services aren’t for everyone, if you’re considering either of them, this AT&T TV vs AT&T TV NOW article should help you choose which of the two services would work for you.

AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW Similarities

We’re going to talk a lot about the differences between these two services, but there are some similarities about them, too. Here are the things that AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW have in common:

  • Both services require high-speed Internet for streaming
  • An on-demand library is included in both services
  • Both services are compatible with mobile devices (phones and tablets) and computers
  • Packages are available with a wide variety of content

The biggest difference between these two services is that AT&T TV runs on a cable model while AT&T TV NOW is set up more like a streaming service. As you’ll learn in the sections below, AT&T TV requires a 2-year contract and does not come with a free trial. On the other hand, AT&T TV NOW offers a free 7-day trial and does not require contracts.

Now that you’ve uncovered the things that make these services similar, let’s get a better look at both services so you can learn more about them.

AT&T TV vs AT&T TV NOW: At a Glance

Here you’ll find a breakdown of some of the most looked factors when people are choosing a cable or streaming service. This gives you a look at the key factors of each service. While you’ll find more information beyond this section, this section will give you the basics.

Price: Both AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW offer multiple packages. The cheapest AT&T TV package is $50 a month, but after the first year of your contract the price goes up to $93/month.

You can bundle high-speed internet for $40/month and get a $10 discount on your plan. The discount only lasts for the first year of your 2-year contract though.

In the second year, the price goes up based on the package chosen. In comparison, AT&T TV NOW’s cheapest plan is $64.99 per month. The AT&T TV package is larger, but at $93 per month it’s not as large as some other streaming packages.

Channel Selection: Both of these services are owned by AT&T, so you’re going to find a lot of the same channels, even if the pricing is slightly different.

The AT&T TV Entertainment package includes 70+ channels, while AT&T TV NOW’s cheapest package has 40+ channels. One thing that’s worth pointing out is that AT&T TV’s packages are actually available on AT&T TV NOW. Beyond the two basic plans, Plus and Max, AT&T TV NOW offers the Entertainment, Choice Xtra, and Ultimate packages. These are the packages offered as AT&T TV’s key packages.

The prices are cheaper for the first year with AT&T TV, but in the second year they go to the prices charged on AT&T TV NOW.

Features: Despite one service being more of a cable service and the other one more streaming, there are a lot of the same features here. Both services allow you to stream on multiple devices simultaneously (AT&T TV comes with 3 streams and AT&T TV NOW with 2 and an optional third stream).

You’ll also get an on-demand library and a cloud-DVR with both services. That said, AT&T TV’s DVR comes with 500-hours of space, while AT&T TV NOW comes with 20-hours.

Device Compatibility: AT&T TV NOW is a streaming service, which means you can stream on most internet-connect devices. You can use Apple TV, mobile devices, computers, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast. AT&T TV requires a set-top box (the first one is free). Other options include mobile devices and computers.

Deals & Free Trials: AT&T TV NOW offers a free 7-day trial. AT&T TV does not come with a trial option. They do give you introductory pricing, but it comes at a cost. You have to sign a 2-year contract to get the special pricing and in the second year the price nearly doubles. For example, the Entertainment plan goes from $50/month to $93/month.

Now that you know the basics, let’s look at the channel lineup.

AT&T TV vs AT&T TV NOW Channels

AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW both have multiple packages. In fact, all of AT&T TV’s packages are also available through AT&T TV NOW. We’ll start with a basic comparison of the packages that the two services offer and go from there.

AT&T TV includes four package options. Each package includes most of what the package before has, plus additional channels. Here are the prices and some key channels in each plan:

  • Entertainment ($50 to start, then $93/month) – key channels include: A&E, AMC, Cartoon Network, ESPN, Disney, Food Network, FOX News, FX, HGTV, History, TNT, TBS, truTV, USA, and many others.
  • Choice ($64.99/month, then $110 per month) – key channels include most of the Entertainment plan, plus: FOX Sports regional channels, NBC Sports regionals, Cooking Channel, SEC Network, WGN, Longhorn Network, OWN, IFC, Nick Jr, and more.
  • Xtra ($64.99 a month to $124 per month) – key channel from the top two plans and: CBS Sports Network, Golf, Destination America, Nat Geo Wild, Lifetime Movies, Discovery Family, and more.
  • Ultimate ($70/month for the first year, then $135) – again, channels from the previous plans plus: Starz Action, Starz Encore, Starz Classic, TUDN, and select others.

Add-on packages are also available. Depending on the one you want you’ll pay between $6 and $40 per month. You can add all of the premium movie channels, NBA League Pass, and more. It’s worth noting that new AT&T TV customers will receive HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Showtime, and EPIX free for the first three months.

That said, if you don’t cancel that part of your plan before the end of the third month, you’ll be charged $54 per month until you cancel those channels.

AT&T TV NOW offers all of those packages as additional packages. The pricing on AT&T TV NOW is the same price you’ll pay in the second year of your AT&T TV plan. That said, they are not the same advertised packages that AT&T TV NOW offers. The main plans include:

  • Plus ($64.99 per month) – Around 40+ channels are included. Key channels include HBO, CNN, ESPN, Disney, TNT, TBS, Syfy, USA, and more.
  • Max ($80 per month) – Around 60+ channels are included. Key channels include Cinemax, HBO, BTN, FOX News, Syfy, USA, FX, FS1, ESPN, and more.

Add-on packages are also included through AT&T TV NOW. Like AT&T TV, some add-on packages include NBA League Pass, Spanish TV add-ons, and premium channels.

You can visit our AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW reviews to learn more about the channel specifics for each service.

Now we’re going to compare the two cheapest packages by each service so you can see if either option works for you.  The following will compare AT&T TV’s Entertainment plan to AT&T TV NOW’s Plus plan.


Both services offer ESPN, FS1, USA, TNT, TBS, and truTV. In both cases, if you want regional sports channels (FSN or NBCSN) you’ll need either AT&T TV’s Choice plan or AT&T TV NOW’s Max plan. Local channels are included in both plans, though the ones you get may depend on your location. Some areas may have more local coverage than others.

News & Locals

Both services offer local channels in most areas. You also get CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and others. One difference is that AT&T TV’s Entertainment plan offers C-SPAN and C-SPAN 2, which aren’t available through the Plus plan.


The Plus plan includes HBO. As for the Entertainment plan, HBO is free for the first 3-month, but you’re charged $15 a month for that channel after that. Many of the same popular general entertainment channels are included. Both channels offer Bravo, Comedy Central, Disney, FX, Hallmark, TCM, Oxygen, truTV, TBS, TNT, and many others. One difference is that the AT&T TV Entertainment plan includes AMC and the Plus plan from AT&T TV NOW does not.

AT&T TV vs AT&T TV NOW: Final Thoughts

This essentially comes down to cable vs streaming. If you don’t want a contract, AT&T TV isn’t going to work for you. Both services require an internet connection to stream live and on-demand TV. The services are owned by the same company so there are a lot of similarities here. Additionally, it’s worth pointing out that both services are noticeably more expensive than many of the streaming services available today.

If you’re interested, you can try AT&T TV NOW free for a week. AT&T TV does not offer a free trial at this time, bu you can learn more here or call 844-950-2445.

Hopefully that answers your questions between these two services. If you have any questions about AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW, you can let us know in the comments!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.