The streaming wars are going full swing. It seems like every week a new service is coming out or being announced. In some ways, this is great because it means more options for cord cutters. Of course, too many options can be just as problematic than not enough. Today, we’re going to look at the newest service to hit the market, AT&T TV. It may sound familiar, because there is another AT&T owned service (AT&T TV NOW), but this is different. While AT&T TV is similar to streaming, there are some key differences.
What is AT&T TV? Is it cable or streaming and what are the benefits of this service vs all the others? Find out the answers to your questions in our full AT&T TV review.
What is AT&T TV?
AT&T TV is technically a live TV cable streaming service with some very stark differences. For starters, this service comes with a contract. Rather than using a standard streaming device like you would with AT&T TV NOW or other services, you get a set-top box that is powered using Android TV. Even though they share a very similar name AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW are completely different services.
AT&T TV is available nationwide, after being tested in a select number of cities. Subscribers will have the chance to choose between multiple packages with hundreds of channels. You’ll also get an on-demand library with around 40,000 included titles. The included cloud-DVR offers 500-hours of space. The set-top box also offers the options of using additional apps like Netflix, Disney+, and others, but those would require an additional subscription.
Here are some highlights:
- Multiple package options
- Set top box that provides live TV, an on-demand library, and additional apps
- Comes with a contract
- 500-hours of cloud-DVR storage is included
- The Google Play store is supported, which offers 5,000+ apps
- A voice-enabled remote is included
- Works with Google Assistant
- AT&T TV requires high speed internet
- A TV + Internet bundle is available
- The contract is for two-years, but the pricing is only guaranteed for one-year
The important thing to pay attention to here is the fact that you have to sign a 2-year contract. According to the fine print, prices are guaranteed to go up in the second year of your contract. For example, one package is available offering 70 channels for $50 per month for the first 12 months. From the 13th month on the same package is raised to $93. You’re still under contract and if you cancel, you’ll be on the hook for early termination fees. AT&T TV also charges a $20 activation fee. Your first AT&T TV box is free, but additional boxes will cost you more than the average streaming equipment. You’ll have to pay $120 per box.
Want to try AT&T TV? Click here or call 844-950-2445.
How AT&T TV Works
AT&T TV is technically a streaming service, albeit not a conventional one. You will need high speed internet to gain access to live or on-demand TV. According to AT&T’s website they recommend at least 8Mbps per stream for the best viewing. You can stream on three devices at the same time. Here is how you can sign up and start streaming AT&T TV:
- Go to AT&T TV’s website and sign up
- Choose the right package for you (get between 60+ and 100+ channels per package)
- Pick any available add-ons (Showtime, Starz, EPIX, etc.)
- Decide whether you want to bundle with internet (more on that later)
- Choose a user ID and password (if you don’t already have one)
- Add your payment info to finish your signup.
It’s worth noting that AT&T TV points out that there may be a $120 hold on your credit card if this is your first AT&T TV order. They claim it should go away within 5 days, but according to them, the speed at which is disappears will depend on the bank you use.
AT&T TV does work on mobile devices (iOS and Android) and on your computer, so you may be able to start watching TV before you get your box.
Either way, setup is easy. All it takes is an HDMI cord to go from your TV to your set-top box and some decent Internet. As long as you can hook that up, you’re good to go. Once you have your box, there’s no reason that you wouldn’t have the setup complete in minutes.
AT&T TV Technical Features
If you’re curious about what this streaming/cable service brings to the table in terms of technical features, this is the section for you.
Video quality: AT&T TV offers both standard and HD channels. They recommend at least 8Mpbs per stream (you can have three running at once). They do not currently offer 4K, just standard and HD (1080p).
Device compatibility: The standard is the AT&T TV set-top box. The first one is free, but any additional will run you $120 per box. You can also watch using an AT&T TV app on your phone or tablet or you can watch on your computer.
DVR recording: A cloud-DVR is included with 500-hours of storage space. That said, recordings will disappear after 90-days.
Simultaneous streaming – You can stream on three devices at the same time.
AT&T TV Review: Channel Lineup
AT&T TV offers four packages in total. Packages start with 60+ channels all the way to plans with 120+ channels. The four packages in order from least number of channels to most are Entertainment, Choice, Xtra, and Ultimate.
This package is the cheapest option in the bunch. It’s $50 to start, though it goes up to $93 in the second year of the contract. Channels include:
Local channels, A&E HD, AccuWeather HD, AMC, Animal Planet, AXStv, BabyFirst, BBC America HD, BET HD, Bloomberg HD, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network HD, CMT, CNBC, CNN HD, CNN en Espanol, Comedy Central, C-SPAN, C-SPAN2, Discovery, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E! HD, ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD, Food Network, FOX Business, FOX News, FS1, Freeform, FX, FXX, Galavision, GEM, Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, HGTV, History HD, HLN, HSN, Investigation Discovery, Lifetime, MotorTrend, MSNBC, MTV, MTV2, National Geographic, NBCSN, Nickelodeon HD, OAN, Ovation, Paramount Network, QVC, QVC HD, QVC2, Reelz, Revolt, RFD-TV, Sundance TV, Syfy, TBS, TCM, Teen Nick, TLC, TNT, truTV, TV Land, Univision, USA, VH1, Vice, Vice HD, and WEtv HD
As you can see, though ESPN and a selection of other sports channels are included, this package doesn’t include regional sports networks. If you want RSNs you’ll need a larger package. Keep in mind, if you’re package has RSNs, AT&T TV will bill you an additional $8.50 per month for those channels, which are in your package.
This package includes most of what is available in the Entertainment package, plus:
AWE, ACC Network, Big Ten Network, Cheddar Business, CNBC World, Comedy TV, Cooking Channel HD, ESPNews, ESPNU, FOX Sports regional channels, Game Show Network, IFC, Justice Central, Longhorn Network, MSG, MLB Network, MSG Plus, NBA TV, NBCSN regional sports networks, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, OWN, Pop, Pop HD, Prime Ticket HD, Science, SEC Network, SNY HD, Sportstime Ohio, Tennis Channel, The Weather Channel, Travel, TV One, UniMas West, Up, WGN, and Yes HD
While there are more channels here, the bulk of them are sports channels. If you want sports channels, this is going to be the cheapest package option for you. The Choice package starts at $55 per month, but in the second year it goes up to $110 per month.
With the Xtra package, you get most of what is available in the previous packages plus the following channels:
American Heroes Channel, Aspire HD, BBC World News, BET Her, Cartoon Network (standard and HD), CBS Sports Network, Destination America, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY, FM HD, FS2, FXM, FYI, Golf, Great American Country, Lifetime Movies, Logo, Logo HD, MTV Classic, Nat Geo Wild, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Oxygen HD, Sportsman Channel, TVG, Universal Kids, and Universo HD
The Xtra package will go from the introductory price of $65 to $124 per month. If you add the internet bundle, your initial price will be less than $65, but in the second year the price will be over $150 for TV and internet, which is just like paying for traditional cable services.
Finally, there’s the Ultimate package. This package includes most of everything in the previous packages with the following additions:
Starz Action, Starz Black, Starz Classic, Starz Family, Starz Encore (SD and HD), Starz Suspense, Starz Westerns, and TUDN HD
The Ultimate package goes from $70 to $135 per month in the second year. As you can see, there’s not a lot of extra content here beyond the Starz package. The only benefit is if you wanted Starz and had the Xtra package it would be cheaper to get the Ultimate package rather than adding Starz to the previous package. Still, this package is easily as expensive as most cable packages, which isn’t going to work for most cord cutters.
You can bundle AT&T’s high-speed internet with any of these packages and save $10 per month on the cable package. That said, the internet will cost a minimum of $40 per month. This deal might not be so bad in the beginning, but once the price hike hits, it’s not going to help you any.
There are a variety of add-on packages also available. One thing worth noting is that AT&T TV will give you HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and EPIX for the first three months. Keep in mind, if you don’t cancel these channels before the end of the three months, you’ll be charged an additional $54 per month to cover these channels.
AT&T TV Review: Prices
You’ve seen the channel lineup. Here is a breakdown of what each package costs and what the price goes up to after the first year.
- Entertainment package – $50 for the first year, $93 from the second month on
- Choice package – $55 per month for the first year, $110 from months 13-24
- Xtra package – $65 per month, which increases to $124 in the second year
- Ultimate package – $70 per month to start, then $135 after the first year
AT&T TV also gives you all of the movie channels (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and EPIX) for free for the first three months. If you do not cancel these channels by phone before the end of the three-month window, you will be charged an additional $54 per month for every month you do not cancel.
AT&T TV Pros & Cons
Now that you’ve learned a lot about AT&T TV you might be wondering if it’s worth it. With that in mind, here are some pros and cons to AT&T TV:
- A big selection of channels
- Some packages include many popular sports channels allow you to watch sports online
- Stream on three devices simultaneously
- The set-top box hooks to Google Play, allowing for thousands of apps in one spot
- Coverage for local (and in some packages) regional channels
- The on-demand library offers thousands of hours of content
- The cloud-based DVR features 500-hours of space
- Google Chromecast is built in, so you can cast from your TV to your set-top box
- The remote offers voice activation
- Setup is easy
- Despite the similarities to streaming, this is still structured like a cable service
- You do get 500-hours of cloud-DVR space, but after 90-days recordings are dropped
- Some apps aren’t available including Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or Hulu
- A 2-year contract is required
- A $15 per month fee is required for every month on your contract if you cancel
- Prices start low, but nearly double during the second year of your contract
- In packages with RSNs, you’ll pay an additional $8.50 per month
- While packages all include more channels than the last, some channels are only in the smaller package – which can be confusing
- The first set-top box might be free, but each additional one costs $120
- You can only stream on mobile devices, computers, and the AT&T TV set-top box
Is AT&T TV Worth It?
It makes sense that AT&T would attempt to come up with a solution for all of the cable subscribers they continue to lose to streaming. That said, AT&T TV might not be the service to do that for everyone. While some cable subscribers might be enticed, the people that have already cut the cord are likely going to be enticed by cable prices and two-year contracts.
Thanks for taking the time to read our AT&T TV review and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments.
Still want to try AT&T TV? Click here or call 844-950-2445.