Ditching your cable provider is easier than ever thanks to the growing number of video streaming services that focus on live TV, such as AT&T TV (formerly known as AT&T TV Now). This cable-replacement service performs well and offers a ton of channel options, but its plans are more expensive and confusing than competitors’. AT&T TV’s DVR functionality also lags a bit behind competitors, but we do like that the service supports parental controls and enables subscribers to stream on up to three devices concurrently.
AT&T TV’s package lineup remains as convoluted as ever, and your options depend on whether you choose a package with no annual contract or one with a two-year contract. Every other live TV streaming service we’ve reviewed operates on a no-contract basis. AT&T TV at least offers a 14-day free trial, but you cannot cancel your account online; you must call its support staff to cancel.
AT&T TV offers four month-to-month plans: Entertainment, Choice, Ultimate, and Premier. The only difference between plans is the number of channels you get. We prefer services such as YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV that offer straightforward single-package lineups. FuboTV and Sling TV also annoyingly segment their plans into several different tiers. One improvement since the time of our last review, however, is that AT&T’s tiers now build on each other more logically. Previously, some of the more-expensive packages lacked several popular channels found in less-expensive tiers’ lineups.
The 65-channel Entertainment Package is now the cheapest no-contract option, at $69.99 per month, because the Plus plan (previously $50 per month) is no longer available. This plan includes all the local broadcast affiliates from ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, plus news channels such as CNBC, CNN, CNN International, C-SPAN, FOX Business, FOX News, MSNBC, and Univision. Entertainment and lifestyle channels include Animal Planet, Discovery, Disney Channel, Food Network, FX, HGTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount, SYFY, TBS, and USA. You also get sports channels, such as FS1, ESPN, ESPN2, and NBC Sports Network. You do not get regional sports networks (RSNs) at this tier.
The $84.99-per-month Choice plan increases the total number of channels to around 90. You get the vast majority of the channels from the Entertainment Package (except for Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Ovation, and Revolt) as well as Cheddar, CNBC World, Cooking Channel, Fuse, Game Show Network, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, OWN, Science, Tastemade, The Weather Channel, and Travel Channel. You also get additional sports networks such as ACC, Big 10 Network, ESPNews, ESPNU, MLB Network, NBA TV, and Tennis Channel.
SportsNet), Comcast (NBC Sports), or Sinclair (FOX Sports; soon to be Bally Sports). Check out each RSN’s page to see which one carries your local team’s games. AT&T TV is notably the only live TV service I’ve reviewed that includes RSNs from all three networks, although it is missing a few NBC Sports RSNs. Most other streaming services, including fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube have dropped the Sinclair-owned RSNs and do not offer AT&T-owned ones.
The $94.99-per-month Ultimate plan expands the lineup to 130 channels. You get all of the Choice’s plans channels along with American Heroes Channel, Aspire, BBC World News, CBS Sports Network, Discovery Family, Discovery Life, DIY, FS2, FX Movie Channel, Golf Channel, Logo, MTV Classic, Nat Geo Wild, NHL Network, Olympic Channel, Oxygen, several Starz Encore channels, Smithsonian Channel, and Universal Kids.
To get even more channels, you can spring for the $139.99-per-month Premier lineup, which includes 140 channels. The most significant additions in that lineup are HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and Starz.
More plans are available if you choose to enter into a two-year contract with AT&T TV. However, you only get a discount on the first year of service if you enter a contract and there is an early-cancellation fee. For instance, while the Entertainment package costs $59.99 per month for the first year, it goes up to a whopping $93 per month for the second. Also, whereas the RSN coverage fee is included in the month-to-month price, subscribers to the Choice tier and above need to pay up to an additional $8.49 per month for those channels. The only real benefit of the two-year contract is that you get 500 hours of DVR storage, instead of the default 20 hours (though that limit can be extended with a $10-per-month add-on). I don’t recommend that anyone signs up for a two-year contract because of the ridiculous price jumps.
If you do, against all logic and reason, decide to sign up for a two-year deal, you can get two additional tiers; Xtra and the Optimo Mas. The Xtra plan has all the same channels as the Ultimate plan except for the Starz Encore channels and TUDN. The Optimo Mas tier has about half of the Entertainment plan’s channels (it’s missing all the most popular ones) as well as about 50 other Spanish-language channels, such as Cine Sony, CNN en Espanol, Discovery en Espanol, ESPN Deportes, Estrella TV, FOX Deportes, Gol TV, Nat Geo Mundo, Telemundo, TUDN, UniMas, Universo,
As with most other services, AT&T TV lets you subscribe to add-on packages. For instance, you can add Premium Channels such as HBO Max ($14.99 per month), Cinemax ($11 per month), Epix ($6 per month), Showtime ($11 per month), and Starz ($11 per month). NBA League Pass ($40 per month) is another option. There are also Brazilian ($30 per month for two channels), Korean ($30 per month for 12 channels), and Vietnamese ($20 per month for nine channels) package options, in addition to the Espanol and Deportes add-ons, which each cost an additional $15 per month. Note that some add-ons may be unavailable since they are already included in your streaming package.
AT&T TV’s main advantage for sports fans is that it is the only live TV streaming service I’ve reviewed that offers RSNs from AT&T, Comcast, and Sinclair. It also has all the local broadcast affiliates (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) you could want and many of the popular sports channels. One problem is that you need to pay quite a bit more than other services to get all those channels. For instance, you don’t get access to RSNs until the $84.99-per-month Choice tier, and Golf Channel and NHL Network are restricted to the $94.99-per-month Ultimate plan.
One drawback for NFL fans is that none of AT&T TV’s packages include NFL Network, something YouTube TV and Sling TV do. NHL fans might also want to consider Sling TV instead, because it is the only streaming service that offers an NHL Center Ice add-on.
All of AT&T TV’s plans are expensive. For instance, Sling TV’s Orange and Sling Blue plans cost just $30 per month, while the combined Sling Orange & Blue plan costs $45 per month. Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV both cost $64.99 per month and offer more channels than AT&T’s base plan. Philo’s $20-per-month, 63-channel plan offers a comparable number of channels to AT&T TV’s Entertainment package at a fraction of the cost, though its lineup lacks sports and local broadcast channels. If you do want to watch local channels on the cheap, consider the $4.99-per-month Locast.
In addition to streaming AT&T TV on the web, you can download apps on media streaming devices (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku) and mobile devices (iOS and Android). Notably missing from this lineup are Xbox and PlayStation consoles. Both Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV support both those gaming consoles.
AT&T TV’s web interface is less splashy than competitors’ efforts, with a lot of white space and uniform-looking lists. It is easy to navigate, however, and I did not encounter any stuttering pages or crashes during testing. I would like to see a dark mode option, though, since the overly light color scheme can be somewhat uncomfortable to look at in low light.
The top navigation menu breaks down into four options: Watch Now, My Library, Discover, and Guide. In the top right, there’s a search bar and a gear icon for account settings. The search function is pretty basic, but it works fine for finding movies, networks, and TV shows. One helpful thing is that you can filter results by content type. For example, when I searched for soccer, I could filter results by TV shows and Sports. YouTube TV’s search is still more advanced, as it allows you to combine multiple terms in a search, such as a genre and a year. In the Account Settings, you can manage subscription settings, turn on parental controls, and switch the captioning display option. Oddly, one option, Play Live TV on Launch, cannot be turned off on the web.
Android apps and iOS apps called AT&T TV. I tested the AT&TV Now app on a Google Pixel running Android 11 and had no issues signing in to my account. The mobile app looks consistent with the desktop experience, but it’s not particularly impressive. One annoyance is that you can’t disable the Picture-in-Picture view in the app, which just ends up covering part of the interface.
10-foot devices), which is an improvement since the last time we reviewed it. However, if you are only using 10-foot devices, then you are limited to two simultaneous streams. YouTube TV also supports three concurrent streams. FuboTV and Hulu Live TV allow for two simultaneous streams by default, but both offer add-ons that expand those limits considerably.
The top live TV streaming services we’ve reviewed, such as Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV, support 1080p/60fps live channels on select platforms. A representative from AT&T TV stated that the service uses an adaptive bitrate and that it maxes out at HD for all AT&T content. I could not confirm the exact resolution of AT&T TV’s HD channels, but, to my eye, they didn’t appear to reach 1080p and the framerate seemed to be locked at 30fps on the devices I tested. FuboTV is the only live TV streaming services we tested that supports 4K resolution for select broadcasts, such as NFL games.
Sling TV allows you to save 10 hours’ worth of content for as long as you subscribe. You can upgrade AT&T TV’s DVR storage to 500 hours for an extra $10 per month. That price beats fuboTV’s $9.99-per-month DVR upgrade that expands the storage limit to 250 hours. An AT&T TV representative confirmed that you can skip recorded ads when playing back DVR content.
AT&T TV offers two standout streaming features: Lookback and Restart. The Lookback feature lets you watch select programming from up to three days in the past. This would be particularly useful for sports fans who may have missed a match from the previous day or so, but very few channels appear to support it (FS1, TBS, and TNT are among those that had previously aired content available to watch). Only select programs support this feature.
The Restart feature, on the other hand, enables you to play back a live program from the beginning. Many more channels, including A&E, AMC, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Food Network, FOX Sports, HGTV, Paramount, Travel Channel, and UniMas seem to support this feature, but again, this is dependent upon the individual program. One drawback is that, once you restart a program, you cannot record it from the beginning, which seems like a missed opportunity. Philo can also restart streams of programs, while fuboTV offers similar Lookback and Start Over features.
For streaming live TV, AT&T TV recommends internet speeds of at least 8Mbps per stream. I tested AT&T TV over my home Ethernet network (200Mbps) and, as expected, did not encounter any streaming difficulties. When I watched a Divisional Round NFL playoff game, the stream quickly ramped up to full quality and the audio remained in sync with the video. I didn’t notice any significant stutters. Both the Lookback and Restart features worked fine in testing.
AT&T TV moved closed captioning options directly on the playback screen on the web and has vastly improved the customization options. You can still pick the white text on a black background or black text on a white background options, but now you can customize the font, text size, text color, and background color, too. In testing, the captions were accurate, although they ran several seconds behind live broadcasts.
AT&T TV does not offer anything similar to Netflix’s and Prime Video‘s audio descriptions feature for its on-demand content, though a representative from the company confirmed that it is on the roadmap. Audio descriptions are audible narrations of on-screen events that cannot be picked up from the dialogue alone.
parental control features. In the Settings section, you can block movies and TV shows by rating, as well as restrict access to everything that doesn’t have a rating. Restrictions apply to both live and on-demand content.
Much like Sling TV’s implementation, the utility of this feature is limited, since you cannot link these restrictions to individual profiles. Different members of the household would presumably not be bound by the same viewing restrictions, so it may become annoying to have to provide a four-digit PIN every time you switch channels or want to watch a movie.
You should use a virtual private network, or VPN, to secure your network activity, even though many video streaming services, such as AT&T TV, may prevent you from using one with their service. Sometimes video streaming services block VPN traffic to enforce regional broadcasting restrictions. AT&T TV, for example, is only available for US residents.
For testing, I connected my desktop PC and a mobile phone to both Sweden- and US-based Mullvad VPN servers. On my desktop and mobile deivce, I had no trouble streaming over the connection to the US-based VPN server on either device, but the service stopped working when I switched to the VPN server in Sweden.
Even if your VPN and video streaming service work without issue for now, that’s no indication that they will continue to do so. Many video streaming services are continually finding new ways to detect and block VPN traffic. You can always just disable your VPN temporarily, so we recommend that you pick a VPN based on their privacy and security credentials, rather than whether they work with all your video streaming services.
AT&T TV is a reliable service for streaming live TV and we like its Lookback and Restart features. However, it offers far too many channel packages, most of which are overpriced. AT&T TV’s DVR capabilities also lag behind competitors’ and its apps are not as elegant.
Netflix is our top pick for on-demand streaming, thanks to its impressive library of TV shows and movies. Hulu is versatile and a good value given its combination of live and on-demand content. YouTube TV is an excellent live TV streaming service with top-notch interfaces and a good channel lineup.