Q. I read your article yesterday about AT&T TV Now replacing DIRECTV Now. But then I heard there’s something called AT&T TV. Is that the same thing? I also read awhile back about AT&T Watch. Is that the same as the other two? Help me, I have to admit I’m a bit confused by all these things. — Charlie, Madison, Wisconsin.
Charlie, you’re not the only one who’s having difficulty sorting out the various TV services from AT&T. The problem only gets worse when AT&T puts its name in several of them. Seriously, how can the average consumer tell the difference?
Well, let me try to help.
AT&T TV Now, as you noted, is the new name for DIRECTV Now, the live streaming service which debuted in November 2016. If you would like to read my take on why AT&T changed the name, click here.
AT&T Watch TV is also a live streaming service, but it only offers 35 channels rather than the 100+ that’s available on DIRECTV Now. (Oops, sorry, make that AT&T TV Now.) AT&T TV Now’s prices start at $50 a month while you can get AT&T Watch TV for just $15 a month.
Now, AT&T TV, as opposed to AT&T TV Now — confused yet? — is a new Internet-based service that was launched just yesterday in 10 trial markets: Orange, CA, Riverside, CA, West Palm Beach, Florida, Topeka and Wichita, KS, St. Louis and Springfield, MO, and Corpus Christi, El Paso and Odessa, TX. (More markets are expected in the coming months.)
(Yes, AT&T decided to launch a new business called AT&T TV on the same day it changed the name of another offering to AT&T TV Now. Don’t ask me to explain the reasoning behind that. I’m the TV Answer Man, not a mystic.)
AT&T sees AT&T TV as an alternative to DIRECTV’s satellite TV service, and U-verse. (Yes, both of those are also owned by AT&T.) AT&T TV has a similar lineup to DIRECTV’s lineup — except for the NFL Sunday Ticket — but it can be seen via the Internet on a set-top provided by AT&T. (For the first time, you can get DIRECTV without a dish.)
The introductory promo price starts at $59.99 a month, but it requires a two-year agreement, just like DIRECTV’s promotional offers. And in year two of the deal, the price jumps to more than $90 a month, just like DIRECTV’s promotional offers.
I would never get AT&T TV due to the two-year agreement requirement. (If you want to read why you shouldn’t sign up for a two-year deal, click here.) But AT&T believes that many consumers have longed to get DIRECTV, but haven’t been able to because of geographical limitations or other reasons that make it impossible to install a dish. We’ll see about that.
So, Charlie, there you go. You now have AT&T TV, AT&T TV Now, AT&T Watch TV, DIRECTV and U-verse. But if you’re still confused, well, I have to admit that so am I.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann