AT&T TV Goes National: What’s Different From DIRECTV?


AT&T TV, the company’s online alternative to DIRECTV’s satellite service, is now available nationwide after a seven-month trial in select markets.

The new AT&T TV is an Internet-based service that offers DIRECTV’s programming packages over a company-supplied set-top. Once you connect the set-top, you can also watch AT&T TV on tablets, smart phones and some streaming devices using an AT&T TV app.

AT&T TV’s promotional prices, which now start at $49.99 a month, are identical to the satellite TV service. But like DIRECTV’s promotional plans, AT&T TV requires a two-year agreement for the first-year promo prices, and monthly fees roughly double in year two. (And, like DIRECTV, you must pay a $20-a-month cancellation fee for every month left in the two-year deal if you leave early.)

The telco has been promoting AT&T TV as DIRECTV without a dish. For the first time, they say, consumers can enjoy the benefits of satellite TV programming without having to install a clunky piece of equipment on their roof or yard.

AT&T is hopeful that AT&T TV will turn around the company’s TV division which has suffered net losses of six million subscribers since it purchased DIRECTV in 2015. In an ideal scenario, AT&T TV will attract new customers, and persuade current DIRECTV subs to switch to a service that is less expensive for the company to operate.

However, AT&T TV’s lineup of channels and services has several omissions that could give a DIRECTV subscriber pause before switching. For example:

No NFL Sunday Ticket
DIRECTV offers the NFL Sunday Ticket, the popular package of out-of-market NFL games. AT&T TV does not.

Missing Local & Regional Sports Channels
Some markets are missing local network affiliates now available on DIRECTV. In addition, AT&T is not carrying some regional sports channels such as MASN in the Washington-Baltimore area, as well as the AT&T-owned regional sports networks in Pittsburgh, Denver, Houston and Seattle. That means no Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles, Pittsburgh Pirates, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, etc. etc.

Update: As of March 5, the Marquee Sports Network, the new TV home of the Chicago Cubs, is not on AT&T’s list of available channels, either. However, it is being carried by DIRECTV.

No Live 4K Programming
While the AT&T set-top is 4K-enabled, the company is not offering live 4K programming now found on DIRECTV such as college basketball games, NFL football games and MLB contests.

High-Speed Internet Required
To watch AT&T TV, you must connect the company-supplied set-top to a high-speed Internet service. That could be a problem for some rural residents who don’t have access to top-quality Internet plans. AT&T’s recommends that you have a minimum of 8 Mbps per stream for optimal viewing; the service permits three simultaneous streams.

On the plus side, AT&T TV does not require an installer to visit your home because the company will send you the AT&T TV box, which you can self-install.

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7 comments on “AT&T TV Goes National: What’s Different From DIRECTV?”

  1. Let’s see – they want you to subscribe to a service that’s cheaper for them with less programming offers and if you have an issue you can call their “award winning” customer service reps in the Philippines.

    I’ll pass.

    1. I feel your pain.had to deal with their customer service overseas and their technical support techs that took two months to NOT fix the problem!!! and I’ve been a customer since 1996…..AT&T needs to leave DirecTV alone…things were MUCH better before the merger, where AT&T made DirecTV worse!!!!

  2. They just don’t get it. The costs are higher than competitors (with the box fees) even during the promotional rate. More importantly, these days there are too many options for rationale people to commit to a contract that, after promotional period, requires you to pay whatever they want even if/when they delete your favorite network(s) because they can’t get to an agreement, or quit and send them a check for no services for the duration of the contract. .

  3. AT&T have really brought DirecTV down. I’ve had DirecTV since 2006. Move from NY to Alabama and it got worse.

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