Should You Drop DIRECTV & Get AT&T TV?


Q. I’ve been reading about the new AT&T TV box and I now have DIRECTV. Do you think I should get rid of DIRECTV and get AT&T TV? It looks like AT&T is getting rid of DIRECTV soon. Is that right? — Marie, New Bern, North Carolina. 

Marie, for starters, I don’t see AT&T closing DIRECTV anytime soon. The satellite TV service still has around 15 million subscribers, and AT&T would experience a serious financial setback if it suddenly shuttered it. Remember, the company still makes a substantial profit from DIRECTV.

It is possible that AT&T will sell DIRECTV in the coming months because it’s worried that the satcaster will continue losing customers. (DIRECTV has lost a net of more than four million subscribers since AT&T purchased it in 2015.) And largely because of those losses, AT&T has already decided to deemphasize DIRECTV in its marketing plans, choosing instead to focus primarily on AT&T TV.

Which brings us to your question: Should you drop DIRECTV and get AT&T TV instead?

Let me first offer some background on AT&T TV.

The new Internet-based service offers DIRECTV’s programming packages over an AT&T-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 cancellation fee for every month left in the two-year deal if you leave early. AT&T TV charges $15 a month if you cancel while DIRECTV requires a $20 a month penalty.)

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 in their yard.

However, there are some distinct differences between the two offerings.

First, AT&T TV does not have the NFL Sunday Ticket, which is still a DIRECTV exclusive.

Second, AT&T TV does not carry some of the regional sports networks now available on DIRECTV, such as the AT&T-branded RSNs, NESN, the Marquee Sports Network, and MASN, among others. With sports in suspension due to the Coronavirus outbreak, that’s not a big deal. But it will be when play resumes.

Third, 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.

Fourth, 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.

So if any of those features are important to you, I would not advise dropping DIRECTV and getting AT&T TV.

However, if they are not, you might want to consider it because it is crystal clear that AT&T plans to emphasize AT&T TV, which means it will likely get the latest technology enhancements and other new features while DIRECTV will not.

That’s also a reason that new customers might opt for AT&T TV over DIRECTV as well because the company no longer plans to invest serious dollars in the satellite TV service.

Marie, hopes that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!

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21 comments on “Should You Drop DIRECTV & Get AT&T TV?”

  1. Do we need an AT&T-supplied set-top for Every TV ?
    Do they charge a Monthly fee for each TV, like DirecTV ?
    If so, how much ?

    Does it offer “DVR” service and “WHOLE HOME” ?
    Is there a charge for HD and DVR ?

    I hope it will work with a “HARD WIRED” installation.
    Don’t want Pixels and Freezing like you get with WiFi

  2. Three streams means maximum of watch one and recording two. That is for your whole house. Dish has 16 Tuners so there is never a conflict.

    1. I have DirecTV.
      I have (9) Receivers. (1 Genie with (5) Receivers & 2 others with (2) Receivers in Each)
      I can Record and Watch (9) shows at the SAME time.
      Does AT&T TV do this ?
      I have 200 MBPS Internet.

    2. That just means three people can be watching at each time, whether it is recording or live TV or on demand. There is no limit to how many recordings you can have in progress at one time, so long as you don’t go over the 500 hr space limit.

  3. Well if At&T does away with Direct TV, you can always switch to Dish TV, I have WiFi but sometimes in certain areas in my house I can’t get good reception on my IPhone, so I don’t think I want WiFi totally controling my TV

  4. Tried it. ATT TV has less channels than Uverse. It slows your network down. Channels load slowly. I would wait until ATT get more enhancements and channels. Don’t give up your Uverse or they will not resubscribe you. They will eventually get rid of Uverse.

    I do like the setups for the other TVs if it is a smart tv.

  5. My biggest concern is that ATT TV will use some of the bandwidth I am already paying for from Comcast. I don’t see the benefit. Currently, DirecTV does not use any of my bandwidth unless I’m renting a movie. I think it would be different if the pricing was more in line with services like Hulu TV. Plus, you don’t get NFL Sunday Ticket with ATT TV.

  6. I miss my local wgn 9 in Chicago and the NFL network so I had to get basic xfinity but I’ll see what happens for the next two years

  7. With at&t TV I don’t get cbs network in my zip code. I have direct – at&t customer service is poor. The channel lineups are much different between sat and streaming. Directv dvr is a much better experience. Steaming can bog down your Internet. Also I travel in an RV. Sat is the best solution for RVS. To renew directv they will not agree to more than a 1 year agreement and to get the select package at $50 it’s always a game to get the elusive ‘promo’ price. I would suggest YouTube for streaming.

  8. I will be paying over $200 on basic cable and internet and no one can explain to me why. I signed up for the $89 bundle.

  9. If you have ANY AT&T Product, that Explains your question .
    AT&T is ONLY Interested in SUCKING AS MUCH Money out of you as Possible.
    They Don’s care if the service works, you don’t need some of their products, they could care less.
    If you call and want to complain, good luck.
    You will end up some place OVERSEAS and get NO Help, and Probable limited or NO ENGLISH.
    That is the way AT&T WANTS IT.

  10. I’m a retiree from AT&T and Bell Atlantic and neither DirectTV or At&t are worth a damn. Poor quality and customer service.

    1. Why did you order it in the FIRST PLACE ?
      You must like HIGH Prices and 2 Year Contracts,
      and NO Customer Service.

      If that E-mail is correct, you won’t have to worry anymore.
      Except AT&T will probably CHARGE you an EARLY Termination FEE for the Remaining 2 Years.
      I am NOT surprised at it’s short life. What was it, about 2 weeks ?

  11. My experience being a dtv customer over 12 years is that service has gone steadily downhill since at&t purchase. the software generally sucks, search mechanism is abysmal (amazed what what it can’t find and some hysterical tries it makes with suggestions so far off you can only laugh- till you cry) , guide is very error prone (dates very often incorrect – seems confused by what “first run” actually means) , recording sometimes happen, sometimes don’t (HR44). We can’t get the other option here so stuck with one other overpriced alternatives, Mediacom or more holes in the roof from Dish. My mom used an expression when I was a kid when we got greedy “your eyes are bigger then your stomach”. AT&T got greedy when the bought DTV and have done a terrible job absorbing it since. DTV was way better before they got assimilated by the Borg.

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