AT&T TV NOW review 2020 (formerly DIRECTV NOW)

AT&T TV NOW highlights

AT&T TV NOW review

AT&T offers a bunch of services to address different streaming needs. But among all the AT&T streaming options available, AT&T TV NOW offers the most comprehensive solution. You don’t need a separate device just to access it, and you can access over 125 channels depending on which package you choose. Plus, it offers both live and on-demand content, with some packages even including premium channels like Cinemax and HBO.

Originally launched as DIRECTV Now in 2016, the streaming service once had about 30 live TV channels and didn’t include sports and local programming. It has since seen a lot of improvements and now has a variety of packages to choose from and a robust offering of sports and local channels.

Rebranded as AT&T TV NOW in 2019, this streaming service is now one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market. Besides its expansive channel lineup, it also comes with standout features like cloud DVR and simultaneous streaming capabilities.

Why AT&T TV NOW may be the right streaming service for you

AT&T TV NOW could be a great choice for those who want access to premium programming through channels like Cinemax, HBO and STARZ. The service features a few packages that come with these premium channels included. Plus, you have the option to further customize your package with other premium channels like EPIX and SHOWTIME.

Compare AT&T TV NOW packages and pricing

AT&T TV NOW has an expansive selection of streaming packages with seven options to choose from. But in spite of this variety, it’s still one of the pricier streaming services on the market. The base AT&T TV NOW plan costs about the same as other live TV streaming services like fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV. However, it only offers 45+ channels, while the other two offer 65+ and 100+, respectively.

 PLUSMAXEntertainmentChoiceXTRAUltimateOptimo Más
Monthly price$55$80$93$110$124$135$86
Free trial length7 days7 daysN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Number of channels45+60+65+85+105+125+90+
Number of simultaneous streams3333333
Cloud DVR storage500 hrs.500 hrs.500 hrs.500 hrs.500 hrs.500 hrs.500 hrs.
Offline viewingN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Ad-free optionNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Premium channels includedNoCinemax + HBONoNoNoSTARZNo
International package add-ons availableYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
Premium add-ons availableYesYesYesYesYesYesYes

AT&T TV NOW bundles, deals and free trials

To make up for its higher price, AT&T TV NOW occasionally runs offers and deals so you can save a bit of money. Plus, it also offers free trials on some of its packages so you can take it for a test run and see if it’s worth the investment.

No bundling option for AT&T TV NOW

Although AT&T lets you bundle streaming and internet services, those offers don’t apply to AT&T TV NOW. The bundle option is only available for AT&T TV – the AT&T streaming service that comes with a set-top box.

Excellent deals on premium channels

AT&T TV NOW regularly provides attractive deals, especially when it comes to premium channels. For instance, it currently offers a 30-day free trial for HBO Max for new subscribers to any of its plans, excluding standalone international packages and MAX. It’s also offering a 30-free trial for SHOWTIME with any of its plans except for the standalone international packages.

Free trial excludes some packages

The AT&T TV NOW seven-day free trial is on par with what most streaming services offer. But the free trial is only applicable for the PLUS and MAX plans as well as the international packages.

User experience

AT&T TV NOW offers a pretty straightforward experience across all devices, with the home screen highlighting your most recent watches on both TV and mobile and tablet devices. While you can watch AT&T TV NOW using your desktop browser, you might not get the same functionality as on the app.

The app allows you to switch between channels by swiping left or right on mobile and tablet devices. If you’re watching it on TV, you can do the same by pressing left or right on your remote. Other live TV streaming services don’t provide this option to channel surf.

Keep in mind, though, that with the service’s live TV programming, you’ll experience a few seconds of delay compared to cable, which is the same for all streaming services. But the most notable issue is with on-demand playback. You might occasionally run into problems with the screen freezing, which could disrupt your streaming experience.

On the plus side, AT&T TV NOW is quite lenient with its simultaneous streaming functionality. You can use the same account to stream from up to three devices at once. This makes it super convenient if you’re sharing with roomies. 

While the streaming service alphabetically sorts its TV guide, you can even customize this section to display only your favorite channels. This is a highly convenient way to quickly find what’s playing on your most-watched channels.

Device compatibility

AT&T TV NOW is compatible with a wide range of devices, though, at the time of writing this post, it doesn’t work with any of the leading gaming consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox. As of now, you can watch AT&T TV NOW on the following devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV devices (2nd generation or higher)
  • Android phones and tablets (5.0 and higher)
  • Apple TV (4th generation)
  • Apple TV 4K (5th generation)
  • Chrome 58+ browser
  • Chromecast (2nd generation and higher)
  • Chromecast Built-in TV
  • iPhones and iPads (iOS 11+)
  • iPod Touch (iOS 11+)
  • Roku devices
  • Safari 10+ browser
  • Samsung Smart TV (2017-2018 models)

AT&T TV NOW features

Record your favorite content with 500 hours of DVR storage

AT&T TV NOW comes with 500 hours of cloud DVR storage so you can record your favorite live TV programming to watch on your own time. This feature allows you to enjoy some capabilities not available with live TV such as rewind and fast forward or even skip through commercials. And you can freely watch and rewatch these recordings for up to 90 days.

Keep in mind that select channels might not offer the option to use cloud DVR.

Enjoy a large selection of sports

The service comes with an expansive selection of live and national sports programming so you can watch everything from basketball to golf. AT&T TV NOW gives you access to top sports channels such as ACCN, ESPN, Big Ten Network, CBS Sports Network, ESPN, FOX Sports 1 and 2, Golf Channel, MSG Network, NBCSN and SEC Network.

It’s also one of the few streaming services that still provide FOX Sports regional networks in select markets. Plus, you get access to other regional sports channels such as NBC Sports Regional Networks and Spectrum SportsNet.  

However, the channel lineup may vary depending on where you live and which package you get. Make sure to check the full channel lineup for each package before you confirm your subscription.

Create a customized TV guide with your favorite channels

AT&T TV NOW makes it easy to find what’s coming up on your favorite channels by letting you create a customized TV guide. Add channels to your “Favorites” by “hearting” them so you can check upcoming shows that are most relevant to you. This saves you the trouble of scrolling through multiple channels on the TV guide.

You can also filter the guide by type to check out upcoming programs in certain categories such as kids, movies, sports or TV shows.

Watch select shows that aired in the past 72 hours

One of the most standout features of this service is the 72 Hour Lookback option. This feature allows you to watch select programming that aired during the last 72 hours. So it’s a great way to catch up on programming that you missed but failed to record.

You can use the 72 Hour Lookback feature on around 40 channels. And shows that offer this option will have a half-looped arrow icon next to them.

Easily switch between channels by pressing/swiping

Most live TV streaming services will let you find what to watch through the TV guide. Often, this comes with a photo and a short description of the programming to help you decide. But for those who enjoy channel surfing to find something to watch, this might be a little inconvenient. Luckily, AT&T TV NOW gives you the option to channel surf just like you do with cable TV.

A left or right swiping motion on mobile and tablet devices can help you seamlessly switch between channels with just a couple of seconds of delay. For those watching it on their streaming device, the right and left arrow buttons on their remote will do the trick. And since you still have the option to browse channels through the TV guide and the search bar, the service suits different TV-watching habits.

What to watch on AT&T TV NOW

AT&T TV NOW has a wide selection of programming in various categories. Besides news and entertainment channels, it also gives you access to a robust selection of sports and local programming.

Live TV channels

Use your AT&T TV NOW subscription to stream live programming from leading channels like ABC, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CBS, Disney Channel, ESPN and TNT. Plus, it also comes with regional sports channels through FOX Sports and NBCSN.

Although the actual channel lineup varies by package, some even offer premium programming through HBO and Cinemax. Since the service offers such a wide variety of programming, it’s a great option for movie fans and sports fans alike.

Shows and movies

Shows

The service lets you stream binge-worthy TV shows on demand. This includes popular contemporary TV series such as American Horror Story, Ballers, Game of Thrones, How to Get Away with Murder and Succession. In addition, you can also watch iconic shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and NCIS.

Movies

AT&T TV NOW also has a decent selection of classic movies and hit new releases in its on-demand content lineup. This includes popular titles like Captain America: Civil War, Crazy Rich Asians, Deadpool, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and more. The service regularly updates this lineup with the latest releases, so keep checking back to find something to watch.

Original content

With AT&T putting an end to Audience Network in May 2020, the original content slate for AT&T TV NOW no longer exists as of now.

Our hot take

AT&T TV NOW may be among the pricier live TV streaming options, but some of its packages also come with premium channels such as Cinemax, HBO and STARZ. So it’s worth a try for those who enjoy premium TV streaming. But you might want to look elsewhere if you need a cost-effective cable alternative. 

Start a seven-day free trial and see if it’s the right fit for you. Or try out other options like fuboTV and Hulu + Live TV to find out the best service for you.

Jacqueline Zote

Jacqueline Zote is a digital marketing and entertainment writer who makes regular contributions to Sprout Social and Recreation Insider. Her interests range from pop culture and mythology to social activism. When she’s not writing, she goes on food adventures and binges on crime drama. Her short fiction has been published by HarperCollins Publishers and Zubaan Books.