DIRECTV NOW Won’t be Replaced by AT&T Watch TV

With the release of AT&T Watch TV, some streaming insiders believe that DIRECTV NOW will fade away into obscurity. Balderdash! Sure, Watch TV only costs $15/month, and comes free with select AT&T wireless plans, but that’s not enough to unseat DIRECTV NOW as one of the most popular streaming services. In fact, the streaming service has grown to include nearly two million subscribers to date. While AT&T Watch TV will be a success, it won’t replace DIRECTV NOW in the long run. Fortunately, each of these streaming services appeal to different types of streamers.

DIRECTV NOW by the Numbers

To get an idea of how popular DIRECTV NOW is, you have to drill down into AT&T’s second quarter numbers. My colleague Stuart Sweet reported that the communications corporation saw decreases in some sectors. DIRECTV NOW, on the other hand, showed strong growth. The streaming service recently gained 342,000 subscribers, which brought the current number of subscribers to more than 1.8 million people. These numbers solidify DIRECTV NOW’s position as the second-largest live TV streaming services in the U.S. (The largest is Sling TV with more than 2+ million active subscribers at the end of the first quarter of 2018.)

AT&T Watch TV: What it Is

Let’s take a look at AT&T Watch TV. At its most basic, this is a value-driven streaming service for people who want to enjoy programming featured on their favorite national TV channels. Watch TV does offers this decent lineup of 39 national TV channels:

  • A&E
  • AMC
  • Animal Planet
  • Audience
  • BBC America
  • BBC World News
  • BET
  • Boomerang
  • Cartoon Network
  • CNN
  • Comedy Central
  • Discovery
  • Food Network
  • FYI
  • Hallmark
  • Hallmark M&M
  • HGTV
  • Hello Labs
  • History
  • HLN
  • IFC
  • Invest Disc
  • Lifetime
  • Lifetime Movies
  • MTV 2
  • Nick Toons
  • OWN
  • Sundance
  • Taylor Swift Now
  • TBS
  • TeenNick
  • TCM
  • TLC
  • TNT
  • Velocity
  • VH1
  • Viceland
  • WeTV

Currently, AT&T Watch TV is supported on these four streaming service devices:

  1. iOS 10 or Higher
  2. Android 5.0 or Higher
  3. Apple TV 4th Generation or Higher
  4. Fire TV & Fire TV Stick

Because Watch TV comes at such a low cost, there’s only so much it can provide at that price point. Watch TV doesn’t offer many of the same features that DIRECTV NOW does. The biggest absence is sports programming, and DVR. Watch TV also doesn’t offer any local channels. (These channels can drive up the cost of streaming services.) You also won’t get any chat, Twitter, or Facebook support with Watch TV. There are no phone or email support options listed although you can contact AT&T directly through the Watch site. It also only offers one stream at a time. There is no support for in-browser streaming or Roku support.


Do you want to know how DIRECTV NOW differs from Watch TV? DIRECTV NOW has everything Watch TV has, and everything it doesn’t. It really is that simple. That said, we at the Solid Signal aren’t lazy. We’re happy to share all of DIRECTV NOW’s features with you in this handy table. Here is the list of all of DIRECTV NOW’s exciting features and benefits:

  • A full line of national TV channels
  • A growing list of local TV affiliates across the country
  • The ability to add pay TV channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.)
  • A variety of sports viewing packages
  • DVR capabilities
  • On-demand programming
  • Up to three streams

For starters, DIRECTV NOW has everything Watch TV has plus more. It starts with the number of national channels. The lowest-priced DIRECTV NOW package offers 65 channels. It also offers sports programming options, DVR, and on-demand viewing. When it comes to local TV channels, this streaming service has a huge selection from coast to coast, and continues to add new affiliates almost every month. In addition to all this, DIRECTV NOW lets you add pay TV channels – HBO, Showtime, etc. – just like you would with its satellite TV service.

Here’s a handy table that easily illustrates the differences between DIRECTV NOW and AT&T Watch TV:


Streaming Service National Channels Local Channels Sports Viewing Packages DVR Capabilities Number of Streams Cost
AT&T Watch TV 39 No No No 1 $15/Month (Free with Qualifying AT&T Wireless Plan)
DIRECTV NOW 65+ Yes (Adding more nearly each month) Yes Yes Up to 3 $35/Month for Basic Package


At the end of the day, I don’t think Watch TV is a threat to DIRECTV NOW. If you were ready to ditch cable TV, would you go with Watch for $15/month? You’d get no locals, sports, or DVR. If you went with DIRECTV NOW for $35/month, you’d get everything Watch has plus all the things it doesn’t. Many streamers will justify that extra $20/month because DIRECTV NOW comes so close to the premiere DIRECTV satellite TV experience. Considering all the money you’d save from cutting the cord, that extra $20/month will seem small, especially considering all you’ll get with DIRECTV NOW.

Get a Popular AT&T Streaming Service Today!

Are you interested in AT&T Watch TV or DIRECTV NOW? We can help! Signal Connect, a division of Solid Signal, is an AT&T Authorized Dealer. We offer DIRECTV NOW accounts as well as AT&T wireless plans, which include Watch TV. (Signal Connect also handles new accounts, adds lines of service, and upgrades devices. We also sell a full line of phones, tablets, watches, and accessories.) We hope that the information in this post has helped you narrow down your choice between AT&T’s two top streaming services. If you have any follow-up questions, don’t hesitate to give our Signal Connect reps a call at 888-233-7563.



About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.