Does AT&T Watch TV include DVR?

Easy answer: no it doesn’t. If you want a streaming package with DVR function, you should choose DIRECTV NOW. Let’s take a look at the reasoning behind this choice.

What is AT&T Watch TV?

Most folks aren’t aware that AT&T has two completely different streaming services. Everyone’s heard of DIRECTV NOW. It’s the streaming service with pretty much every channel you’d want. It includes DVR features, on-demand, and it’s been growing steadily since it was introduced several years ago.

AT&T Watch is new on the scene. We first found out about it back in April when it was announced in court testimony of all places. Since then it’s launched, with very little ceremony. In fact it’s practically impossible to know about AT&T Watch unless you’re looking for it. I’ve seen no commercials, no promotion at all, and very few reviews.

AT&T Watch looks and acts almost identical to DIRECTV NOW. The difference is in the channel selection. AT&T Watch has a very limited channel selection (table courtesy of TechHive)

AT&T Watch TV Channels
A&E Discovery ID TruTV
AMC Food Network Lifetime Velocity
Animal Planet FYI Lifetime Movies Viceland
Audience Hallmark OWN We TV
BBC World News Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Sundance TV BET
BBC America HGTV TBS Comedy Central
Boomerang History TCM MTV 2
Cartoon Network HLN TLC Nick Toons
CNN IFC TNT Teen Nick

You’ll notice no local channels, no Fox-owned channels of any kind, and no sports channels.  That might be a deal-breaker for some folks, but if you are willing to combine the service with an antenna, this might be all you need.

The channel selection was created to give customers as many choices as possible while still keeping the price point low. As I write this, AT&T Watch TV is $15 a month for everyone, or free for those with select AT&T Unlimited plans. This price point puts AT&T television in the reach of nearly everyone.

DVR? No, sir.

AT&T Watch is strictly a “live TV” service. There’s no DVR, no ability to pause live TV. Those features are reserved for the folks who want to pay for DIRECTV NOW or DIRECTV Satellite. After all you can’t get it all for $15 a month. Surprisingly you do get about 15,000 on-demand programs from the DIRECTV library including recent episodes of many popular programs. You might not need a DVR in that case.

Who should choose AT&T Watch TV?

I actually think AT&T Watch TV is a pretty good choice for seniors especially if they don’t DVR. The app is available on several streaming box platforms and that makes it a good solution for those who are shedding the cable box. Paired with an AirTV which will allow antenna TV channels on that same streaming box, it becomes very easy to watch the shows you want without incurring a large monthly expense.

However, I think for most people AT&T Watch isn’t really an ideal solution. It’s really not robust enough for most people since there’s no DVR functionality at all. I think most people would be happier with the lowest tier of DIRECTV NOW which features more channels including locals in many markets.

Perhaps that’s why AT&T really isn’t marketing Watch TV as much as they could. I think that it’s a good niche solution for people on really tight budgets, but for most people it’s really only half of the solution.