My AT&T app says “AT&T TV NOW.” What’s that?

Here’s a question that came through our customer support desk. Our Novi, MI call center gets all sorts of questions. We’re happy to answer whenever we can. Not only that, people generally prefer calling us instead of calling an overseas call center.

This one came as a bit of a surprise, though, and I was brought in to explain:

I have AT&T TV at home. I downloaded the app to be able to watch my recordings on my phone. But when I launch it, it says AT&T TV NOW, not AT&T TV. Does this mean I’ll get double billed?

I had to check it out for myself. I launched the latest version of the AT&T TV app for iPhone, and sure enough this is what you see.

So in other words, they’re absolutely right.

Is this a mistake?

Before AT&T TV launched, there was a service called AT&T TV NOW. The same service was called DIRECTV NOW when it first launched. That service offered live TV with no contract for about the same price as you pay for DIRECTV satellite. It’s still out there, and still a good value. But even though it’s available for major streaming boxes, it still doesn’t match up with what you get with the AT&T TV service.

So the first thing you’d imagine is that somehow this branding is a leftover and it shouldn’t be there. That’s definitely not true.

One app to rule them all

The AT&T TV app works with both the AT&T TV service (with its dedicated box) and the AT&T TV NOW service (without a dedicated box.) No matter which you signed up for, you get the same app and the same experience. This was done on purpose. The goal is to give people a simple, consistent experience. It doesn’t make sense to have two different apps that are exactly the same except for the splash screen at the beginning.

Before HBO Max launched, there were two different apps. HBO GO was for people who subscribed to HBO through a cable provider. HBO NOW was for people who paid directly through the app. Other than that they looked the same, they acted the same, they were the same. Oh, I imagine some of the code was different but the average person wouldn’t ever know that.

What I’m really asking is…

I guess what I’m really wondering is why there’s still a separate app for DIRECTV. I like the DIRECTV app a lot and for the first five or so years it really was head and shoulders above other streaming apps of the time. But, it hasn’t really gotten a major overhaul in about five years.

I’d like to see you be able to log into the AT&T TV app as a DIRECTV customer. I think it would actually make people realize how valuable this app is. It’s got a better, more responsive guide and also really quick live TV. Since the DIRECTV app can access your playlist if you’re in the home, I’m sure the AT&T TV app could do the same. Even if didn’t, you could probably get access to all the same on demand programming.

Kind of makes you wonder why they aren’t working on something like that.


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.