what is watchtv cost, features

AT&T

WatchTV is a killer streaming service for AT&T customers and terrible for everyone else

AT&T's WatchTV isn't the same thing as AT&T TV Now. Far from it, in fact!

Apr 5, 2020, 9:25 pm*

Streaming

Kristina Nguyen 

Kristina Nguyen


Thanks to the effective death of telecom regulations in America, corporate media companies have been gobbling each other up for years. That’s why we have only five major movie studios, and that’s why AT&T, WarnerMedia, and HBO are all part of the same big company. For consumers. this often means higher prices and fewer options. 

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But occasionally, there is a silver lining amongst all this corporate consolidation. Currently, that silver lining is WatchTV, a budget focused streaming TV service with a few minor issues but a great lineup. Is WatchTV worth your hard-earned money? Here’s everything you need to know.

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WatchTV plans and pricing

Boiled down to its basics, WatchTV is the simplest streaming TV plan as you can find on the market. Unlike AT&T’s other streaming TV solution, AT&T TV Now, which starts at $65 per month, WatchTV costs just $15 per month. Beyond costs, the biggest difference between the two services is the number of channels and features. AT&T TV Now starts with 45+ channels and HBO, WatchTV has 40+ channels, doesn’t include DVR, and has limited streaming app options.

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When the service launched it included free service for anyone who had an AT&T Unlimited and More or Unlimited and More Premium account. That promotion ran from just June 2019 until October 2019, even though it heavily promoted during the service’s rollout.

 


 

How to sign up for WatchTV

Signing up for WatchTV is a thankfully simple process. Here’s what you do.

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  1. Go to the WatchTV website and select the Free Trial button.
  2. If you have a pre-existing AT&T account, continue to log in with your normal account information. Otherwise, create an account for yourself.
  3. Select any add-on movie channels you want. If you don’t want any just continue.
  4. Enter your billing information. To save time we suggest using the PayPal option.
  5. Confirm your sign up and you’re ready to start watching.

 


 

WatchTV streaming devices

One of the biggest weaknesses of WatchTV is how few options it provides to actually watch WatchTV. There’s a WatchTV app for iOS and Android, which makes sense given the service was originally attached to unlimited mobile plans. However, if you want to watch on a TV without casting, here are your only options.

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  • Apple TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Android TV

That’s it. No Xbox. No PlayStation. And, most infuriatingly, no Roku. How do you not have a streaming app for the number one streaming platform in America?

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What is on WatchTV?

For just $15 per month, how much variety could WatchTV actually provide? The answer, surprisingly, is a lot. Here are all the channels you get with WatchTV.

 


 

WatchTV Originals

WatchTV is a streaming TV service and doesn’t make any original TV content for itself.

 


 

WatchTV Channels

The attractiveness of WatchTV’s channel lineup will largely depend on what you watch on TV. Subscribers don’t get local channels or any sports channels. For many people, that’s fine. Especially when the service includes big names like AMC, Cartoon Network, CNN, Discovery, and Food. There are also a few glaring missing channels, like MSNBC and Fox News. Here at the 41 channels that currently come with WatchTV.

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WatchTV Channels

A&EAMCAnimal Planet
AudienceBBC World NewsBBC America
BETBoomerangCartoon Network
CNNComedy CentralDiscovery Channel
Food NetworkFyiHallmark Channel
Hallmark Movies and MysteriesHGTVHistory
HLNIFCInvestigation Discovery
LifetimeLifetime MoviesMotor Trend
MTVMTV 2Nickoledeon
NicktoonsOwnRevolt
Sundance TVTBSTCM
TeenNickTLCTNT
TruTVTV LandVH1
VicelandWEtv 
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WatchTV Local Channels

WatchTV does not offer any local channels.

 


 

WatchTV add-ons

While WatchTV doesn’t have any local channels, it has plenty of options when it comes to premium movie channels. Each of these premium channel options includes access to their respective streaming apps, like HBO Go and Max Go. Subscribers can also access on-demand movies from WatchTV’s app. Here’s what you can add to your service:

  • HBO for $17.99 per month
  • Cinemax for $13.99 per month
  • Showtime for $13.99 per month
  • Starz for $13.99 per month
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WatchTV DVR and multiple screens

Bonus features like could DVR and extra screens are another area where WatchTV takes a hit over other services. WatchTV doesn’t include cloud DVR or multiple screens for subscribers. In fact, WatchTV can only be used on one device at a time. This makes it great for single people on a budget, but less attractive to families.

WatchTV on-demand and offline content

One place WatchTV feels just like a normal cable package is with its on-demand content. There are over 15,000 titles on-demand taken from across the service’s 40+ channels. You’ll find new episodes of hit TV shows, movies, and more.

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WatchTV vs. The Competition

WatchTV vs. AT&T TV Now

We hate to see siblings fight, but in the battle between AT&T TV Now and WatchTV, WatchTV is strongest. WatchTV is such a dramatically better deal than AT&T TV Now that we can’t believe AT&T has allowed it to keep living. The basic starting package for AT&T TV Now costs $65, has 45+ channels, cloud DVR, local channels, HBO, and ESPN. Meanwhile, WatchTV costs $15 per month for 40+ channels, and even thought it has no local options, ESPN, or cloud DVR, it’s $32 cheaper than AT&T TV Now even if you add HBO for $17.99. Unless you make all of your choices based on cloud DVR, local channels, and ESPN, it makes no sense to buy AT&T TV Now over WatchTV. WatchTV is the clear winner, unless you only have Roku or a gaming device.

WatchTV vs. Sling TV

While WatchTV’s most direct competition is Philo, Sling TV is a close second. Sling offers three packages starting at $30 per month and topping out at $45 per month. The $30 Orange package comes with 30+ channels, including locals, with ESPN and cloud DVR included. Sling Blue is also $30, doesn’t include ESPN, but has locals, cloud DVR, and over 45+ channels. Subscribers can also combine the two packages into the $45 per month Sling Orange + Blue package with 50+ channels.

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At over $30 more than WatchTV, Sling Orange + Blue may be too expensive for what people attracted to WatchTV are looking for. However, the $30 Orange or Blue packages have a reasonable price and great features including cloud DVR and local channels. In this case, we’re narrowly giving WatchTV the edge, simply because in the fight for a budget streaming TV option, cost is often king. Both services are great, but if you just want the most basic of basic cable for the lowest cost, WatchTV wins (again, unless you only have Roku or a gaming device).

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WatchTV vs. FuboTV

It’s hard to imagine a world where someone who is interested in WatchTV would also want FuboTV. Each service represents polar opposite sites of the market. WatchTV is for TV fans on a budget, and FuboTV is a relatively expensive, full-featured streaming TV service that provides world-class access to sports. The standard FuboTV package comes with 110+ channels for $54.99 per month. That’s $39.99 more per month than WatchTV, even if it’s abundantly clear where your extra money is going. FuboTV also includes cloud DVR and is the only streaming TV service to offer 4K sporting events.

And that’s great! But those are also premium features for a premium streaming TV service. FuboTV is incredible for the people who need everything it offers, but for someone who just wants basic cable for $15 per month, WatchTV is a better deal.

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WatchTV vs. YouTube TV

Given how WatchTV has fared against the competition so far, you might be surprised to see YouTube TV offers it some competition. At $49.99 per month for 70+ channels, YouTube TV couldn’t be any more different than WatchTV … unless you’re sharing the account. YouTube TV is the best service on the market for people who are sharing a streaming TV account for a number of reasons. Subscribers can have up to six profiles, there’s no limit on simultaneous recording, and every account has unlimited DVR storage. WatchTV, on the other hand, has no DVR and can’t be watched on multiple devices at once. If you’re sharing a streaming TV service with your roommates, get them all to chip in $10 a month and get YouTube TV. But if money is still the ultimate deciding factor, WatchTV’s $15 per month is hard to beat.

WatchTV vs. Philo

Of all the services on the market that WatchTV needs to worry about as a direct competition, it’s Philo. Philo costs just $20 per month for 59 channels ranging from AMC to VH1. Subscribers also get unlimited cloud DVR with recordings that last up to 30 days. Philo can also be streamed on up to three devices at the same time. So what’s the catch?

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Originally launching as a budget streaming TV service for college campuses, Philo has expanded nationwide. The only major downside? There’s no real news on the channel outside of BBC World News, and there are no sports. This is a purely entertainment-driven package, much like WatchTV. Only WatchTV offers CNN. Ultimately this is a case of news vs features. Philo’s only $5 more per month than WatchTV, has far more channels, multi-screen streaming, and free DVR. WatchTV, on the other hand, is cheaper and has CNN. Ultimately this comes down to personal preference, but in our eyes, Philo squeaks out a victory. You can always get your news online.

Is WatchTV worth it?

Given how badly AT&T TV Now’s transition from DirecTV Now went, it’s truly remarkable to say this about another AT&T service, but WatchTV is great. Obviously this isn’t a package designed for everyone. While you get over 40 channels, the news options are limited, and the sports options are non-existent. But not everyone needs sports and multiple news channels. Some folks just want to be entertained, and for those viewers, WatchTV is a great package.

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Yes, it lacks some serious features that are available on the similarly priced Philo. On the other hand, Philo doesn’t have CNN, which means your access to news is limited. Ultimately, it comes down to preference. Judged purely on its own merits, WatchTV is an incredible streaming TV solution. We just wish it had a few more features to be truly competitive on the market. Come on, AT&T: If Philo can cough up cloud DVR, so can you.

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*First Published: Jun 22, 2018, 9:43 am