What is AT&T Watch TV?

The media telecom giant's approach to cable alternatives

att watch tv on a phone
ATT Watch TV is an affordable, no-frills streaming service that's free if you have a qualifying AT&T mobile plan.

 Karl Tapales / Moment

AT&T Watch TV is a television streaming service that allows you to watch live TV without a cable or satellite subscription. AT&T owns satellite television provider DirecTV, which has its own streaming service. That was originally launched as DirecTV Now, and later renamed AT&T TV Now, but it has absolutely nothing to do with AT&T Watch TV. These are completely separate services with different subscription plans, pricing structures, and channel availability.

AT&T Watch TV is a low cost live television option with relatively few channels, while AT&T TV Now is a higher cost option that offers several plans and lots of channels, including local channels.

In order to stream live television on AT&T Watch TV, you need to have a high-speed internet connection and at least one compatible device. The service works with both Apple and Android phones and tablets, and television streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV. If you don't have any mobile devices, you can also use it to stream live television in a web browser on your computer.

The biggest differences between AT&T Watch TV and cable television are price and channel availability. AT&T Watch TV is the most affordable live television streaming option available, which means that it's also significantly less expensive than cable. It also features fewer channels than most competing services.

In addition to offering an alternative to cable and satellite television services, AT&T Watch TV has a number of direct competitors that also provide live streaming television online. Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV Now, and Hulu all have subscription services that allow you to watch live television on your computer, phone, and other devices.

How to Sign Up For AT&T Watch TV

If you're getting ready to cut the cord, and you're looking for an affordable cable alternative, AT&T makes it extremely easy to sign up for a free trial. You do have to provide billing details, but you won't be charged if you change your mind and cancel during the trial period.

If you have an AT&T Unlimited &More Premium or AT&T Unlimited &More plan, make sure to link your accounts. You may qualify for free service through AT&T Watch TV.

Here's how you can sign up for AT&T Watch TV:

  1. Navigate to attwatchtv.com, and click START FREE TRIAL.

    A screenshot of AT&T Watch TV.
  2. Choose a User ID, enter your info, complete the captcha, and click Continue.

    A screenshot of the ST&T Watch TV sign up process.
  3. Choose your desired ad-ons, or click I only want WatchTV.

    A screenshot of the AT&T Watch TV add-ons.
  4. Enter your billing information, agree to the terms and conditions, and click Submit.

    A screenshot of the AT&T Watch TV billing page.
  5. You're ready to start watching.

Choosing an AT&T Watch TV Plan

Unlike most other television streaming services, AT&T Watch TV doesn't have multiple plans or subscription options. The service includes 30+ channels, and there is no option to get more. If you don't see a channel you want, then you'll need to look at another streaming service.

AT&T Watch TV does have decent coverage of a lot of popular cable channels, like AMC, HGTV, and BBC America. It also has some kids channels, like Boomerang and Cartoon Network, and news from CNN and BBC World News.

There are no sports-focused channels like ESPN or Fox Sports, and it doesn't have any of the networks like ABC, NBC, or Fox.

How Many Shows Can You Watch at Once on Watch TV?

When you watch a live or on-demand video on a service like Watch TV, it's referred to as a stream. All television streaming services limit the number of streams that you can watch at once, and the number varies from one service to the next. In the case of Watch TV, you can only watch one stream at a time.

If you attempt to watch a show on your tablet while someone else is watching on the computer, you'll receive an error message. The same thing will happen if you accidentally forget to close a stream on one device and start watching on a different device.

There is no option to increase the number of streams.

AT&T Watch TV Add-Ons and Special Features

AT&T Watch TV is a pretty basic television streaming service, with a very affordable price tag, and not a whole lot of bells and whistles. Like Philo, which is the only streaming service that comes close to Watch TV in terms of price, there are no add-ons, and you can't pay for special features like additional screens or to remove ads from on-demand content.

att watch tv add ons

The one special feature that AT&T Watch TV has that no competitors have is that you may actually be able to get it for free. If you have a qualifying AT&T Wireless subscription, or you're willing to sign up for one, they may throw Watch TV in to sweeten the deal.

Here are the AT&T Wireless plans that include Watch TV:

  • Unlimited & More - Includes unlimited data with no data caps or overage charges, but high-speed data isn't guaranteed when the network is busy. AT&T Watch TV is included for free, but you can only watch standard definition video when you're connected to the cellular data network. You're also blocked from using your phone as a hotspot, so you can't use your cellular data connection to watch on your television or computer.
  • Unlimited & More Premium - Includes unlimited data with no data caps or overage charges, and high-speed data is prioritized until you hit 22GB of data during any given billing period. AT&T Watch TV is included for free, and you can watch high definition video over the cellular network. You also get to choose one free premium channel like HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime. This plan also allows you to use your phone as a hotspot, but only for 15GB of data per billing period.

Watching Live Television on AT&T Watch TV

Watching live television on AT&T Watch TV is really easy. The interface is clean and simple to navigate, and it includes a familiar grid-based TV guide to help you find what you want to watch.

When you first load the AT&T Watch TV home page, it puts you on the Watch Now tab. This is where you can see an overview of some of the most popular shows that are currently on the air, including how much time is left on each program.

If you want to watch any of these shows, all you need to do is click on the one you want. If you aren't sure what you want to watch, or you aren't sure what's on, then the guide is the best place to look.

Here's how to use the guide to watch live television on AT&T Watch TV:

  1. Navigate to attwatchtv.com/watchnow.

  2. Click Guide.

    A screenshot of AT&T Watch TV.
  3. Scroll through the guide, and locate a program you want to watch.

    A screenshot of the AT&T Watch TV Guide.
  4. Click on the channel you want to watch.

    Live television on AT&T Watch TV.

You can also watch your favorites directly from the My Library tab, and find new favorites with the Discover tab.

Does AT&T Watch TV Offer a DVR?

AT&T Watch TV does not include a DVR function. You can bookmark shows, channels, and on-demand content, and access it via the My Library tab. However, there is no way to save live television to watch it later.

A screenshot of the AT&T Watch TV Library.

Watching On-Demand Content on AT&T Watch TV

In addition, to live television, AT&T Watch TV also includes on-demand content from most of its channels. If you want to watch something, and there isn't anything good on the air at the moment, then it's time to dive into the on-demand library.

Here's how to watch on-demand shows on AT&T Watch TV:

  1. Navigate to attwatchtv.com.

  2. Click Discover.

  3. Look for a show that interests you, and click on it.

    You can browse shows, movies, and networks, or you can type a show name into the search field.

  4. If you don't see any episodes listed, click on a different season.

  5. Locate an episode you want to watch, and click on it.

Can You Rent Movies From AT&T Watch TV?

movies on att watch tv

AT&T Watch TV does not offer movie rentals, but it does have a selection of on-demand movies that you can watch for free.

To watch movies on Watch TV:

  1. Navigate to attwatchtv.com.

  2. Click Discover.

  3. Click Movies.

  4. Click on a movie you want to watch.

If you're satisfied with the channel selection that AT&T Watch TV offers, but you'd like to watch a new release that isn't available to watch for free yet, then you may want to check out a standalone rental service like Vudu.