AT&T TV

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by hahathatsfunny, May 28, 2020.

  1. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    Out of curiousity, I called AT&T to inquire about being a new customer for AT&T TV.

    Here is their website:
    AT&T TV - Live Streaming TV + Apps, Voice Controlled

    It's apparently available throughout the country, and it's IPTV, so one could say it competes against YouTube TV, and Hulu Live TV as a cable replacement.

    However, a big difference is they can provide their own equipment but a user can use their own like a Roku device, and there is a 2 year agreement, and $15/mo penalty for every month counted when one terminates before the end of the agreement. One could be charged about $345-360 in a termination fee if cancelled within or just after the first month.

    When I spoke with the customer agent, he mentioned that AT&T Now is being phased out. For the AT&T TV pricing, in year two, a customer could call in and ask for a lower price than the expected year 2 or normal rate. I assume there could be a pressure for the customer to renew the contract another year. The agent seemed hopeful to make a sale, but I diverted the conversation and asked about AT&T Watch TV and started asking about DirecTV as well, and later said I have to think about it. He mentioned he wasn't too familiar with AT&T Watch TV, and mentioned DirecTV is more expensive but has more channels.

    I suppose what piqued my interest is viewing the channel listing. Not that I would need these channels but it's nice to have extra and it does carry WGN America, MGM HD Movies and a few other channels not carried by the other streaming carriers. However, some channels like SONY Movie Channel are on DirecTV but not on AT&T TV, but are on Fubo.

    It seems odd in a way that AT&T is maintaining three different IPTV platforms with different billing systems, and the contract agreement even if a customer uses their own devices.

    Anyone have AT&T TV? Any positives with the service?
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  2. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Active Member

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    I’ve got it. The service is good, HDPQ is very good and some have said it is as good as DirecTV’s. The little box that comes with the service is good for using their service but not so good with apps. But it is a bit sluggish.

    The UI for the service is probably the best I’ve seen from and IPTV provider. It is easy to navigate, is well presented and pretty responsive. One thing I found out is that their box is more responsive if I use my Harmony Remote instead of theirs. No clue why, and I don’t actually care, but it makes it more enjoyable.

    I signed up for the Entertainment level as national sports channels and locals will cover all of the sports viewing I might want to do. Included with the offer was one year of HBO/HBO Max, 3 months of the other Premium movie channels and a $100 rebate.

    My plan is that if I can’t negotiate what I consider a fair price at the end of the promo year, I will cancel and pay the ETF. Math tells me that if I keep it for a year and cancel then the true cost for the year I have it is $57/month which is actually a bargain IMO.
     
  3. trip1eX

    trip1eX imo, afaik, feels like to me, *exceptions, ~aprox

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    it's been talked about before on here. I don't have it.

    The pricing made it DOA to me. It had kind of an "everything you hate about cable" vibe to it.

    YTTV is the service to get if the channel lineup suits you. Of course test all the services for yourself for free.
     
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  4. DouglasPHill

    DouglasPHill Well-Known Member

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    I checked out AT&T TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live, and Sling TV. For now, I went with Sling Blue + Orange + DVR.
    2nd choice was YouTube TV. AT&T was just too expensive. Even though I went with Sling Blue + Orange, it still had way
    too many channels I'll never watch. I would prefer a lower a la carte price, but we all know the providers are fighting that
    to the grave.
     
  5. hahathatsfunny

    hahathatsfunny Member

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    I've tried out Sling, Philo and You Tube TV. With Sling, I think the main drawback is the limited 50 hour cloud DVR. If I set up a repeat recording of 'King of Queens', because of the marathon scheduling on Lifetime/TV Land/CMT, it will completely fill up the 50 hour alloted DVR in two days. It also will record from all channels that air a given show, which is good or bad, but should give the user the choice to record only from the selected channel.

    I think AT&T Now, Fubo, YouTube and Hulu Live cover the sports and news viewer well.

    As far as a lower price, Philo is decent at $20, but I actually wish it'd offer a second tier like an Extra pack, and include MGM HD, SONY Movie Channel, HD Net Movies, INSP, getTV, LightTV, WGN America, TV One and a number of smaller channels found on cable but likely not strung to expensive agreements. Maybe it will add CBS as it carries Viacom and re-organize their packs slightly, while still avoiding Disney, NBC, Fox and Warner to keep costs lower.

    Vidgo looks price competitive. I was hoping Vidgo would offer a cloud DVR this year, and maybe it'd be competitive, but Vidgo didn't get a positive recommendation even just as a non DVR channel provider:
     
  6. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I had AT&T TV NOW since the beginning, 3-4 years ago, then beta tested two hardware versions of the AT&T TV box for a year. It was a great deal in years one and two. I finally dropped them when my bill doubled. If I had switch to something like AT&T TV Choice, my bill would have doubled again.

    So the cable TV level price is a total deal breaker for me. If you can stomach that, then yes, there are a few positives:
    - Box gives a user experience identical to a cable box: channel numbers, channel up/down/last, one touch record, instant on, voice control, etc.
    - Good channel lineup
    - 5.1 sound (YTTV, for example, has only stereo)
    - HBO is included in some plans

    Negatives:
    - Price
    - Price
    - Price
    - 2nd and 3rd boxes are $10/month each (of course you can use any other streaming device if you prefer)
    - Contract
    - ETF
    - No PBS (YTTV is the only streaming provider with PBS)
    - Recording system is extremely unreliable and buggy (many missed/wrong recording). You need a Phd in computer science to figure out how to cancel a series recording
    - Service and hardware is unreliable and buggy. It's filled with bugs that have been there 4 years now, everything from forced HDR to the terrible recording system, to constant buffering and drop-outs.

    The thing that strikes me as odd is that even though the deployment and equipment costs for AT&T TV are far lower than U-Verse or DirecTV, they're charging the exact same price. So rather than pass a penny of those savings on to the customer, they're simply gouging. And they're transitioning many customers in a very dishonest way, telling them U-Verse is shutting down. We'll it's not shut down yet, and people are switching to an inferior service that costs just as much a U-Verse and DirecTV mainly because they're being misled. I see tons of post in the AT&T forums from unsuspecting customers who immediately regret switching (they lose PBS and religious channels, get limited to 3 screens, recordings expire in 90 days, etc.).

    And it's also very dishonest for them to tell you not to worry about the 100% price increase in year two because you MIGHT be able to beg them for a lower rate. If they're not willing to put that in writing, it's just a worthless lie. Same old misleading, bait-and-switch tactics cable TV has used since the beginning. Oh, and did they mention the regional sports fee? I didn't think so.

    The 3 different IPTV systems are all transitional. "AT&T TV" will ultimately be the only one remaining in the end. Maybe they'll keep Watch as a perk for their phone customers. But NOW and U-verse will definitely go away, and DirecTV will likely be sold.

    In the mean time, when they lose a million customers quarter after quarter, it brings a smile to my face. They earned every single loss due to their greed and ineptitude. They could own the OTT streaming market if they would simply produce a functional app and offer reasonable prices. But they are too shortsighted for that to ever happen.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
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  7. Andyroo

    Andyroo New Member

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    Is AT&T TV compatible with Tivo? Like can I continue to use my Bolt if I switch my cable provider to AT&T TV? The sales rep said yes, but I can’t find definitive confirmation online.
     
  8. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you definitively with 100% certainty that Tivo Bolt is not compatible with AT&T TV at all. AT&T TV is streamed via an app similar to how Netflix and Prime video work. You can't load this app onto a Bolt. Even if you could, the Bolt couldn't record from it. AT&T will give you free Android TV box to run the app, or you can run it on a Roku, Fire stick or Apple TV. All your recordings are stored in the cloud. You can't record or watch anything from AT&T on your Tivo. Since AT&T TV comes with its own hardware and cloud DVR, your Bolt would be superfluous.

    You do realize that AT&T TV is just as expensive as traditional cable, has a 2 year contract with a $360 early termination fee, most plans add an $8.50 regional sports fee, and your price doubles in the second year. All recordings get deleted after 90 days. The DVR is very bare bones and buggy. The AT&T box has the dreaded forced HDR bug, so the colors might look terrible on your 4k TV. As a former subscriber to AT&T TV, I'd be very wary.

    Competing services like Youtube TV are far better and cheaper, assuming they have the channel lineup you need. Also consider that when AT&T TV says they have all your locals, they really don't. The don't carry PBS at all (YTTV is the only streaming service that does). And unlike the DirecTV service it's supposed to replace, you can't get Sunday Ticket or any pay-per-view at all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2020
  9. Andyroo

    Andyroo New Member

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    That’s what I figured, thanks for confirming! My partner spoke to the sales guy offering a “special deal” door to door. It would have saved us money over Spectrum cable/internet even with the two year commitment and potential rate increase in year 2. But for me it’s not really worth it if it negates having my Bolt and Minis.
     
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Here's a tip I saw on another forum (DSL Reports, posted by user jennings2510) to make the AT&T TV box run a bit faster, particularly when it comes to launching and using apps:

    Go to Settings, then System, then General.
    Make sure System Summary is highlighted.
    Keep pressing OK on the remote until you get a message on the screen saying you’re in Developer Mode.
    Scroll down and you should see the developer options.

    There are a few things you should change here:
    Set the limit on number of Background Processes to 1. (Note, however, that if the box reboots, this setting may change back to the default.)
    You should also see three different Animation options. Leave the one called Animator Duration Scale enabled but turn the other two off. (Animator Duration Scale allows the program guide to display thumbnails and short descriptions for shows. If you don't care about that, you can turn it off too.) The default setting for Animator Duration Scale is 1x but turning it down to 0.5x should additionally boost performance.
     
  11. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Active Member

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    Thanks.

    Tried that and it seems a smidgen quicker.
     
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  12. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    NashGuy, does this developer mode have an option to allow apps from unknown sources?
     
  13. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Active Member

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    I looked it over while making the changes and unfortunately didn’t see a way to do that.
     
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  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, AT&T has unfortunately removed that capability from the box. (I guess Google allows that when an MVPD licenses Android TV Operator Tier.) So no sideloading apps they don't want you to have! Which is too bad. Hopefully they land apps for Prime Video and Hulu soon, as those are major omissions. Prime Video has never been available on every Android TV device; I think each device provider must make ask for it from Amazon (and perhaps agree to certain terms).

    As for Hulu, I can see that being a matter of AT&T TV not wanting an app with a competing live cable TV service to be on their box. Maybe Hulu will create an Android TV version of the app that only has the core service without add-ons for live TV and premiums. (It appears that's what they've done with the new Hulu app for X1.)
     
  15. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Have you tried using Netflix or other apps now? How about Google Assistant? I've read those are the areas where the box had the most lag (and that using the core AT&T TV service felt pretty quick), and those are the areas that got the biggest boost after making the tweaks I listed.
     
  16. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    It requires some Amazon store infrastructure to work on some Android TVs. So not only do you have to sideload the Prime app itself but also the Amazon store, which is a major PITA. The only Amazon store apks I could ever find were for phones. So when the app runs on an Android TV, the screen is sideways, stretched and cropped and only works with a BT keyboard and mouse. However there were modified versions of the Prime apk that bypassed the store requirement. Problem was they were hard to find and out of date.

    Good to know this tweak speeds up Google Assistant. That was always painfully slow for me, to the point of being unusable.
     
  17. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Active Member

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    I just did. No real improvement, especially with Google Assistant, which got worse. Killed off the changes. Worth trying, but not good as far as I can see.
     
  18. lparsons21

    lparsons21 Active Member

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    Well further testing shows some things do better, but Google Assistant isn’t one of them for me.

    But it really is no big deal as I don’t use the ATT box for apps anyway, outside of HBO Max on occasion. Instead I use one of my other better boxes. Usually the FireTV Cube 2nd gen.
     
  19. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. Multiple others around the web have reported the opposite. Perhaps they were running a different build of the AT&T software? Oh well.
     
  20. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Amazon has had a Prime Video app specifically for Android TV for a few years now. Sony smart TVs, and then the Nvidia Shield TV, got the app a long while ago, but it was pre-loaded and then updated by the OEM, bypassing Google Play.

    And then Google and Amazon declared a truce of sorts last summer and the Prime Video app for Android TV became more broadly available.

    Prime Video for Android TV won't be available for all devices - 9to5Google

    It showed up on the AirTV Mini dongle last Dec. It finally arrived on the Mi Box S a couple months ago. And of course it was on the TiVo Stream 4K when it debuted recently. I definitely expect it to be on Google's forthcoming Android TV device too.
     

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