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Optimum vs. AT&T TV

Our experts dug into pricing, channels, and more, revealing that Optimum cable TV is superior to AT&T TV.

$500 contract buyout

Price: $55.00–$124.99/mo.*
Channels: 210–340+

Price for Life
No contracts
Limited availability
Free HBO Max

Price: $69.99–$139.99/mo.
Channels: 65–140+

Free HBO Max and NBA League Pass offers for new customers
No contracts
High prices

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes, fees and other charges. Includes Auto Pay and Paperless Billing.

AT&T U-verse is now AT&T TV

AT&T TV is a streaming service that replaces the cable TV service AT&T U-verse, which is no longer available. If you’d prefer a cable or satellite TV service over streaming, check out our guide to the Best TV Providers of 2021.

Bottom line: Is Optimum or AT&T TV better?

Optimum is a traditional cable TV provider with hundreds of channels, no contracts, and a contract buyout—but its DVR service is costly and available in only four states. In our guide to the Best TV Providers for 2021, it has the fourth highest rating (3.71 out of 5).

AT&T TV is a streaming service with fewer channels, no contracts, and unlimited DVR. But it’s expensive, and still clings to old cable-TV complications—like second-year price increases—that real streaming services don’t have. We rated AT&T 3.13 out of 5.

Optimum vs. AT&T TV pros and cons

Optimum

Price for Life
✓ No contracts
✓ Up to $500 contract buyout
✗ Limited DVR storage
✗ High DVR prices
✗ Limited availability

AT&T TV

Free HBO MaxTM and NBA League Pass offers for new customers
No contracts
Easy self-installation
High prices
Low channel count

Compare Optimum and AT&T TV head-to-head

Brand
Optimum
AT&T TV
Price Channels DVR storage Simultaneous recordings
$74.99–$124.99/mo.* 210–340+ 25–150 hrs. 15 View plans
$69.99–$139.99/mo. 65–140+ 20 hrs.–Unlimited 3–20 View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes, fees and other charges. Includes Auto Pay and Paperless Billing.

Optimum has a contract buyout (up to $500), no contracts of its own, affordable plans, Price for Life, high channel counts, and premium channels included in its top-tier plan. But its DVR storage is low and expensive.

AT&T TV has no contracts, but its channel count is far lower than Optimum’s. But you don’t have to rent a TV box if you already have a supported streaming device, and you can add unlimited DVR storage for $10 per month.

Enter your zip code below to see if Optimum and AT&T TV are available in your area.

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Optimum vs. AT&T TV prices and plans

Since we’re comparing two vastly different services in Optimum and AT&T TV, we’ve done a little extra digging to show you the best deals for each. And we even give you an alternative.

Optimum prices and plans

Plan
Core TV
Value TV
Select TV
Best package
Premier TV
Price* Live channels Popular channels
$74.99/mo. 210+ CNN, ESPN, FOX News, and more View plans
$79.99/mo. 225+ HGTV, Nickelodeon, TNT, and more View plans
$89.99/mo. 290+ NFL Network, Hallmark Channel, STARZ ENCORE®, and more View plans
$124.99/mo. 340+ HBO®, SHOWTIME®, STARZ®, and more View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
* Plus taxes, fees and other charges. Includes Auto Pay and Paperless Billing.

Even with the most expensive DVR add-on, Optimum’s four plans cost $0.31–$0.37 per channel. If you want the best value, Select TV has 290+ channels—including NFL Network and STARZENCORE—for $89.99 a month, or $0.31 per channel. With DVR service ($11.00 for the box and $9.99–$21.99 depending on the level of DVR service), you’d pay $110.98–$122.98 monthly .

If you want the most channels, Premier TV has 340+ channels for $124.99 a month ($0.37 per channel) including HBO Max, SHOWTIME, and STARZ. With DVR service, your total monthly payment will be $145.98–$157.98.

View Optimum TV plans

AT&T TV prices and plans

Plan
ENTERTAINMENT
CHOICETM
ULTIMATE
PREMIER
OPTIMO MÁS
Price Live channels Popular channels Details
$69.99/mo. 65+ ESPN, HGTV, Nickelodeon, TNT, and more View plans
$84.99/mo. 90+ Cooking Channel, ESPNU, Game Show Network , and more View plans
$94.99/mo. 130+ LMN, NHL Network, STARZ ENCORE®, and more View plans
$139.99/mo. 140+ CINEMAX®, HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and more View plans
$64.99/mo. 90+ Cine Latino, FOX Deportes, Nickelodeon, Univision, y más View plans

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AT&T TV has attractive new-customer deals with any plan from CHOICETM and higher:

  • A free year of HBO Max (reg. $14.99/mo.)
  • Free NBA League Pass—current season (reg. $40.00/mo.)
  • Three free months of CINEMAX, SHOWTIME, STARZ, and EPIX® (reg. $39.00/mo.)

Just remember that these deals are temporary—the value will begin to vanish when the deals auto-renew in three months, and your payment’s gonna get pretty plump unless you cancel the add-ons.

If you can’t get Optimum where you live, and you really wanna try AT&T TV, go with CHOICETM ($84.99 a month, 90+ channels). You’ll get free HBO Max and NBA League Pass for a year before you, uh, switch providers.

Or maybe just cut out the middleman altogether by trying a different live TV streaming service.

AT&T TV alternatives

There are much better live TV streaming services than AT&T TV. Check out YouTube TV ($64.99 per month, 85+ channels, unlimited DVR) or the Hulu bundle ($71.99 per month, 65+ channels, 50-hour DVR), which combines Hulu + Live TV with Disney+ and ESPN+.

At those prices, you could subscribe to HBO Max ($14.99 a month) on the side and your monthly payment would still be lower than CHOICETM ($84.99 a month.)

DVR

Both Optimum and AT&T TV offer confusing cloud DVR pricing and features. Cue the comparison table.

Optimum Altice One vs. AT&T TV streaming box

Optimum Altice One
AT&T TV streaming box
DVR Price Box rental fee Storage Simultaneous recordings or streams Video quality
$9.99–$21.99/mo. $11.00/mo. per TV 25–150 hrs. 15 recordings Up to 4K UHD
$0.00–$10.00/mo. $5.00/mo. for 24 mos.
or $120.00 upfront
20 hrs.–Unlimited 3–20 streams Up to 4K UHD

Data as of publish date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Optimum has three tiers of DVR service—25 hours ($9.99 a month), 75 hours ($17.99 a month), or 150 hours ($21.99 a month). Between Optimum’s DVR charges and the $11.00 rental fee for the Altice One, your monthly payment will be 17%–43% higher—and that’s for a one-TV home.

AT&T TV includes 20 hours of cloud DVR, and you can upgrade to unlimited DVR for an additional $10 per month. And unlike Optimum, you don’t need to rent a TV box—you can use your own streaming device if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can buy or lease AT&T’s streaming TV device.

Optimum Altice One

Optimum Altice One

Image courtesy of Optimum

Optimum’s Altice One combines a TV receiver, streaming apps, modem, router in one 4K-compatible, Bluetooth-enabled box with a voice-activated remote. That’s especially cool if you’re bundling with Optimum cable internet service. And it’s only gonna set you back $11 per month.

AT&T TV streaming box

DISH Hopper 3 DVR

The best thing about AT&T TV’s streaming box is that you don’t need it. The AT&T TV app supports plenty of other devices* that match or beat the AT&T TV box’s biggest brags (up to 4K resolution, voice remote). And you’ll save $5 a month in lease fees using something you probably already own.

* Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple/iOS, Google Chromecast, Roku, and select Samsung smart TVs.

All three tiers of Optimum DVR service include up to 15 simultaneous recordings and you can keep them for as long as you have your account.

With AT&T TV, all plans give you up to 3 out-of-home streams plus a whopping 20 in-home streams (that you might never need), and recordings expire after 90 days.

Simultaneous recordings vs. simultaneous streams

This is an apples-to-oranges comparison. Here’s why.

Simultaneous recordings: This tells you how many tuners are in your cable or satellite TV provider’s TV box, which correlates directly with the number of movies or shows you can record at the same time. This never comes up with streaming TV.

Simultaneous streams: This is how many people can watch your streaming TV package at once. It’s mainly a streaming TV feature, but you’ll encounter it in cable/satellite TV land when you use your provider’s mobile app.

Installation

Since Optimum is a cable TV provider, you’ll have to set up an installation appointment where a technician will come over and hook everything up for you. At this writing, installation is free for Select TV and Premier TV plans. All other plans have a $59 installation fee.

Streaming TV installation

One of the main benefits of live TV streaming services is that it’s always free and super easy to install by yourself as long as you have a compatible streaming device. We’re partial to the Roku Ultra, a stick that has up to 4K UHD resolution with HDR, voice control, a headphone jack, and compatibility with a slew of streaming services

Installation is much easier with AT&T TV—you can do it yourself. If you already have a supported device, you just download the app, sign in, and start channel surfing. If you decided to go with the AT&T TV box, it’s as easy as connecting it to your TV with an HDMI cable and following the onscreen prompts.

Streaming apps

If you’re always on the move, both Optimum and AT&T TV have mobile apps that allow you the freedom to watch movies and binge shows on the go.

With the Altice One app, you can watch your Optimum live TV channels and on-demand content; watch, manage, and schedule DVR recordings; and use it as your remote control. It’s compatible with the Amazon Kindle Fire, and Android and iOS devices. But user ratings are poor-to-mixed on Google Play (3.3 out of 5) and the Apple Store (2.2 out of 5), citing issues with connectivity and speed.

AT&T TV home page

AT&T TV app home page

The AT&T TV app lets you do all of the above, but the remote function requires a Roku streaming device and the Roku mobile app. The AT&T TV app works with Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple/iOS, Google Chromecast, Roku, and select Samsung smart TVs, and has much better ratings on Google Play (3.9 out of 5) and the Apple Store (4.4 out of 5).

Internet bundles

Optimum and AT&T both offer bundles. Optimum internet-and-TV bundles ($55.00–$105.00 a month) include cable broadband speeds up to 1,000 Mbps. Internet-phone-TV bundles ($65.00–$115.00 a month) add unlimited calling to the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.

AT&T TV internet-and-TV bundles include speeds from up to 100 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps for $104.99–$199.99 per month. If you want to add home phone service with unlimited nationwide calling, the prices are $139.98–$234.98 a month.

Winner: Optimum wins this bundle battle on channel counts, price, speed, and wider calling area.

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Final take

Cable apples and streaming oranges aside, Optimum is better than AT&T TV. It has the best channel counts, bundles, and value—especially when you consider its no-contract plans and $500 contract buyout.

AT&T TV has easier installation, great perks, better DVR options, and a superior mobile app, but you can find better deals with actual streaming services like Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV.

Methodology

Our expert staff spent dozens of hours doing hands-on testing and number crunching to evaluate Optimum and AT&T TV’s features, reliability, and value. We then compared the two providers head-to-head to determine which one offers the best product and service. For more information on our methodology, see our How We Rank page.

Related articles

If you’d like more information on Optimum, AT&T TV, or other providers in your area, try our other coverage:

Optimum vs. AT&T TV FAQ

Is Optimum cable or satellite?

Optimum is a cable provider. DIRECTV and DISH are satellite providers.

Is AT&T TV cable or satellite?

AT&T TV is neither cable nor satellite—it’s a live TV streaming service, which delivers your channels over the internet.

Is Optimum owned by AT&T?

No, Optimum is not owned by AT&T.

How good is AT&T Internet?

In our guide to the Best Internet Providers of 2021, we designated AT&T Internet as the best internet provider for gigabit speeds, while also touting the provider’s value and lack of annual contracts. So, yeah—AT&T Internet is good.

To see if you can get AT&T Internet in your area, enter your zip code below.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Is there an AT&T TV app?

The main way to watch AT&T TV, a live TV streaming service, is through its app, which works with these devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV devices
  • Android phones and tablets
  • Apple/iOS phones and tablets
  • Google Chromecast
  • Roku devices
  • Samsung smart TVs

AT&T TV has its own streaming device, but since you likely already own one of the above devices, we recommend using one of those because it’ll save you 24 months of a $5 per month lease fee.

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