At a Glance

Optimum LogoATT-logo

Type of Service

Cable

Type of Service

Fiber

Channel Count

445+

Channelkb Count

550+

Price

$64.95–$104.95 per month

Price

$35.00–$110.00 per month

Equipment Fees

$10.00 per month (does not include DVR service fees)

Equipment Fees

Included in monthly bill

Installation Fee

$79.00

Installation Fee

None ($35.00 activation fee)

Contract

None

Contract

1 year

Customer Satisfaction

3.12/5

Customer Satisfaction

3.34/5

Optimum Logo

Type of Service

Cable

Channel Count

445+

Price

$64.95–$104.95 per month

Equipment Fees

$10.00 per month (does not include DVR service fees)

Installation Fee

$79.00

Contract

None

Customer Satisfaction

3.12/5

ATT-logo

Type of Service

Fiber

Channelkb Count

550+

Price

$35.00–$110.00 per month

Equipment Fees

Included in monthly bill

Installation Fee

None ($35.00 activation fee)

Contract

1 year

Customer Satisfaction

3.34/5

Data effective 12/7/2017. Pricing subject to change. Not all offers available in all areas.

Are you better off with Optimum or AT&T U-verse as your TV provider?

 

The Verdict

Choose Optimum for international programming and a contract-free experience.

Optimum’s biggest advantage in this matchup is the lack of a contract. That’s huge—it means if you don’t like the service for whatever reason, you’re free to drop it whenever you like, no strings attached. The other big advantage is the available international programming—you won’t find a better selection anywhere else. Unfortunately, the limited availability of Optimum means that unless you live in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, it’s not an option for you.

Choose AT&T U-verse for reliability and customer service you can count on.

AT&T sits in the top five providers in our customer satisfaction survey and enjoys a good reputation for customer service overall. AT&T also brings the reliability and speed of fiber to the table, and the DVR is powerful (if a little light on features). The trade-off is you’ll have to come to terms with the one-year contract and the comparatively high package prices and installation fees.

 

Find and compare Optimum and AT&T U-verse plans and pricing in your area:

A Note on AT&T and DIRECTV

AT&T acquired DIRECTV in 2015, which is why you’ll now see DIRECTV advertised on AT&T sites. DIRECTV is an outstanding TV service and consistently ranks at or near the top in our customer satisfaction surveys.

Although it isn’t advertised as heavily these days, AT&T does still offer the U-verse fiber TV service in select markets, and it’s a great TV service. DIRECTV may be the more popular television option available from AT&T, but in this post, we’ll focus primarily on reviewing TV from AT&T U-verse.

For more info on DIRECTV, check out our DIRECTV vs. Optimum showdown.

Customer Satisfaction Ratings

To see customer satisfaction scores for the major TV providers, check out our 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey.

Optimum Logo

Overall Customer Rating

3.12 Stars (3.12 / 5)

Advantages

  • No contract
  • Good internet speed
  • Great international programming

Disadvantages

  • Limited availability
  • Lots of hidden fees
ATT-logo

Overall Customer Rating

3.34 Stars (3.34 / 5)

Advantages

  • A huge channel selection
  • Blazing internet speeds
  • A reliable fiber network

Disadvantages

  • Required contracts
  • A mediocre DVR

Installation & Setup

Optimum

3.28 Stars (3.28 / 5)

Optimum installation is pretty standard, with a modest installation fee. You’ll need a cable box for each TV in your home, which does tack on an extra monthly charge of around $8.00 per box. While that’s not necessarily out of the ordinary, it is something to be aware of—especially if you have a lot of TVs in your home.

Optimum Installation Fee: $79.00

AT&T U-verse

3.43 Stars (3.43 / 5)

There are no installation fees for U-verse TV, although there may be some for internet packages or bundles. However, the company will attempt to charge you a $35.00 activation fee for the service. You might be able to have this fee waived, though, if you ask.  In fact, it’s probably worth asking them to waive any fee you’re uncomfortable with. You never know when you’ll get lucky and catch the rep in a generous mood.

AT&T U-verse Installation Fee: None ($35.00 activation fee)

Channels

Optimum

3.17 Stars (3.17 / 5)

Optimum has a great channel selection, bundled in a solid assortment of packages. From the budget-minded Optimum Value package to the top-tier Optimum Premier, everything is laid out in an easy-to-understand format: pay more money, get more channels. The Optimum Select package is probably the best deal of the bunch, with 340+ channels for $74.95 per month.

Optimum also offers a ton of international channels, so if you like to watch TV in other languages or just want to catch some overseas programming, Optimum is a great pick.

Optimum Channels: 445+

AT&T U-verse

3.53 Stars (3.53 / 5)

U-verse also offers a big channel selection, coming in at a number that’s a good chunk above Optimum’s. The package choices are straightforward, but the naming is a little odd—each package has a number in the name, and the numbers don’t correspond at all to the actual number of channels in the package. The U200 package, for example, has over 360 channels, while our favorite, U300, offers over 470 for just $60.00 per month.

AT&T U-verse Channels: 550+

Reliability

Optimum

3.57 Stars (3.57 / 5)

Compared to other providers, Optimum’s overall ranking in this category has improved a good bit since last year’s satisfaction survey, where it came in second to last. The company now sits right around the middle in its ranking. That said, Optimum’s actual rating for reliability has dropped—this probably reflects more on the industry as a whole rather than Optimum specifically, though.

Optimum Type of Service: Cable

AT&T U-verse

3.71 Stars (3.71 / 5)

AT&T is as middle-of-the-road as it gets when it comes to reliability—the company literally scored dead center in the rankings in our latest satisfaction survey. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, U-verse is a fiber service, and fiber is meant to be more reliable than cable and satellite. Seeing it score so much lower than several cable and satellite providers is a bit disheartening.

AT&T U-verse Type of Service: Fiber

Monthly Bill

Optimum

2.40 Stars (2.40 / 5)

Optimum landed in the bottom three for billing satisfaction in our survey, with a score of just 2.40. Part of the dissatisfaction here probably comes from the numerous small fees that get tacked on to your bill. There are sports surcharges, cable box receiver fees, equipment lease fees, DVR service fees—you get the picture. It’s not hard to rack up $40 per month in additional fees, which suddenly makes the low package prices a little less appealing.

Optimum Price: $64.95–$104.95 per month

AT&T U-verse

2.69 Stars (2.69 / 5)

U-verse packages cover a wide range of prices, from a low of just $35.00 per month for the U-family plan to a high of $110.00 per month for the top-tier U450 package. Unlike Optimum, these prices are close to what you’ll actually pay. There are still some additional fees but not nearly as many. In fact, there’s no DVR fee at all, which is nice to see considering how fundamental a DVR is to enjoying TV service these days.

AT&T U-verse Price: $35.00–$110.00 per month

Tech Support & Customer Service

Optimum

3.18 Stars (3.18 / 5)

Optimum scores lower than AT&T in this category, but as always, we remind readers that every television provider surveyed comes in with mediocre scores on customer service. Although its score isn’t exceptional, Optimum’s customer service is reasonable, with quick response times and real live human beings manning the chat support. The support site is also solid, with easy navigation and plenty of information available.

AT&T U-verse

3.33 Stars (3.33 / 5)

AT&T offers the standard tech support options—you can call, chat, or visit the customer support site to handle any issues you have yourself. In general, we recommend you try these options in the reverse order. First, check the support site for solutions, then go for the chat option if you can’t find what you need online. Phone calls to cable companies will likely take longer, so use this option as your last resort.

Equipment

Optimum LogoAT&T Logo

Optimum Multi-Room DVR

AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR

Simultaneous Recordings

15

Simultaneous Recordings

4

Storage

75 hours of HD

Storage

165 hours of HD

Price

$12.95–$17.99 per month

Price

Included with monthly bill

# of TVs per DVR

Unlimited

# of TVs per DVR

8

Approximate Dimensions

13" x 10" x 2"

Approximate Dimensions

8" x 6.1" x 1.6"

Additional Features

Pause and rewind live TV, cloud storage for playback in any room

Additional Features

Prioritize recordings, watch up to four different shows on one TV

Read our roundup of the best DVRs of 2017.

Check out our complete review of the AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR.

Optimum Logo

Optimum Multi-Room DVR

Simultaneous Recordings

15

Storage

75 hours of HD

Price

$12.95–$17.99 per month

# of TVs per DVR

Unlimited

Approximate Dimensions

13" x 10" x 2"

Additional Features

Pause and rewind live TV, cloud storage for playback in any room

AT&T Logo

AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR

Simultaneous Recordings

4

Storage

165 hours of HD

Price

Included with monthly bill

# of TVs per DVR

8

Approximate Dimensions

8" x 6.1" x 1.6"

Additional Features

Prioritize recordings, watch up to four different shows on one TV

Mobile Viewing Apps

Optimum

Optimum TV App

AT&T U-verse

AT&T U-verse Viewing App

Google Play Rating: 3.6 Stars (3.6 / 5)

Apple Store Rating1.6 Stars (1.6 / 5)

Manage DVR: Yes
Remote Control Function: Yes
Additional Features: Smart suggestions; ability to rate programs; full parental controls
Compatible Devices: iOS, Android, Kindle

Google Play Rating: 3.6 Stars (3.6 / 5)

Apple Store Rating4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)

Manage DVR: Yes
Remote Control Function: Yes
Additional Features: Recommended content; set favorite channels for remote control; Apple Watch and Android Wear apps
Compatible Devices: iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV

Internet Service

Optimum Internet

Optimum’s internet service is available both individually and bundled with TV and phone. There are several speed tiers available, from 20 Mbps up to 400 Mbps. A speed of 20 Mbps is a reasonable low-end that should be more than enough for single folks or even families that don’t do much streaming, whereas 400 Mbps should be enough for even the most dedicated downloaders. Internet-only plans start at $24.99 per month with Optimum. Our favorite plan is Optimum Internet 200, which offers 200 Mbps for $49.99 per month.

AT&T Internet

AT&T’s internet is actually one of its stronger points. Being fiber, it is fast and benefits from fiber’s equal upload and download speeds (cable internet typically has much slower uploads). This makes it perfect for content creators like YouTubers. Speeds range from 5 Mbps up to 1 Gbps. Available speeds can vary widely depending on where you live, so make sure to check your available plans by entering your zip code below. Internet-only plans from AT&T start at $40.00 per month, and bundles are available with phone and TV service. We like the AT&T Internet 1000 plan, with 1 Gbps speeds for $80.00 per month.

More About the Providers

Optimum Logo

Optimum is a relatively small cable television provider that primarily serves New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Optimum is actually the operating name of Altice USA, a subsidiary of Altice NV and a multinational telecommunications company. Optimum will eventually be rebranded as Altice, possibly as soon as next year.

ATT-logo

AT&T is the largest pay-television provider in the United States and one of the largest companies in the world. AT&T is available in twenty-one states across the country and services over 46.6 million video connections through DIRECTV, DIRECTV NOW, and U-verse. In addition to TV services, AT&T also provides internet, phone, and cellular services across the United States.

Find and compare cable and internet providers in your area: