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View Full Version : AT&T U-Verse - Opinions Please



Andy Haney
05-23-2012, 8:44 AM
AT&T U-verse has become available in my neighborhood. All I can find indicates a significant improvement over the local CATV system and DSL I'net, and at significantly less cost. I've found no reason not to pull the trigger. In your experience, are there any red flags I may be missing?

Thanks,
Andy

Mike Circo
05-23-2012, 10:07 AM
I've had it for about a year with zero issues. 12mb internet consistantly delivers full speed, no lags or slow times I can detect.
TV works as advertised. Comcast's "on demand" selection was a bit larger, but Uverse gave me more movie channels for less money so I just go there instead.

They supplied a wireless modem/router that works just fine. It came with a UPS system to keep it up for a while so you can use the phone during a power outage. Never had to test that!

DVR is great. Playback in any room in the house is nice.

Overall, I'm very happy.

Phil Thien
05-23-2012, 10:13 AM
The picture quality on my BIL's TV with his AT&T U-Verse doesn't seem that good to me. At first I thought he had a crappy TV, but I did some research and it appears that poor picture quality is a common complaint. They (AT&T) apparently compress the carp out of the signal, and the result is especially recognizable when watching anything with lots of movement (sports, or action movies).

I will also note that service/support may be handled differently. If you have a problem, I think you might actually have to pay to have someone from AT&T come out and perform any work inside your house. But I'm not sure on that, though. I do know Time Warner will send someone out to repair their lines, or fix their own gear.

Mike Henderson
05-23-2012, 10:15 AM
I've had it for a bit over a year. One thing to consider, which I like, is that they have a wireless set top box. Not that you're going to move your set, but it allows you to put the TV anywhere without having to run a wire to it.

In any case, the TV signal is delivered via Ethernet so you can use HomePlug to get Ethernet to where you plug the TV in.

Oh, and it works well. It's not cheap in my area, however. It's about the same as cable.

Mike

Matt Meiser
05-23-2012, 10:41 AM
I do not have it as I live in Frontier territory, but my parents who live about 10 miles away do have it for Internet They get 10-11MBS down pretty consistently and its been reliable. The speed is 4-5x what their DSL was for about the same price. They do not have the TV service because according to my dad "YOU SHOULDN'T HAVE TO PAY FOR TV IF THERE ARE GOING TO BE COMMERCIALS!!!!!!!!!" They also do not have the phone because they were concerned about reliability for emergency situations due to health issues, but my dad is now leaning toward getting it. They won't actually save that much on phone because they have basic service with a cheap long distance plan that together typically add up to only a couple bucks more than the UVerse phone. And of course my dad doesn't see value in call waiting, call forwarding, voicemail, caller ID, etc. The unit includes a large battery backup, and now that they have a standby generator they really won't even need the backup.

I do know of someone else who had their power supply fail and it took ATT almost 36 hours to get them a replacement so his services were down during that time. Seems like that could have been handled locally much quicker but I don't know the details.

I'd jump on it in an nanosecond if I could get it. I'd probably take that over a cable co offering, but I might keep my DirecTV.

Todd Burch
05-23-2012, 10:58 AM
I had U-Verse for a few years and went back to Comcast after AT&T told me they were going to charge me $55 to move a box from one room to another. When I was on the AT&T disconnect call, the disconnect rep told me they would move the TV for free if I stayed with them, but I had already had enough. I had warned the service rep that I would terminate service if she was going to charge the $55, and she didn't care - she was sticking to her policy.

Pixilation was a common problem with U-Verse. Sometimes the sound would crap out too. On one service call, they offered to upgrade my internet from 12 mbps to 18 for no charge.

Going back to Comcast, I'm at 30 mbps. Besides the speed difference, U-Verse internet was "always on", so waking my computer from sleep, I had instant internet, whereas with Comcast, it takes 1/2 a minute or so to connect.

Something a bit funny - my local UPS store, when they saw me come in the door with all the U-Verse equipment - they had a special line for me to stand in with all the other U-Verse unsubscribers. Reminded me of Exodus.

Kevin W Johnson
05-23-2012, 3:45 PM
Something a bit funny - my local UPS store, when they saw me come in the door with all the U-Verse equipment - they had a special line for me stand in with all the other U-Verse unsubscribers. Reminded me of Exodus.

Sounds like the scene when I turned in my Comcast "digital analog" set top box and "digital analog" transport adapters and dumped Comcast for TV. I say "digital analog", because the system upgrade Comcast did was called a digital upgrade. However, the equipment that they supplied at no extra cost converted the digital signal to analog before it reached the TV. So, I was paying for HD channels as part of my TV package, however, I didn't have those HD channels after their "upgrade". If I wanted to see the channels I was already paying for, I had to pay extra for HD equipment. I told them to stick it. So far, Directv has been great.

I still have Comcast internet though, no other comparable option exists in my area. DSL simply isn't fast.

Brian Elfert
05-23-2012, 4:01 PM
Comcast has always charged for HD for cable networks as far as I know. Now, if you're talking the over the air stations like NBC, ABC, FOX, and so on those are/were free, but you usually had to connect the cable directly to your HDTV. I think you still can hook the coax directly to your HDTV to get network stations in HD.

I have Comcast and don't like paying as much as I do, but Comcast just works and I've heard some bad things about satellite and bad weather. We don't have FIOS or U-VERSE as options here.

glenn bradley
05-23-2012, 4:24 PM
Been great for me. Internet only.

Kevin W Johnson
05-23-2012, 9:18 PM
Comcast has always charged for HD for cable networks as far as I know. Now, if you're talking the over the air stations like NBC, ABC, FOX, and so on those are/were free, but you usually had to connect the cable directly to your HDTV. I think you still can hook the coax directly to your HDTV to get network stations in HD.

I have Comcast and don't like paying as much as I do, but Comcast just works and I've heard some bad things about satellite and bad weather. We don't have FIOS or U-VERSE as options here.

I think you misunderstood. Yes, I was paying for HD channels as part of my cable package. I could watch those channels thru my HDTV's WITHOUT the need for a cable box of any kind. UNTIL Comcast rolled thru our area with their so called "digital" system upgrade. We received a letter telling us we would need set top boxes and/or DTA's (digital transport adapters) by a certain date to continue receiving our channel's, and that they would provide one set top box, and two DTA's free. However, the equipment they provide without additional charge converts the incoming signal to analog, and you couldn't even see the HD channels anymore, even in analog form. If (I) you wanted to see (my) your channels in digital and HD, (I) you had to pay extra for the equipment. So really, I would have to pay twice for a digital or HD signal.


I can tell you, I was only one of many who dumped Comcast for TV over this. The Directv installer said they were busier than they had ever been.

Really, all they did was start scrambling all their signals because they, as a company are too lazy to actually go turn off the cable when one person moves out, and a new person moves in. The person moving in discovers they have cable, and never called to start service because it was never turned off. But what they did was alienate their paying customers. I also had two TV tuner cards in computers, and 3 DVR's that their stunt rendered useless.

Brian Elfert
05-23-2012, 10:52 PM
This is getting way off topic, but the reason Comcast and other cable providers are switching to digital has very little to do with stealing cable. Digital allows them to add a LOT more channels to the system especially HD channels. Comcast has added many more channels in HD since our area went digital.

I don't understand why Comcast would charge the $7 for HD and then not provide HD capable set top boxes. I pay the fee for a DVR and Comcast supplies me with an HD DVR at no extra cost over the DVR fee. They also don't charge the HD fee if you have the DVR. I also had a ReplayTV DVR that wouldn't work anymore, but Comcast's digital upgrade actually prompted me to finally upgrade to a new HDTV.

Bill Huber
05-23-2012, 10:54 PM
I have had my AT&T for about 5 years now and have no problems with it at all. At one point I was getting pixelated images and called them, they came out the next day and found that I had a bad connector that I had installed myself, never charged me, just fixed it and that was that.

Phil Thien
05-23-2012, 11:10 PM
I would encourage anyone thinking of switching from cable to Uverse to google "at&t uverse pixelation." You only have to type "at&t uverse pi" and google will complete the search query for you.

Kevin W Johnson
05-24-2012, 12:21 AM
This is getting way off topic, but the reason Comcast and other cable providers are switching to digital has very little to do with stealing cable. Digital allows them to add a LOT more channels to the system especially HD channels. Comcast has added many more channels in HD since our area went digital.

I don't understand why Comcast would charge the $7 for HD and then not provide HD capable set top boxes. I pay the fee for a DVR and Comcast supplies me with an HD DVR at no extra cost over the DVR fee. They also don't charge the HD fee if you have the DVR. I also had a ReplayTV DVR that wouldn't work anymore, but Comcast's digital upgrade actually prompted me to finally upgrade to a new HDTV.

Well, yeah, but it lets the OP how bad the rest is as well.

If Comcast doesn't turn it off, then no one is stealing anything, at that point they are giving it away. They don't see it that way, but it's the reality of the situation. If you hook yourself up? Then yes, it's stealing without question.

Yes digital allows more bandwidth, but the scrambling wasn't necessary for the digital upgrade. Scrambling was done solely to "cut off" all the people that were getting cable because for years they haven't been physically disconnecting locations. I know someone in a supervisory position at Comcast, so it's from the horses mouth.

I checked into get DVR's from Comcast before dropping their cable tv service. They wanted $16.95 per month, per DVR, or $85 per month to have the same recording ability (3 DVR's & 2 tuner cards) that I had prior to the upgrade.

Anyways, is the AT&T service provided via wireless or a cabled system?

Mike Henderson
05-24-2012, 12:41 AM
Well, yeah, but it lets the OP how bad the rest is as well.

If Comcast doesn't turn it off, then no one is stealing anything, at that point they are giving it away. They don't see it that way, but it's the reality of the situation. If you hook yourself up? Then yes, it's stealing without question.

Yes digital allows more bandwidth, but the scrambling wasn't necessary for the digital upgrade. Scrambling was done solely to "cut off" all the people that were getting cable because for years they haven't been physically disconnecting locations. I know someone in a supervisory position at Comcast, so it's from the horses mouth.

I checked into get DVR's from Comcast before dropping their cable tv service. They wanted $16.95 per month, per DVR, or $85 per month to have the same recording ability (3 DVR's & 2 tuner cards) that I had prior to the upgrade.

Anyways, is the AT&T service provided via wireless or a cabled system?
The ATT service is provisioned from a DSLAM (Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer) which is located in the neighborhood so that the copper pair to the house is relatively short. The connection between the DSLAM and the central office is optical. All of the service is digital (phone, Internet, and TV) and is communicated to the home via a HDSL connection. There is a box at the home that receives the HDSL signal and creates the various interfaces needed for the services. For phone, the connection is standard analog tip and ring over two wires - this can be fed into the telephone twisted pair in the home so all of your existing phones will work. The box also generates ringing voltage. That central box is powered by standard line voltage and has a battery backup good for about four hours (if I remember correctly).

The rest of the services (Internet and TV) are provided via 100Mbps Ethernet. You can use any Ethernet equipment you want with it (routers, switches, HomePlug, etc.). The box does generate WiFi at the 802.11g level. ATT now has a set top box (STB) that uses wireless (apparently not 802.11). The box comes with a transmitter that you plug into the central box Ethernet and it transmits to the STB so that you can locate your TV almost anywhere (as long as you can get a signal). The wireless STB works well (I have one). The only "defect" is that when you switch channels, the picture appears before the sound cuts in (slight lag in the appearance of the sound).

Mike

Kevin W Johnson
05-24-2012, 1:07 AM
Thanks, Mike. I wasn't sure what type of system they were using. If this service is plagued by pixelation as bad as it sounds, I'm wondering how they keep subscribers. I did get a loaner AT&T cell phone once to check out the coverage they hype about, and promtly returned it. They couldn't begin to match the signal of Verizon, or the very much smaller Ntelos Wireless.

Have you experienced the pixelation? Or is it a location/regional issue? I know a lot people dog Comcast internet about outages and issues, but it's rarely ever out where I'm at. In the last year or more I can only think of one late night outage, and two times that the mail servers were down for a short time. Oh yeah, about 2 years ago, there was a DNS server issue in my area, but I was able to use my phone to look up the DNS server addresses, and manually change it in my router and get around it.

Mike Henderson
05-24-2012, 1:23 AM
Thanks, Mike. I wasn't sure what type of system they were using. If this service is plagued by pixelation as bad as it sounds, I'm wondering how they keep subscribers. I did get a loaner AT&T cell phone once to check out the coverage they hype about, and promtly returned it. They couldn't begin to match the signal of Verizon, or the very much smaller Ntelos Wireless.

Have you experienced the pixelation? Or is it a location/regional issue? I know a lot people dog Comcast internet about outages and issues, but it's rarely ever out where I'm at. In the last year or more I can only think of one late night outage, and two times that the mail servers were down for a short time. Oh yeah, about 2 years ago, there was a DNS server issue in my area, but I was able to use my phone to look up the DNS server addresses, and manually change it in my router and get around it.
I don't watch much sports so I've never noticed the pixelation problem. I think it's more of a compression problem than anything else.

Mike

Shawn Russell
05-24-2012, 7:44 AM
I have had hit or miss service with my Uverse.

The good is that it is faster than DSL, but slower than cable and fios. The picture quality is pretty good and download speeds are not bad.

However, I have had a lot of issues that I am not happy with:
1. You can record OR watch 4 channels, 2 max HD. That was not something I was told.
2. When you have all 4 channels in use you will get pixelation. Not always, but sometimes it can get pretty bad.
3. The bandwidth for the channels does affect your internet performance.
4. Find out how far you are from the DSLAM. You want to be under 4000 feet away. The further you are away the worse your downstream performance. I am on the edge 5000 feet and signed up for 18M down service and paid for that. Only to find out I was really never getting over 12M.
5. If you have a large household, you can only have 250 active connections on the internet router. This may not seem like that big a deal, but each web browser tab, each app, are all taking one connection each. Some apps can launch multiple connections. And, if you have to call into support, first line support is worthless when trying to troubleshoot this.
6. Upload speed is the pits. It maxes at 1.5 but you will likely see performance around 1.1M.
7. If you change your package mid contract be careful, they will try and reset your contract date from whenever you made changes.

Overall, if I had a better cable choice(Charter service quality and customer service is horrible) or if I was closer to town and could get 4G internet, I would not use Uverse. This is the lesser of 2 evils, so I am stuck with it.

Brian Elfert
05-24-2012, 8:22 AM
All TV providers except over the air compress HD signals. Some compress more than others. The best quality HD signal comes in using an antenna, but of course the choice of networks is limited that way.

Chris Padilla
05-24-2012, 4:57 PM
Pretty satisfied U-Verse user. I think I'm on my 4th year with them. I haven't noticed pixelation issues...even with 3 TVs going and the wife and I banging on the wireless. I have TV, Landline, and Internet with them. The pictures on our plasmas are superb.

William Payer
05-25-2012, 9:28 AM
Have had U-Verse for about 4 years now. No problems at all. Have internet service from U-Verse also. No phone service, went to Ooma for that and couldn't be happier.

Jim Becker
05-28-2012, 9:24 PM
The good is that it is faster than DSL, but slower than cable and fios.

Please note that with the exception of a very few places where ATT has fiber to the home, U-Verse is a DSL variant called VDSL. That's why your experience around number 4 in your list is what it is. VDSL is even more distance sensitive than the older, more common DSL services, and the wire size and quality between you and your DSLAM also affect the end result. And as you note, the upload speed with ATT's implementation is not what it could be if the technology was exploited better. I couldn't derive the performance I wanted with DSL due to distance and smaller wire gage on the lines between here and the CO. It worked acceptably, but it was impossible to get better than 3M/1.5M to my home. Thankfully, I'm a happy FiOS user for nearly two years now after about a 5 year wait.

Andy Haney
05-28-2012, 11:08 PM
Thanks for the feedback folks. It was the basis for some of my questions to AT&T last Thursday evening. I did pull the trigger, but not for a long-term agreement. All I have is their guarantee of a rate for 6 mos, with no obligation on my part beyond that, and I don't think I have to stay for the full 6 mos. We'll see if they come up with a better long-term promotion.

It can't be any worse than the small town cable experience I've had, and my cordial discussions with that cable system about dropping their service has been part (I think) of their current project to upgrade service.

Andy

Andy Haney
06-06-2012, 11:53 PM
Installation finally happened today. Ran into a bump or two along the way technically, but AT&T corrected those issues and was very responsive...great CS so far. I didn't know there was so much HD available, and the channel selection is extensive. There will be a learning curve to get where I'd like to be without going thru the menu over and over. It seems the Internet connection is much faster, but I still need to check that out. Techie-nerd I'm not! It will take a while. So far, I'm very pleased compared to what I had before.

Thanks again for the feedback.

Andy

Curt Harms
06-07-2012, 9:03 AM
Here are a couple internet speed test sites. Both require flash. It's not a bad idea to check more than one location on speedtest.net if they're about the same distance.

www.speedtest.net

http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/