| Review by NHTracker |
member for 11 years, 265 visits, last login: 1.2 years ago
updated 2.1 years ago
- $151 per month
- about 4 days
- "Program Guide and Menus, Interactive Features, Total Home DVR, Attractive Equipment, Receivers use Ethernet or Coax"
- "HD Quality is abysmal at times. Also, there is a lack of free HD on demand content"
- "Value for your money ends when your promotion discount ends. Service rides on an outdated conduit with little room for growth"
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
Uverse is a service that was outdated when it was created and has little to no room to grow, unlike cable, satellite (to a lesser extent), and fiber optic (Verizon Fios). AT&T's decision to deliver their TV & Internet service over outdated telephone lines was flawed. Copper telephone lines were designed for telephone calls and were not designed to carry the massive amounts of data required for todays TV and internet needs. AT&T could have invested the money to upgrade to an entire fiber network like Verizon but decided to go the cheap route instead. For a company that had the money to invest in their future this is unusual. The result of their inaction to FULLY upgrade their system means HD channels are highly compressed resulting in a loss in quality; there is a limit on how many TVs in your home can watch HD channels at the same time, and this number decreases depending how far you are from their fiber termination box in your neighborhood, as does your ability to choose higher speed internet tiers.
My personal experience with Uverse is the quality of their HD channels here in Austin, TX are not anywhere near as good as Time Warner Cable, DirecTV, and Dish Network. I have seen all of them first hand so I can say this in good faith. Uverse's over compression of HD manifests itself as an unclear picture during scenes with medium to high levels of motion, or during rapid camera angle changes. Artifacts, mosquito noise, and color smearing are a regular occurrence. In fact, just the other day I was watching a show during a scene with very little movement and I was shocked that even with little movement the picture was unclear and the colors were smeared. This issue is not just limited to my living room TV, but also my bedroom TV. AT&T has tried to blame it on my TV, but I'm techy enough to know what over compression looks like. When I told them it happens on my bedroom TV as well they didn't know what to say, since it's a completely different model than the one in my living room. They're also speechless when I tell them I used to have DirecTV with the same TVs and never had this problem. Now here comes the strange part, while Uverse's HD is never as good as their competitors, at least here in Austin, there are some days and even the occasional week where it looks reasonably acceptable. Just when I think they've got their codec tweaked well enough to compliment their low bit rate, something changes and it goes right back to terrible. This reminds me too much of another bandwidth starved company called SiriusXM, in which some days their audio channels sounded better than others. When you have so little bandwidth allocated you have a lot less room for error when tweaking things. At least that's my educated guess as to the explanation behind the flux.
Another area Uverse lacks in is their free "On Demand" content in HD. Premium channels like HBO and Showtime aside, they only offer 3, yes 3! Golf Channel, NFL Channel, and the Nat Geo Channel to be exact. Once you have an HD TV, do you really want to watch programs in SD? By comparison, DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner, Comcast, etc., offer nearly every cable network's On Demand programming in HD. So why can't they? Incidently, what little HD On Demand content they have looks significantly better than their live tv channels. Using a bandwidth measuring program they allocate 7-8Mbps for on demand as opposed to the 5.7Mbps for live TV. Why? Well, the AT&T tech couldn't explain that one to me.
Another area they fail at is the copper phone wires they use to deliver the service to your home are unshielded and subject to interference; such as, appliances in your home, HAM and AM radio stations, your neighbors appliances if you are in an apt, lightening, and just about any other RF or electrical device. This manifests itself as errors in the connection that cause your picture to freeze and your internet to pause. In prolonged and worst cases, you will loose your connection altogether until the interference stops and the modem re-syncs. I have had several incidences like this but luckily they haven't been extremely frequent.
All in all I could deal with these shortcomings if their prices were cheaper than their competitors. After all, their internet service has been pretty stable, although I get slightly less bandwidth than the tier level I pay for. Their whole home DVR is great! The non-DVR box in the bedroom can pull my recordings from the DVR in the living room. Their menu's and program guide are nice and easy to use. Also, their boxes are relatively small and attractive. However, AT&T has steadily raised their prices and they are now on par with their competitors. Once my promotion period ends I will pay just as much as their competitors and, depending on the competitor, slightly more. Having no financial value means my tolerance for their shortcomings will be non-existent and unless things have improved by then (May), I will be switching providers, period.
Update 2/17/2011: Last night around 12:30AM both the internet and TV went down. I checked the RG and all lights were green. Regardless, I decided to power cycle the modem and it took a long time to sync back up. When it did the internet and TV were back for 3 minutes and then they both went back down. When it did come back up on it's own several minutes later, the HD picture quality, which had been somewhat reasonable the past couple days, was back to being horrible. As I sit here watching the Discovery Channel, the artifacting is at it's worst level in a few days. I even got an artifact "shimmer" during a still scene that corrected itself a second later. The frustration continues....
Update 4/15/2011: I have cancelled Uverse and switched to Time Warner Cable. On most TWC channels the HD quality compared to Uverse is remarkably better and sharper. It's still not as good as DirecTV, but much more palatable. Additionally, my internet is a bit faster than my assigned speed even with powerboost taken into consideration. That was never the case with Uverse. The only things I'll miss about Uverse are mostly cosmetic, such as, a more organized channel lineup, faster channel changing, interactive features, and HBO and Showtime On Demand in HD. Uverse ultimately has the right idea with the wrong execution. Should they ever in the future decide to abandon their use of a twisted copper pair or figure a way to dramatically increase their bandwidth to the point in which they can provision their HD channels to a higher bit rate of 8Mbps to 10Mbps, and work out the "freezing" issues, I would consider switching back but not until then.
Use of copper Is it not true that most cable companies are delivering their internet over the coaxial copper cable for the last portion of the connection? How is that any different than what AT&T is doing concerning the use of copper wire?
Re: Use of copper Coaxial cable by design is shielded and has a broader frequency spectrum and significantly less attenuation than a telephone copper twisted pair even though they both use copper at their core. Telephone copper was designed for low frequency voice calling. Coax cable was specifically designed for radio frequency transmission. All one has to do is look at the two side by side to understand this. If it was more economically feasible to use coax than fiber at the last mile, that would have been a much better choice than what they're currently using.
*EDIT* AT&T would probably never switch to coax of course because it would make them indistinguishable from a traditional cable company, even though it would be a better move for them in the interim. That would likely hurt their traditional pride as a telco. As for Verizon, they realized many years ago that the limitations of telephone twisted pair copper were too great so they went with fiber to the premises instead. This not only makes them fully prepared for the future, but it also uniquely distinguishes them from a cable company. Pride, therefore, remains intact. Ultimately, at some point in the future there will be no distinction between telcos and cable companies as they will all likely deliver their services via fiber to your home.
Re: Use of copper
said by NHTracker:That would be liberating.
Ultimately, at some point in the future there will be no distinction between telcos and cable companies as they will all likely deliver their services via fiber to your home.
Re: 25% for connection reliability? I upped it to 50% to be fair, but the channel freezing and RG disconnects became a big issue after I wrote the initial review.
| |wings10I Am LegendPremium
South Elgin, IL
Value for your money? What do you have for $123 a month?
Does now sound bad for HSI/Voice/TV. Same as Comcast Triple Play and others.
"The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration."
Re: Value for your money? $123 was with promotions that ended, then the price increased to over $150. I'm now paying $120 with TWC for faster internet and everything I had with Uverse.
| |wings10I Am LegendPremium
South Elgin, IL
Re: Value for your money? I agree that is a bit too much.