Review by WhyMe420
Good "Faster Internet, lots of HD channels, fast channel switching, IPTV"
- Location: Birmingham,Jefferson,AL
- Cost: $147 per month
- Install: about 7 days
Bad "CAPS. Watching TV slows down Internet, HD quality poor, set-top boxes slow/buggy, higher latency due to Interleaving"
Overall "They claim it's "fiber optics" but it's not. For 90% of you out there it is VDSL. Don't fall for door-to-door sales people."
|Pre Sales Information:|
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)
For years I had AT&T DSL, which itself was very mediocre, however I kept it for one reason and one reason only: No caps. So back in Oct. '09 when I found out U-verse was available from door-to-door sales people, I quickly signed up. They claimed that it was "fiber optic" and that I could record 4 shows at once. What they failed to tell me though, was that in reality it's still DSL (VDSL) with the only difference being that fiber has been run to the end of the neighborhood. There are even many instances of AT&T selling "U-verse" ADSL, which can't even get TV.
So, we got fiber optics, and then (in my case) 750 feet of 50-year-old copper telephone wire providing Internet and TV. Well, at first I said "whatever works," but this was before I dived into U-verse only to find several BLARING flaws. First thing I noticed was the bad HD quality, compared to my previous DISH Network installment. I thought maybe it was just the channel. Man was I mistaken, as browsing every channel showed the same watercolor-like, smeared results.
Alright, so even if I put aside the bad HD quality, another flaw is apparent. The sales idiots were correct in their claims that you can record 4 shows at once. I quickly found out that the only problem is, you can't even watch live TV on any other TV anymore, due to a limit of 4 live TV streams at once. So, if I chose to record 4 shows at once, all other TVs in the house would be greeted with a friendly black screen with a message that states: "All TV services are in use." There was also a 2 HD limit for me. So if you're using 2 HD streams to record, well let's just say you're gonna be watching SD on your HDTV. Oh joy...
They have "upgraded" to a 4 HD limit, that is, if you live next to the VRAD. Otherwise, there is still a 2-3 HD limit, for a lot of customers.
Another crappy thing about the 4-stream limit, is say you have 3 TVs watching live TV. Someone had 2 recordings scheduled to fire off. Well, once those recordings start recording, one of those 3 TVs will be BOOTED from TV viewing, and be greeted with the aforementioned "All TV services are in use." Woohoo! You can't even determine which TV will be booted, it's completely random. Needless to say extremely frustrating!
After messing around with the STBs I couldn't help but think "wow this is slow," because with DISH I was used to near-instantaneous responses to remote presses. The U-verse STBs are so slow, that they even have a light on the receiver that blinks when you command the box via remote. It's basically a "yeah, yeah, I get the message, just give me a moment" light so people don't think their remote is dead. So when you press a button, that light flashes, and the menu (particularly the DVR menu) just sits there as if you didn't press anything, then finally it changes to what you wanted. Painfully slow.
I also found out that the DVR has a 203-recording limit regardless of whether or not you actually fill up the tiny 320GB HDD. Pathetic. Found out that the DVR also struggles with feeding recordings to the remote STBs while recording at the same time. The remote playback will freeze up randomly, due to the slow DVR.
Then, not too long after, I found out that watching TV slows down my Internet connection. So, when my family is watching TV, I can't have faster than 9-18Mbps, even though I pay for 24Mbps. Yay! I also found out that U-verse VDSL has mandatory interleaving, thus making the first hop 20ms, thus making all of your ping times at least 11-15ms higher than they should be. Not good if you're a gamer. However I've been able to deal with it, but just putting that out there. On top of that, AT&T's routing can be pretty crummy, raising your ping even higher.
Those of you who get U-verse who are also lucky enough to get FTTH, well, expect the exact same limitations as VDSL users, except you will be limited to 18Mbps Internet. Talk about backwards.
Now for the last, but not least important issue. CAPS. AT&T is now attempting to put into place a cap, where if you go over 250GB, you will be charged $10 per 50GB over. So, if you have 24Mbps service, you may now only use your 24Mbps for 3% of your billing month, meanwhile you are paying 100% of your bill. For only 23 hours out of each month, will you be allowed 24Mbps. AT&T claims that this is due to "congestion" from the "2%" of people whom "abuse" their Internet connection. Yet, AT&T has yet to prove these claims, and even if they were true, it means AT&T is doing a piss-poor job of keeping up their infrastructure, and they're overselling their service. Hell, AT&T can't even get their meters working, or when they do they don't work right, so why should I believe any of their bogus statistics?
It's obvious that it's just a price hike, and a money grab to line the CEO's pockets.
So yeah, to sum things up, U-verse isn't even half of what it claims to be.
I already switched back to DISH Network nearly a year ago, got a LOT better HD quality, can record 8HD, use external hard drives for over 1200 recordings, doesn't slow down my Internet.
Also will be switching to Charter Internet soon, as they have higher caps than AT&T.
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updated 2.5 years ago