5 Things you Should Know About AT&T U-verse

Competition is getting much stiffer for cable companies as more areas in the country have additional choices in regard to their TV options.  AT&T has added its name to the mix with the recent launch of U-Verse, a suite of products that thrive on IP (Internet Protocol) technology.  Some of the most notable offerings include broadband internet, digital television and VoIP telephone services.  AT&T U-Verse is a 100% digital service that utilizes various fiber-optic technologies to enable high-speed access.  Because the service is delivered by hard line, you can enjoy better overall reliability in comparison to satellite.   While U-verse is gaining ground on the paid TV market, there are a few things you should know before purchasing service.  Here are five of them:

1.) The DVR is Impressive

AT&T’s digital video recorder, Total DVR, is pretty functional and gives you all the features commonly found in other hardware.  There are user-friendly programming menus and parental controls along with the ability to pause live TV, zoom through commercials and so forth.  The U-Verse DVR holds up to 233 hours of SD programming and 65 hours of HD, which is respectable compared to other providers.  The biggest downside to the AT&T hardware is the one DVR per household policy, and this DVR is limited to 2  HD recordings or 4 SD recordings at a time.  If you need TV service in more than one room, it’s going to cost you an additional $7 per receiver. What’s great about the additional receiver’s is that each one can access the DVR through a U-verse home network setup when U-Verse is installed.

2.) U-verse is Different

What makes U-verse so unique is exclusive features you won’t find in other services, one of them being a DVR with the ability to record four programs at once.  Other standout features of U-Verse TV include:

U-Bar – The U-Bar feature can be compared to Verison Fios TV Widgets, allowing you to check weather, traffic, stock quotes and sports scores.  Simply press the “Go Interactive” button and you can stay up on the latest news without interrupting your current program.

Yellow Pages – There is also a Yellow Pages directory on channel 97 that lists business addresses and phone numbers on your TV screen.

Yahoo! Games – U-Verse allows you to play a number of games provided by Yahoo!.  On channel 92 you play games like Chess, Solitaire and Sudoku.

Flickr – U-Verse also offers integration with Flickr, allowing you to upload your pictures and view them on channel 92.
3.) U-verse is a Little Costly

Like similar services, AT&T U-verse offers a number of different packages to choose from.  You also have the luxury to build your own custom package starting from $49 per month.  Other plans are currently based on the following pricing tiers:

U100 Triple Pack – $90/mo – This is the only package that doesn’t include an HD-ready DVR.  Package features are TV, Internet and unlimited phone calls.  You get up to 100 channels of television programming.

U200 Double pack – $94/mo – This package features TV and internet, giving you up to 220 channels.

U200 Triple Pack $113/mo – This package features TV, internet and unlimited phone calls.  You get up to 220 channels of television programming.

U300 Triple Pack $134/mo- This package features, TV, internet and unlimited phone calls.  You get up to 290 channels.

U450 Triple Pack – This package features, TV, internet and unlimited phone calls.  It also offers the fastest speed with up to 18 Mbps downstream.  You get up to 360 channels, some of which include HD programming.

4.) U-verse Comes with Incentives

All U-verse TV packages have special offers attached.  There is a free installation along with cash-back and a 30-day money back guarantee.  As far as the cash-back deal, the explanation seems a bit complex but you basically sign into the contract, fill out some additional forms and wait for a check in the mail.  The current offers are for $50 and $200 cash back but it is advisable to inquire within AT&T for all the specifics.

5.) U-verse is Worth it

Although the price is a bit steep, AT&T U-verse is a quality service that is sure to get better over time.  You may have encountered a few horror stories regarding installation but that tends to be an issue with most services.  As we all know, even the most amazing technology lacks perfection so there are some kinks that need to be worked out.  Despite a few minor flaws, the speed, picture quality and availability makes U-verse worth a shot.