U-verse vs Cable TV

If you are not familiar with AT&T U-verse, you will be soon enough. Now available in more markets across the country, the service is generating a buzz and proving to be a worthy competitor to cable TV. In fact, AT&T claims that an estimated 60% of its customers are migrating from the cable competition in favor of its IP-based alternative. The company continued to ramp up its number of subscribers by adding a record 284,000 net customers in the first quarter of 2009. AT&T U-verse has been designed to rival cable in virtually every facet, offering bundles of services that include digital TV, high-speed internet and phone. U-Verse is certainly the talk of the paid TV market, but how does it really match up to cable? Let’s have a closer look.

DVR Hardware

The AT&T U-verse DVR, Total Home DVR, sets itself apart from the competition by offering the ability to record up to four standard definition channels at one time. Though far from a TiVo, the receiver has a slick, easy to use interface along with a remote control that can do everything from change the channel to play games on your TV screen. Cable DVR boxes as you probably know, vary depending on the company you’re dealing with. Some are straightforward and user-friendly while others like those provided by Charter Cable, are clunky with a user interface that looks like it was made back in the 70s.

HD Programming

AT&T recently extended its offerings to include more than 100 HD channels. The company claims that its U-Verse TV service now has more HD channels than any cable or satellite service.

While this is up for debate, cable is light-years behind satellite TV when it comes to HD and perhaps even further behind the AT&T service.

VOD Options

AT&T U-verse and cable TV are pretty much neck and neck when it comes to VOD options.

Both provide you with a plethora of options in terms of free programs and movies as well as a nice selection of paid choices in standard definition.

Additional Features

The biggest difference between AT&T U-verse and cable is the additional features that come along with the service. With U-verse, you can program your DVR from any computer with an internet connection. This can also be done from an IP-based device such as an iPhone. Other notable features include online photo storage with Flickr, games provided by Yahoo and the U-bar that flashes weather reports in ticker-like fashion across the bottom of your screen. About the coolest thing you can do with cable is order a Pay Per View event from your remote control.

Installation

The installation is either hit or miss with both U-verse and cable TV. However, you are likely to encounter a lengthier process with U-verse. This is mainly because U-verse thrives off a different type of network and therefore requires a different type of setup. While AT&T says that your existing wiring can be used, sometimes additional cables are required, thus adding on time to the project. Whereas a cable job can usually be completed in a matter of hours, expect for a U-verse installation to claim about 5 to 8 hours of your day. With U-verse being a relatively new service utilizing a more exclusive technology, it isn’t uncommon to see more than one technician before the installation is complete with everything working properly.

Conclusion

AT&T U-verse is certainly turning heads but it does have some critics. For instance, some customers have complained of signal and picture quality issues even though AT&T claims that the clarity outshines cable. However, many more are expressing that U-verse makes a better option over cable merely for the value and exclusive features it offers. The choice is all a matter of preference because it’s hard to picture something like U-verse completely replacing cable TV. If you want to be the judge, read more details on AT&T U-verse and decide for yourself.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kenneth Woodard September 10, 2010 at 10:07 am

I’ll believe it when I see it! I’m not one of those who falls for everything that comes down the pike. Take, for instance the wireless debate over who’s better; AT&T or Verizon. I have been with Verizon for 16 years when it was Cellular One! Since that time it has undergone numerous changes to make itself bigger and much better. AT&T has continued to play catch up offering such technology as 4G smartphones. Such technology has no value to the consumer yet unless you want to buy the latest bells and whistles. Verizon, on the other hand is continuing to improve on it’s 3G product while waiting to get the bugs out of the 4G line THEN offering it to the consumer. Verizon has the best quality over AT&T wirelss bar none. Personally, I have NEVER had a dropped call. NEVER! That is far and away better than my partners who subscribe to AT&T wirelss. They constantly moan about dropped calls in the city where we live. NOT ME! My signal is always there and crystal clear. Even in the grocery store where I shop. NO DROPPED CALLS. I will stick with Cox cable and Verizon until something better comes. Right now….AT&T ain’t it for me!!!

Jay R Cap November 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Ok, 1st of all you are rambling on about wireless, which has nothing to do with fiber optics or land line services! Horray for your beliefs in Verizon Wireless, must be fun downloading things slowly. The word “COX” cable speaks for itself… Lets see; new technology, dedicated service, software based, fiber optic TV…… or…… souped up 80s technology that has hit the ceiling for expansion and is an inferior piece of junk…… Hey buddy, guess what? at&t does not carry 4G!!!! But lets say they did, because i happen to have an i-phone and the 4G EVO from sprint, funny how 4G can carry 21 MGPS wirelessly!! hmmmmmm that sounds faster then your junked out cable. HEY and while we are at it, go pull up the reports from JD Power and Consumer Reports. So if your statments are true then why is U-verse a milestone above your chinsy little “cox” cable. In all reality the services that you have just blows “cox”. At&ts net worth 168 billion, #3 on Forbes list. Cox cable, NOT ON THE FORBES LIST, come on even George Bush probably has a net worth higher then Cox cable. U-verse wins!!!

ed January 1, 2011 at 4:36 am

The down side of U-Verse is after about 3am all the channels go to scamy “paid programming.” When I say scamy, I mean you go look it up on google, and add +scam to see how bad they screwed all their customers. At least when I had cable, I had omg I can’t sleep late late night television. Anyone remember “Army of Darkness?”

AT&T Fan December 19, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I’ve had Cox and AT&T in more than 1 place in Southern California and I haven’t noticed a difference between the 2 companies in terms of picture quality of HD programming or in terms of internet speed. Cox is more expensive and has slighty better customer service. That’s it. They are much more likely to get someone on the phone who knows what is going on or a technician over to your place quicker because their technicians are on commission (thus the higher cost). Both companies have very good reliable services with blazing internet speeds as fast as you need. If anything, my Cox internet would go down in the evenings for an hour or 2 sometimes. My AT&T never does that. I don’t think you can go wrong with either service though. I love the guys who pretend that one or the other is terrible. LOL.

James January 26, 2012 at 1:37 am

Speak of the future technology, I am a grad in a Computer Science major and I sense that the future of technology of electronics such as wireless Wi-Fi, Fiber Optics, Cable wires, and the speed of transmission rates are tremendously changed by increasing speeds where the micro-chips with greater number of transistors stacked up is applied in the circuit board of phones, TV, and computers along with the quality of conductive wires and fiber optic that the brand of Companies such as Verizon, At&t, Sprint , T-Mobile, & ISP & Cable companies are in a competitive business in a race clock to the finish line. The highest satisfied number of consumers the Company have, the best products and the services the company have are rated the best with the rest of other companies. AT&T are the one..!! Check out with Forbes Magazine and the NYSE stock reports. Trust me!!!

james April 11, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Here in Marietta, GA , a north suburb of Atlanta, I recently switched from Direct TV (HD) and Comcast internet to AT&T UVERSE in an attempt to buy same service at less cost. WHAT A DISASTER !! AT&T is 1970′s DSL I’ve learned, and the more components you use the slower your connections will be, even to totally depleting your connection and losing internet and TV. Having had the Uverse a week, I’m awaiting my cable provider’s arrival to replace this fiasco and let AT&T come collect their ‘BOAT ANCHOR”. CAVEAT EMPTOR ( buyer beware). If AT&T disclosed the facts prior to closing the sale, they would only sell a maximum 10% of their current sales.

Richard Dugan May 23, 2013 at 12:41 pm

The difference between all television suppliers is minimal when considering the quality of service. For most people I believe that U-verse offers the best value if one chooses wisely among their packages. I obtained the service primarily for the high speed internet and I have not been disappointed. I also have the minimal television subscription but I find that with my Roku and HD Neflix there is really no need to use the television side of the service. The net for me is I am paying fifty dollars less for my service than I could on any comparable cable and forty dollars less than on any satellite and I can’t even obtain a decent internet access with any satellite in my area. I have had U-verse for almost two years now and it has never failed me.

Phillip April 4, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Uverse is NOT fiber optic. They advertise that it is but it sent down the old 50-100 year old copper lines. Total BS.

Terry June 18, 2014 at 2:36 pm

I’m in the process of switching back from Cox Cable to At&T. Previously I had DSL with AT&T. Cox was fine for many years, until I upgraded to HD TV. Then many TV reception issues with Cox. Ditto for Internet. Techs came out to house 7-8 times to fix, ultimately changing out all cables in house and from house to street. They’ve been very good about it, to the point of crediting me for the past two months of service because of the signal failure and inability to correct it. Kudos to Cox for trying to fix the TV signal/reception. Internet…not so much. Didn’t try anything to fix that. Charged me $188/ month for service I couldn’t use and they couldn’t fix. That’s after all my discounts. Yesterday ordered AT&T U – verse. Total package about $20 less than Cox with more/better options, including Premium TV channels and a lot more HD & SD selections. (Granted a lot of those channels appear to be U – verse crap. Installation scheduled for 6/30. Will hopefully be able to actually use the service. If not, will cancel service.

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