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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.