AT&T U-verse Review: Internet, Television, & Home Phone Services
AT&T is no stranger to high technology and attempting to leapfrog the competition, and the U-verse system is an example of this in action. AT&T is just one of many companies that offer bundled services such as digital cable services, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone services, and broadband data plans. AT&T U-verse goes the extra mile to stay ahead of the competition with some very slick integrated features that are simply stunning when ordered as a package and well utilized. It is possible to have the entire package but not make good use of, or even be aware of the highly integrated features that could help any given consumer make the most out of their investment.
AT&T U-verse Services:
There are three main components to AT&T’s U-verse: digital cable, VoIP, and broadband Internet access. When properly installed and working normally, AT&T’s U-verse is far more than the sum of these parts, but each part does need to be explored individually. Remember that AT&T is constantly innovating and it pays to make good friends with the delivery crew just to have them want to stick around and give a lecture on all of the latest features and how they can be used.
AT&T U-verse TV
U-verse uses a selective IPTV multi-casting technology to deliver 110 channels in crystal clear high definition, and this number continues to grow. Because the U-verse system only requests the data it is using, there is no theoretical limit to the amount of channels that AT&T can support. There are obviously limits on the number of studios and companies offering channels, but video on demand services seem to be the wave of the future and AT&T’s U-verse certainly seems to be in a good position to get a leg up on the competition.
AT&T U-verse Channel Line Up:
The channel lineup will vary depending on package and region, but one can expect approximately 400 channels on tap including local programming, on demand channels, standard and expanded cable, as well as premium channels.
AT&T U-verse International Channels:
Additionally, AT&T offers what they refer to as ‘ethnic’ programming. Ethnic programming is defined by AT&T as a combination of additional subtitles to existing networks when possible, and networks broadcasting from around the world. Many of the new ethnic-themed channels are South Asian, but there are also a few channels in Spanish, Portuguese, and even French. AT&T seems to be determined to increase their ethnic-enabled lineup.
AT&T U-verse DVR:
Channel 1 allows for up to four shows to be displayed at once with AT&T U-verse TV Multiview, but the U-verse DVR has a few more tricks to explore. In fact, what separates U-verse from other similar cable offerings is the networked DVR. This is the first example of how AT&T offers unique features such as the ability to pause a live video in one room and watch it in another room. Two HD shows or four SD programs can be recorded without interfering with the normal television viewing experience. These are far from the only tricks that the U-verse has up its sleeves. The ability to browse the web, play Yahoo! games, and even add a custom weather/news/sports ticker is available in some regions.
Additional DVR Features:
The DVR can also be used to display call histories, which is yet another example of how tightly integrated the U-verse system is. All of AT&T’s U-verse related phone plans offer the ability to return a call right from the television set, the capacity to check voice messages via a computer or the DVR, as well as the ability to block all incoming calls when the mood strikes. The last feature can come in quite handy from time to time, especially for those that are feeling amorous after watching their favorite movie and could use a ‘do not disturb’ feature to ensure that the mood is not destroyed by a telemarketer, family member, or boss. A unique and useful synergy is formed by sharing data between the home phone, wireless plans that can be linked to the U-verse account, and an Internet based address book. The result is that U-verse customers will never be without their contact book.
AT&T U-verse Home Phone:
The U-verse phone service plans come with all of the standard features that one would expect, and comes in two tiers: a limited account and an unlimited account. Features include Caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, call rejection, anonymous call blocking, 3-way calling, call acceptance. In short, the feature set is nothing interesting other than the DVR and web integration, which certainly seems odd for a company with such deep telecom roots. The unlimited account allows for unlimited calls to anywhere in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, while the limited accounts have changed names a few times but their name tends to incorporate a number that denotes the number of minutes the plan comes with. Sadly, the minutes are used for local and long distance calls, and hopefully AT&T will at least remove the local limitation at some point in the future. It is also worth noting that additional lines can be added for a low monthly cost.
AT&T U-verse Internet:
U-verse Internet access currently comes in six tiers, and the company makes it difficult to find the upload speeds for each plan. At the time of this writing, download speeds range from a respectable 1.5 Mbps to a zippy 18 Mbps. AT&T refers to their data plans as the Express (1.5 Mbps), Pro (3 Mbps), Elite (6 Mbps), Max (12 Mbps), and the Max Plus (18 Mbps). All of these data rates are maximum theoretical through-puts and not necessarily representative of actual performance at any given time of day. These figures may not be considered ground breaking, especially given the 30+ Mbps that the underlying VDSL technology is capable of under ideal situations, but that bandwidth is shared between data, digital video streams, and VoIP data packets. DSL technologies are notoriously fickle, and not all properties will qualify for the fastest DSL packages.
10 e-mail accounts with unlimited storage come with all of the U-verse data plans offered by AT&T as does unlimited dial-up Internet access for those on the go who cannot find a Wi-Fi hot spot in their area. An AT&T branded security suite offers competent malware protection, a firewall, and parental controls for those who want to ensure that the web is not accessed in certain ways or at certain times. Parental controls are built into modern operating systems, as are firewalls and basic malware kits, which leaves AT&T’s security suite in an interesting position. Whether AT&T will continue to offer their security suite or try another tactic remains to be seen.
AT&T U-verse Bundles:
AT&T allows customers to build their own bundles, which is a novel and customer-oriented approach. It is difficult to believe that such an approach comes from a company that is more or less infamous for its customer service. Customers can build bundles from any combination of AT&T’s services. Their most popular bundle is known as the AT&T U-verse Triple Play.
Contact AT&T U-verse
Contact AT&T U-verse to establish service or make changes to your existing service by calling the appropriate customer service department from the list below:
- Check Status of Pending High Speed Internet Order
- Customer Service/Tech Support for Existing Members
- Business Accounts
See our company contact information for a comprehensive list of customer service telephone numbers.