After two years with Time Warner Cable and six years with Buckeye Cable System, I decided it was time to try something new. I was sick of continuously paying more money for less with cable and wanted to see what other options were available. Cable definitely isn’t trying very hard when it comes to HD channels. I really didn’t want to deal with satellite and decided to try out the AT&T U-verse IPTV.
My service was installed on September 27 and initially, I couldn’t have been happier. The only complaint I had was that sales sold me the “Sports Package” that didn’t really show sports. Nearly all professional sports were blacked out on these regional channels. Apparently, this is a pretty common issue on satellite as well with sales selling this package without the blackout notice.
For the next 2 months, I had great service and new channels and features added monthly. The Total Home DVR update was pushed to my house in October. I had an issue with one TV not properly detecting it. Not finding this to be a big issue, I put off calling technical support for a few weeks. And when I did, disaster struck.
After almost two hours on the phone with a support agent who barely spoke English (or any other decipherable language), I had restarted and updated all my receivers and the home gateway more than once. After this, my service barely worked and was constantly cutting out. He then set up an appointment for two days later with a technician. The technician arrived and found numerous issues which he corrected. He dispatched a line tech to come out and remove a bridge tap from my outside line. He hoped that this would boost the signal and correct my problems with the THDVR. I was not convinced this would correct the issue. The problem was obviously on the internal side of the home network. However I was satisfied at this point just to have my TV and Internet services restored.
That same night, I returned home from work to find my AT&T U-verse services were completely out. Naturally I was a bit angry and made the call of shame to tech support. I was fortunate enough to speak to someone who spoke fluent English and was able to quickly and safely determine that I needed another technician to come out to my house. They dispatched a truck for the next day. It impressed me that I was able to get a tech out within one day. The quickest Time Warner could ever get a tech out was three to five days.
The tech came out and found that there was no signal getting out to my house. He dispatched another line technician that found the VRAD in my area had gone out. He informed me that I would need to wait another two days before it could be replaced. So I patiently waited. On the following Sunday I called and found out that the VRAD had been replaced and I still didn’t have any service. Yet another technician was scheduled for the next day.
The sixth day of the outage quickly rolled around and I was starting to shop for a new TV and Internet provider. I figured if three technicians couldn’t get this system up and running, then it was time to crawl back to Time Warner. The final technician who came out quickly called a line tech and waited for him to arrive. While he was waiting, he checked out my entire in-home network, replaced any cable and jacks that could cause any potential issues and updated my main line into the house.
The final crew of techs were able to fix all of my issues, as well as my initial problem with the THDVR. Turns out I had a variety of issues including old wiring and the local VRAD going out. My service works better than ever now and my Internet is noticeably faster than before. So after 6 full days of being down, I was finally back up and running. Without asking for it, I received a month of credit for dealing with the issues.
Obviously, I was outraged for the six days I didn’t have Internet or TV. However, in the end I was pleased with the fast response and one day turn around to have a technician out to my house. It is unfortunately that an insignificant feature was the beginning of a six day service interruption. Since these issues occurred, my service has worked flawlessly. AT&T U-verse has added numerous HD channels and successfully pushed out a service update to my DVR.
Overall, I am very satisfied with AT&T U-verse from price, to quality, to service. I would highly recommend the AT&T U-verse service. When put side-by-side with Time Warner, they offer much more for the money. It is unfortunate that they have received a bad reputation from local cable providers to a few angry customers. Here are a few pro’s and con’s from my experiences.
- Great price for the services offered
- Tons of HD channels
- Total Home DVR
- Multiple Internet Speeds and TV Packages to choose from
- 14-day program guide
- Picture-in-picture channel surfing
- On-screen interactive features include traffic, sports scores, games and weather.
- Ability to show all or only selected channels in your program guide
- Satellite-style features through a land-line
- SD channels are much higher quality than cable
- 2-Wire Home Gateway works very well and has a strong wireless signal
- Brittle technology
- Rare stuttering and audio/video sync issues
- Older in-home wiring doesn’t work well with the service
- Lower-level technical support is obviously off-shored
- No picture-in-picture viewing
- HD Quality is very good, but not as good as Time Warner
- DVR and Receivers are Windows CE-based, so they need a restart every once in a while
- Recorded shows will not play unless it is connected to the TV service
If you do signup for service, here are a few notes to help you with the installation experience:
- Most installers will consider a receiver or gateway that syncs up good enough, ask your installer to verify signal on all your TV’s before leaving. It might not bad idea to power cycle the gateway before the technician leaves to make sure it syncs back up.
- Verify that your Total Home DVR works from all TV’s
- Check a ticker. Head to your favorite news channel and be sure there is no stuttering or voice sync issues.
- Be sure you can connect to the wireless Internet (if necessary).
- Do a simple performance test at DSLReports or Toast.net to check that your Internet speeds are what you paying for.