When it comes to your television and internet, you want the absolute best. There is nothing worse than not having the channel with your favorite show available to you or having your internet slowly load that video or web page you are trying to access. That's why AT&T has introduced U-Verse: A cable, internet, and a VoIP based telephone package that hopes to suit all your needs.
How Does U-verse Work?
Based on IPTV, an internet protocol television tool, U-verse helps deliver these services to your home without issue. Claiming that they are the only national chain to offer a 100% IP based service, AT&T ensures that your computer, telephone, television and other wireless devices (tablets, cell phones,) work without interruption and allow new and advanced features to be implemented. Working to help deliver the highest quality video, AT&T transmits all necessary information across their two-way IP network to get the customer what they want, when they want it. Expanding across all devices in your home, U-verse works to deliver the content any way you need it.
But now that you know how U-verse works, how do you know which of the available plans is best suited for your needs?
Like every other cable and internet plan, AT&T's U-verse has a variety of packages available to suit your needs and cut out the fluff. Packages such as U-family, U200, U300, and U450 provide an array of options for you to choose from.
Featuring more than 200 channels, the U-family package this plan offers you the variety you need to keep your children's entertainment craving satisfied. Channels such as Animal Planet, Disney Channel, and Nickelodeon will leave them no shortage of things to watch. While there are some lesser known channels such as Jewelry Television, this plan carries some of the major networks. However, one issue with the U-family package is that a large number, (approximately 1/3,) of the 200 channels included with it are music channels. These types of music channels are basically different genres of radio stations that you can play through your TV.
Overall: The U-family package is great for households with children, but a large selection of the channels aren't really channels at all.
Adding 160 more channels than the U-family package, the U200 plan has over 360 channels to help keep you entertained. Adding popular networks such as TNT, USA Network, and even ESPN the U200 package will give you access to more variety than the U-family plan. Additionally, you will receive the "Total Home DVR," upon signing up for this plan to ensure that you will never miss your favorite show again.
Overall: Adding in networks such as Sundance TV, TCM, and BBC America and the added Total Home DVR makes this a better option than the U-family plan if you are able to afford the price point.
While the U200 package features over 360 channels, the U300 ups the ante with over 470 total networks to choose from. Now that most of the major networks were included with the U200, U300 adds a ton of obscure and very specific options to choose from. Some of these options even include networks such as the "Fox Sports Southeast" channel and the "DoSomething" channel. While you might not be enticed by those options, some of the more premium networks such as Showtime and Starz are included in the package without having to pay the typical fee. On top of that, you will receive a Total Home DVR upgrade to give you more space to save your favorite shows.
Overall: The U300 package gives you premium channels for no additional cost, but also gives you a ton of specific or obscure channels to go with it. While the added Total Home DVR is a nice addition, the extra networks may not be worth it for the average consumer.
Touted as "top of the line," the U450 package leaves you wondering what else you could possibly want? Offering over 550 channels, one thing that puts the U450 over all other packages is that the HD versions of all major mainstream networks is included in the price. If you feel that high definition television is a must need for you, then the U450 might just be the package for you. Additionally, the advanced Total Home DVR is included so you don't miss a minute of entertainment.
Overall: While a bit more pricey, the U450 plan will give you everything you need and more when it comes to a television package.
So now that we have discussed the plans and that a variation of the Total Home DVR is included in them, lets delve further in and see what exactly the difference is between the basic and advanced versions.
The Basic and Advanced Total Home DVR
With these cable packages offering such a wide variety of entertainment to choose from, it is tough to have to decide between what to watch. Luckily, with the Total Home DVR system, you will no longer have to choose. With both the basic and advanced versions available in most of the U-verse plans, here is how to decide which one is right for you.
Basic Total Home DVR
Allowing you to watch or record up to four programs at the same time, you will have no shortage of shows to choose from. On top of that the Basic Total Home DVR lets you record up to 65 hours of HD programming or a whopping 233 hours of standard definition entertainment. One drawback of the Basic Total Home DVR is that only two of the four channels being recorded at the same time can be high definition.
Advanced Total Home DVR
So if the basic version of the Total Home DVR allows such a large variety of positives, what else could the advanced version possibly add? For starters, the Advanced Total Home DVR has more space, allowing for more shows to be recorded and saved. Available only when you sign up for the U300 or U450 plans, this DVR allows you to record up to 165 hours of high definition entertainment or a gigantic 460 hours of standard definition content.
However, some convenient features that both versions possess are that they can both be paused and rewind up to five minutes backwards. On top of that, you can move freely from one television to another in your home and pick up the show the exact moment where you left off. Additionally, users will have the option to create a programmable recording schedule.
AT&T U-verse TV Channel Offerings
So with so many channels offered with AT&T U-verse plans, is there anything special in there and is there anything outstanding that is noticeably missing from the line up?
One thing that some users may be happy to see included is the array of international offerings available to check out. Whether it be Chinese news stations to sports channels from South America, U-verse has it all. There is also a large collection of Spanish-speaking channels available in even the most basic plans.
However, sports fans will notice a notable presence missing from AT&T's U-verse. NFL Sunday Ticket is exclusive to DIRECTV and it seems like things will remain that way for a bit despite AT&T and DIRECTV's merger. Yet, don't fear NFL fans, as there are still plenty of options available to you on U-verse. Featuring choices such as the NFL Network and NFL RedZone, there is still great options to get your football fix.
Yet, one thing that you might be missing out on, sports fan or not, is the presence of high definition entertainment. While U-verse touts that they have over 225 channels available in high-def, that number is only attainable if you sign up for the highest tiered plan and the addition of the HD premium tier, (which will cost you an another $7 a month.) For people that are not a big fan of standard definition television, U-verse might not be worth the cost for you.
While the initial costs for U-verse packages are listed as one year promotional prices, they are still a bit high compared to typical package prices of other competitors. This happens due in part to the fact that AT&T is the only company available in some areas. Another reason is due to AT&T wanting to sell you a bundle with television, internet, and telephone while you are also able to just purchase the U-verse standalone TV service. While they may push you to include internet and telephone, it certainly is not required.
But on top of the regular price, there are some additional fees that you might need to account for. For starters, there is a one time activation fee for the U-verse television package, but if you were to discuss it with an AT&T representative, they may give you the option to be waived.
Should you want multiple TV's connected, you will have to pay for an additional receiver, adding another $10 a month to your bill. Should you want to add it to another television or two on top of that, it will also cost you another $10 a month per receiver. It can certainly add up fast.
Lastly, as noted before, the cost of HD will add another $10 a month to your bill, and there is also another $7 a month if you would like to use view sports channels in high definition.
The Verdict: Is AT&T U-verse Good?
So now that we have discussed the different plans, the differences between the basic and advanced DVRs, the positives and negatives of the channel offerings, and the potential cost of additional fees; is AT&T's U-verse worth it for the average consumer?
Overall, while AT&T's U-verse offers a large variety of channels to choose from, the average consumer only really utilizes a few different networks. On top of that, the price point even before the additional fees for multiple receivers might be too high for the average family and you may have better pricing options available to you at other companies.
While AT&T's U-verse certainly isn't a bad plan or idea to sign up for, there are most likely better choices you can find by doing a bit of research.
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