Review: AT&T U-VERSE

toto

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 29, 2003
860
1
this is from uverseusers.com site

Picture Quality-Bitrate-Compression
UverseUsers.com - Home

Ok, ran a few things and still crunching it all in my head. But I've become a sort of videophile lately and have run a few things concerning HD quality.

First off U-Verse, from what I've been told, runs H.264 (AVC) for it's compression standard. I pulled a few bitrates from BD-ROM info I had culled from the net to draw a comparison.

The top overall quality encoded movies in BD-ROM using AVC are:

X-Men: The Last Stand - 27.5 Mb/s
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen - 23.4 Mb/s
The Descent - 28.9 Mb/s
Eight Below - 23.3 Mb/s

These are all encoded in 1080p True HD with PCM 5.1 or DTS-HD. They are considered near flawless in terms of quality.

I finally found a decent argument for the bitrate differences. 720p uncompressed HD clocks in at roughly 1.3Gb/s while 1080p is roughly 2.98Gb/s.

Assuming a fairly even ratio across the compression you're left with roughly 44% the size.

That leaves a 720p image in high quality HD with those films listed above in a range of 10.2 to 12.7 Mb/s. If you want to go with 1080i the bitrate is half of 1080p so you're left with 11.6 to 14.4Mb/s.

Currently AT&T, I believe, encodes their video in HD to be under 10Mb/s

From what I gather if they switched to VC-1 they'd have reference level picture quality. As is they're pretty darn high still. And since VC-1 is Microsoft's codec and MS is making AT&T's IPTV software, well, here's to hope.

I can't get the service yet so I have no clue how the real world application of picture quality is but it gives me hope that it'll be as good as I hope.


Feel free to discuss and point out holes, I look forward to it.
Doesn't AVCHD have a much more efficient compression rate, as it isn't lineal? I thought you could reduce Mbs by 1/2 to 2/3 with comparable results to MPEG2. If memory serves the highest on AVCHD is about 9 to 17Mbs on a consumer 1920/1080i video camera and Sat/telephone efficiency was at least as good, but probably better.:D
 

IcEWoLF

SatelliteGuys Master
Lifetime Supporter
Dec 31, 2006
10,939
9,241
Nevada
Did I mention the account U-Verse page is the crappiest billing page ever?>
Slow/stupid and just sad.
 

juljen

New Member
May 31, 2009
2
0
Dallas TX
I have a billing question. On my Time Warner Cable bill I have taxes and fees that include: monthly Receiver/Remote fee, Franchise Fee, 2 separate sales taxes, and a FCC User Fee adding up to an extra 15$ a month. I don't want to switch to U-Verse if I'm gonna end up paying a lot more per month because I didn't read the fine print.

Does anyone have a copy of their billing statement I can look at? Just so I know what to expect? Preferably one that just has the TV (U200) and Internet, cause that's what I want to get, but anyone who can help please do.

Thank you!
 

juljen

New Member
May 31, 2009
2
0
Dallas TX
Oh yeah, and please black out any sensitive information concerning your account... or better yet just post the fees etc. That way no one can steal your identity. I didn't think of that. :)
 

daverp

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 28, 2005
61
0
Oh yeah, and please black out any sensitive information concerning your account... or better yet just post the fees etc. That way no one can steal your identity. I didn't think of that. :)
Below are the taxes and surcharges on my bill.

Surcharges
Description Amount
16. IL Local Video Service Franchise Fee 5.09
17. IL Local Video Facilities Fee 1.02
Total Surcharges 6.11
 

technikal

SatelliteGuys Family
Nov 18, 2006
38
0
I've had it for about 2 months. My quick review:

The Good:
- Nice channel selection
- Internet and TV service has been stable
- Price is reasonable
- Two HD streams, up to 4 total streams
- Picture quality on broadcast TV is good (to me, anyway)
- Set-top box is small and quiet


The Bad:
- DVR isn't as nice as Tivo or Dish 622:
- 30 Second 'slide' instead of real skip
- No 'wishlists' recordings
- No ability to limit number of episodes to keep
- Fast Forward is either too slow or too fast, and the 'skip back' is too long
- Only 2 HD streams (only 1 TV for me, so no big reduction from what I had on Dish - but still a limitation)
- VOD quality is really bad. Lots of interlacing showing up when watching SD content. My Roku Netflix box is infinitely superior to UVerse VOD.
- Remote ergonomics is bad. I still press the wrong button

Dish 622 is better, but I'll be sticking with UVerse for now.
 

beachrider

SatelliteGuys Family
Jun 7, 2009
93
0
Milford, CT
I would love to get Uverse. They have been available '200 yards down the road' for years now. I agree that their channel selection is great and their costs are better than Cablevision. I have lost patience that they will go the final 200 yards. I will dig-in with Cablevision and complement it with OTA for the next two years.
 

fsds

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 22, 2005
112
1
Folsom CA
Overnight U-verse Phase 2 update, you can now setup and record from any receiver in the home, also improved Guide, U-verse continues to grow. Glad I stayed with them will never go back to DirecTV.
 
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cwbuckley

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 13, 2006
152
0
EL Paso
I am considering switching from D* to U-verse. What I would like to know is how does the HD quality compare to D*. Thanks
 

rad

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 7, 2003
10,030
3,356
Dripping Springs, TX
I am considering switching from D* to U-verse. What I would like to know is how does the HD quality compare to D*. Thanks
I recommend you find an AT&T store that shows U-Verse live and see for yourself. Theres one by me that has U-Verse and DirecTV side by side and to me U-Verse doesn't look good. When I was watching too many short pauses in the video and occasional macroblocking which I didn't see on the DirecTV feed.
 

KAB

SatelliteGuys Master
Pub Member / Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 20, 2005
20,413
3,732
Indy
I recommend you find an AT&T store that shows U-Verse live and see for yourself. Theres one by me that has U-Verse and DirecTV side by side and to me U-Verse doesn't look good. When I was watching too many short pauses in the video and occasional macroblocking which I didn't see on the DirecTV feed.
Unfortunately, that will not tell the tale. A lot depends on the wire, distance to hub. Of course the store will look good. I have not read of very many people who have been happy once installed in their homes, especially those coming from Sat.
 

fsds

SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 22, 2005
112
1
Folsom CA
I am considering switching from D* to U-verse. What I would like to know is how does the HD quality compare to D*. Thanks
At first I was a bit disappointed however now I would say equal or even better HD quality,compared to DirecTV. U-verse SD is excellent compared to DirecTV. I would now like to see additional HD streams and I will be totally satisfied. I have not had any problems other than one day I was down and the problem was immediately fixed. Coming from sat to IPTV I will never go back to sat and I had it for many years. Voom was the best Sat HD that I had. Compare true HD programing to true HD programming that is the bottom line. hope this helps
 

rad

Supporting Founder
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Sep 7, 2003
10,030
3,356
Dripping Springs, TX
Unfortunately, that will not tell the tale. A lot depends on the wire, distance to hub. Of course the store will look good. I have not read of very many people who have been happy once installed in their homes, especially those coming from Sat.
That's true, but if you're not happy with what should be their 'best' setup for demo then you won't be happy at home.
 

Lkr

SatelliteGuys Pro
Apr 19, 2008
1,792
0
What is the max amount of streams I can get for HD? I have 3 HDTVs and one needs an HD DVR
 

Bulldog

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jan 22, 2004
546
0
U-verse Voice Service Questions

Anyone using U-verse voice together with their TV service?

Would like to get comments pertaining to your usage; positive and negative on the service. Also installation problems and service uptime.
 

daverp

SatelliteGuys Family
Apr 28, 2005
61
0
What is the max amount of streams I can get for HD? I have 3 HDTVs and one needs an HD DVR
Uverse is different than other services. Your house gets 2 hd and 2 sd streams. You can use these on any number of boxes you choose. (hd streams can be used as SD, so you could view 4 sd streams and no hd streams)

A house can have one DVR and the remaining boxes are salve boxes off the master dvr. Slave boxes can watch, schedule, and delete recording but can't time shift.
 

mattopia

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 3, 2005
409
33
Parma, OH
Thought I'd throw my 2 cents in here, it's been awhile since I've visited SatGuys.

I've been with D* for about a year and a half. While I wasn't super disappointed, I was on about a 3-month problem cycle. In other words every 3 months they came out to replace something. I went through 3 LNB's - they must have terrible QC on those.

Anyway, my HR-20's hard drive bit the dust a week ago, and I had an infuriating call with D* in which they walked me through removing batteries from my remote. This irritation caused me to look up what uverse offers existed. I was able to get $300 cash back by talking to their livechat.

Anyway, I have both active at the moment and I can say a few things:

1) I completely agree with technikal's brief review. I don't like the way skip works, their remote stinks (but I use a Harmony), and their VOD stuff is both low quality and a poor selection.

2) Objectively I think Uverse HD quality is better. No I haven't run any tests. However I've watched the lovely ladies on HDNet and a few programs on HD Theater, and I'm impressed. I've always felt D*'s picture was a little soft.

3) The 6mb Uverse package is performing better with standard web browsing than the 9mb Cox package I was on. Although it's less bandwidth, latency seems far, far better - it feels like I"m on broadband again, no more waiting 10-15 seconds for a page to load.

4) Apparently phase 2 rolled out the day I got my installation. The installer was briefly confused when the box he just hooked up said downloading update. Then he said something like "Oh, phase 2 must be out now". Apparently they've been waiting for it for awhile and didn't know it was coming. I'm not familiar with how it worked before, but the menus and guide are decent. It's no TiVo but I've come to accept the fact that nothing will be.

I haven't canceled D* yet. I'm waiting a week or two to make sure everything keeps working well. But, so far I'm pretty impressed. I always hate changing providers and learning something new, but so far it seems like it was a good move.
 

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