AT&T U-verse IPTV, Internet Service Coming Soon
July 11, 2006 5:56 PM
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A sampling of the Uverse IPTV menu
The AT&T Uverse DVR, which unfortuantely lacks digital outputs
AT&T prepares to one-up broadband and cable TV providers with fiber services
AT&T is planning to roll out
television and internet services through Fiber to the Node
soon to compete with the likes of not only Verizon's FiOS services, but also with satellite and cable TV/Internet providers and DSL providers. The service is a two-part package: the first part is a modem for high speed internet, and the second part is a DVR service for IPTV.
The broadband internet service is a bit subdued, with three tiers: the Express package with a downstream bandwidth up to 1.5Mbps, a Pro package which features 3Mbps down, and the Elite option capable of 6Mbps downlink. All tiers have a 1Mbps upload speed and are each targeted at various types of users. Unfortunately when compared to the 20+ Mbps from FiOS or the experimental markets for 20Mbps Comcast HSI, 6Mbps seems sorely inadequate.
The television service will come packaged with broadband internet and will also come in 3 different packages. The U200+Internet package will start at $69/month and will feature 100+ channels, up to 3 receivers with 1 being a DVR model, 18 digital music channels, and the video-on-demand feature.
The U300+Internet package will feature 150+ channels, up to 3 receivers with 1 DVR, the 18 music channels and video-on-demand, as well as the movie package which contains 30+ premium channels including Starz, Encore, Showtime, The Movie Channel, and FLIX starting at around $89/month.
The top tier, U400+Internet will feature all of the options in the U300 package plus 25+ more channels, 9 HBO channels, 9 Cinemax channels, and the Sports Package which will include various channels with sports programming and will cost customers at least $114/month. An optional fourth receiver can also be added to each package along with a Spanish channel package.
AT&T's IPTV service will utilize a receiver with a built-in DVR from Tatung which will allow 80 hours of recordings on the 80GB hard drive. The service will also support video-on-demand similar to Comcast's On-Demand feature bundled with their cable TV service. However, AT&T claims there will also be options to configure the DVR from the internet, remotely as well as
other neat options (PDF)
that haven't been incorporated into Windows MCE or TiVo yet. Specifically, and perhaps the largest advantage in our opinion, is the ability for the Tatung DVR to broadcast IPTV to other devices on the network -- a feature TiVo and Comcast are working on, but haven't quite perfected yet. Unfortunately, the Tatung DVR is also completely outclassed when it comes to high fidelity outputs. The device has no HDMI or DVI capabilities.
Users will still have the option to add any of the premium programming to the first two tiers but they will, of course, pay a premium price. There is no word of high-definition programming on the official website but
around the internet are saying AT&T will be updating the receivers and services to support high definition programming in the future.
U-verse is starting to roll out in several areas, although the largest test market is currently San Antonio, Texas.
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RE: 25Mb/s node to home link
7/12/2006 3:10:58 AM
This is just great. Your download will start to go slower because somebody upstairs turned on their TV. I realize cable HDTV isn't as good as HD-DVD or Blu-Ray quality, but why? Why can't they just give us a MPEG-4 20Mbps so I don't have to look at artifacting all day?
RE: 25Mb/s node to home link
7/12/2006 3:19:12 AM
Since this will be done on copper wire the artifacting could be caused by other things than the compression, namely when you pick up an old phone hooked up to the dsl line you can sometimes generate artifacting depending upon when the phone was picked up. Also environmental issues could also cause the artifacting: electric fences, power lines, anything with an electric field.
They will most likely set a max bandwidth for you internet and a a max bandwidth for your TV sevice. The key point that the companies that produce this hardware (Alcatel, Allied Telesyn, etc) is reliability, in that when you turn on that STB or pull down a multigigabyte file, you won't notice any performance hits.
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