Print 26 comment(s) - last by Wwhat.. on Jul 14 at 12:06 AM

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 sources 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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fiber to the node
By The Boston Dangler on 7/12/2006 12:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
They are using FTTN with twisted pair to the house, as a cost effective alternative to FTTH. AT&T has always been a very cheap company since the break-up, and they're leveraging legacy plant and equipment. AT&T already proved they have no idea how to run a cable company. I think it's a lousy comprimise, with neither the bandwidth of cable nor the fiberliciousness of FIOS.

RE: fiber to the node
By masher2 on 7/12/2006 12:40:00 PM , Rating: 3
> "I think it's a lousy comprimise, with neither the bandwidth of cable nor the fiberliciousness of FIOS...."

Actually, AT&Ts FTTN has, with pair bonding and short loops, slightly more bandwidth than Verizon's FiOS. Hopefully, they'll start offering that as an option to customers shortly.

RE: fiber to the node
By Xponential on 7/12/2006 1:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
But right now, FiOS spanks this service when it comes to bandwidth. For what I pay for my Time Warner RoadRunner now, I could get 15Mbps/2Mbps FiOS internet (if only it were available here). It remains to be seen whether or not AT&T will change anything to be able to compete.

RE: fiber to the node
By Homerboy on 7/13/2006 10:27:52 AM , Rating: 2
yeah but you fail to realize that MOST people don't need more than 1MBs download speed. You can't tell the difference between browsing websites on a 1MB live versus a 10MB line.

Uploads can make a difference for people playing/hosting games, sending video emails, pictures etc. But companies like TW just throw fast dloads rates at them and the masses eat it up.

And don't get me started on the price differences. I will HAPPILY take a cut in my dload speed, bump in my upload speed, get MORE TV services and reduce my monhtly bill by $50+....

I'd sign up in a second if this was avaialble in my area.

RE: fiber to the node
By Wwhat on 7/14/2006 12:06:50 AM , Rating: 2
Perhaps they need to keep speeds low to enable bush's people to read along all your communication.

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