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Why I am dumping U-Verse and switching to Comcast

Haywood

Well-Known Member
Famous
I've had AT&T U-Verse service for about seven months and this week made the decision to drop it. This was a hard decision because my youngest daughter's very favorite TV channel (Boomerang) is not carried by Comcast. Unfortunately, the drivers behind his move were such that I am going to have to disappoint her.

COST
I am currently paying $151/mo for 12mbps internet, a pretty typical package of basic cable channels (no premiums or special tiers) and a three tuner DVR with two extenders. This pound of flesh includes a $10 fee for the privilege of getting HD programming, which is not the broadcast standard. The huberous involved in that along is enough to make blood shoot out of my eyes. Comcast will run $10-15 less after the promotional period with similar hardware and programming, but the promotional rates will save me $450 over the first year. That is a lot of money.

INTERNET
U-Verse has a router built into their gateway box and there is no way to bypass it. In order to use my much faster dual-band N router, I had to set it up as a subnet. This has been flaky and frustrating with it sometimes taking a machine 30 seconds to a minute to establish an internet connection. With Comcast, I can use my own modem and router. End of problem. Comcast is also somewhat faster and a bit less costly.

PICTURE QUALITY
U-Verse has some of the worst compression artifacts I've seen since the early days of HD on DirecTV. It ranges from acceptable to terrible and there are times when I can see visable macro-blocking. Comcast has a bigger pipeline and I'm betting the picture will be better. I've had Comcast, Cox and Dish in the past. All of them looked better than U-Verse.

CableCARD
Comcast supports CableCARD and will provide the first card at no charge. Additional cards are $2.50/mo each. Silicon Dust is about to release a three tuner box that runs off a single CableCARD. It plugs into the router and makes those tuners available to any PC on the network running appropriate software (i.e. Windows Media Center or MythTV). The tuner box will cost about $200. I can build a decent Windows Media Center box for around $600 and pick up a couple XBox 360s to use as Media Center Extenders for $200 each. In other words, I can dump the $40/month hardware rental forever and recover my investment fully in three years. That is not a bad deal. I also have a lot more flexibility with regards to what I can do with the recorded programming than I would get with a conventional DVR.

BOTTOM LINE
$150/mo for barely acceptable internet bandwidth, highly compressed television programming and a few STBs is simply unacceptable to me. Maybe I was spoiled by high quality HD with an excellent DVR from Dish for half the money, but I just don't see paying $100/mo for advertisment supported television.
 

heeman

Well-Known Member
Famous
Haywood - Best of luck with your new package.

I have DirecTV with 3 tuners (2HD). Only one is used all the time and the others very rarely. I pay about $98 with a $10 Friends and Family discount. We have the Choice Plus package and I added the Palladia, HDNet Package. I also pay the Equipment Protection for $5.99/Month.

For Internet, I have Time Warner for about $65/Month and in my opinion, it SUCKS!!!.

So I am into the same cost range per month as you were.

I don't think that I have any other Internet Solutions other than Time Warner and I am happy with the DirecTV Service. Would love to know about $20 - $30 per month off the bill with similar service.

Just wanted to add my story...........
 

mzpro5

Well-Known Member
Famous
heeman said:
Haywood - Best of luck with your new package.

I have DirecTV with 3 tuners (2HD). Only one is used all the time and the others very rarely. I pay about $98 with a $10 Friends and Family discount. We have the Choice Plus package and I added the Palladia, HDNet Package. I also pay the Equipment Protection for $5.99/Month.

For Internet, I have Time Warner for about $65/Month and in my opinion, it SUCKS!!!.

So I am into the same cost range per month as you were.

I don't think that I have any other Internet Solutions other than Time Warner and I am happy with the DirecTV Service. Would love to know about $20 - $30 per month off the bill with similar service.

Just wanted to add my story...........
I'm in a similar situation (only one tuner though) DTV for television and TW for interwebs. I'll have to say I have been pretty pleased with TW regarding my internet. Dumped a couple things on DTV recently so that bill is about $85 and the TW runs about $55 but the business pays for that.
 

Botch

I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S!
Superstar
Thanks for the posts, its good to read real-world comparisons like this.
 

Deacon

Humble Servant
Haywood thanks for this, I was considering dropping Dish for U-verse based soley on the cost. I had not heard any real world feedback about U-verse and I have been happy with Dish. From what you are saying the quality and convenience lost is not worth the switch at all if the cost is not significantly lower...guess I will stick with Dish.
 

AndySTL

Well-Known Member
I wonder if your proximity to the node has anything to do with your internet speed and pictures issues. I have U-Verse and haven't had any macro blocking issues at all. My internet package is 6 Mbs and I can't complain (I do video streaming and haven't had issues). Maybe I'm lucky that the node is at the end of our street. I think this has a big impact on performance.

I totally agree that the router issue is a pain in the ass. It's a fine device, but I too want wireless N and gigabit wired for my home network. They need to update their RGs to do that or they will begin to lose alot of customers for that reason.
 

-B-

Well-Known Member
lulimet said:
Comcast HD picture is a joke. It's the worst I've seen.
Get FiOS if you can.

I think U-Verse is at&t's version of fios.....I may be wrong.

I loved Verizon's fios when I had it, but didn't get it here based on cost. Now I'm stuck with Dish on this stupid 2 year contract and I despise it. The hardware is horrendous, the boxes are twice as hot as cable and fios units, even the non DVR model. The 120 channel package is junk.

I should have gone cable or fios, and am considering calling dish to see if I had any type of time frame to back out. I just don't see why anyone would like it based on the shoddy hardware alone and the constant drop outs. I can say their customer service is good, but so are Verizon and Comcast in my experience.
 

Dennie

Well-Known Member
I don't have any of these issues! :think:

I cut the cable/Sat. about 3-4 years ago and couldn't be happier. I have an antenna on the roof and I get blazin' HD, but I really don't watch TV, so the News looks fantastic, but that is about all I watch.


Good luck with your change of service and I hope it goes smoothly!


Dennie
 

Yesfan70

I'm famous now bitches! vvvvv
Famous
I'm right the opposite.

I have a 4 room HD/DVR setup, 3MB DSL, and am happy. My costs are about the same as Haywood's, but I am thinking about making the switch to Uverse. Ben just got Uverse recently and I plan on checking his setup out before I make the final decision.

What sucks for me is I can not use an outdoor antenna due to the geography and distance from my local stations. I also only have three options with Internet usage: dial-up (hell no), Charter (overpriced) and AT&T (what I have). So I can either keep what I have or bundle with Uverse, save maybe $20-$30 per month, have faster DL speeds (12 vs 3) and gain an extra 150GB of usage per month. Those things are what's pulling me toward Uverse. Seeing Ben's setup will be the deal breaker for me.
 

Haywood

Well-Known Member
Famous
A few comments to address all the feedback:

Picture quality, channel selection and cost vary wildly from place to place even with the same carrier. Comcast might be stellar in one area and horrendous in another. U-Verse might be the cheap option in one metro, but pricey in another. It is always a local comparison. My apartment has two choices: Comcast or U-Verse. My balcony does not face the right direction for satellite to work well.

I had Dish before I moved here and LOVED it. The picture quality was the best I've ever had, the dual-tuner, dual-zone HD DVR was wonderful and worked very well and the cost was half what I've payed anyone else. If it were available, I'd switch back in a second.

The picture quality on U-Verse is not universally bad. It is very uneven and some of it may be the content providers themselves. I don't know the cause, but I do know it is inferior to what I had with Dish in many instances. My biggest complaint is paying $100 for what amounts to a basic cable package and a DVR. I think that is highway robbery, even if the multi-room functionality is pretty slick.

$65/mo for internet bandwidth that caps out at 12mbps is certainly no deal and the router issues are a huge pain in the neck. I've had to reboot the stack more often than ever since switching to U-Verse because the whole sub-net thing is inherently quirky. I cannot adequately explain how annoying this is or how much it frustrates my technologically less sophisticated wife and daughter.

I think the biggest draw with Comcast is the possibility of using a single multi-tuner CableCARD device and dumping the outrageously overpriced hardware rental fees. $30/mo for the DVR and $9/mo each for additional set-top boxes is hardly a bargain. Will I have to invest some money up front to avoid those fees? Yes. Will it take a few years to break even? Yes. Do I run a risk that the FCC will drop the mandate for CableCARD support? Yes, but not a very big one. My Windows Media Center-based approach I want to pursue should give me an extremely flexible solution for dealing with all of my media anywhere in the house. I can't afford to do it right away, but I've got $30/mo off my TV bill for the entire first year.
 

Haywood

Well-Known Member
Famous
Just to clarify. I don't actually know if the picture quality will be any better with Comcast. I'm just assuming that it won't likely be worse.
 

Haywood

Well-Known Member
Famous
AT&T gets a reprieve for now. They are going to discount my bill by $30/mo for a year and I can probably get that deal indefinitely so long as I call every time it expires. They are fixing the router issue with a new box coming out in September that I will be able to get as a free upgrade. Basically, the new box will have a separate Ethernet connection that bypasses the router and goes straight to the modem, so I can use my N Router without a sub-net. Why they didn't just do that from the beginning is a mystery to me, but whatever. It will be fixed in September.

I've been asking people I know around here about picture quality on Comcast vs U-Verse. There is no general consensus about which one is better. I do know that I'm not off on the tail end of a trunk line though. AT&T has some dedicated infrastructure on-site to support this apartment complex, which is reasonably big. I've also noticed (now that I've been thinking about it more) that the compression issues appear to be channel-specific. That may not be an AT&T problem.

Part of me still wants to switch off over U-Verse, but the killer was losing Boomerang and making my little girl cry. A lot. For days. I don't have the money to implement my STB replacement plan and probably won't for at least another year. In the meanwhile, she will soon reach an age where she moves on to other programming and loses interest in Boomerang. At least in the interim, my bill will only be $20 higher than when I had Cox Cable internet and Dish TV service.
 

AndySTL

Well-Known Member
Haywood said:
They are fixing the router issue with a new box coming out in September that I will be able to get as a free upgrade. Basically, the new box will have a separate Ethernet connection that bypasses the router and goes straight to the modem, so I can use my N Router without a sub-net. Why they didn't just do that from the beginning is a mystery to me, but whatever. It will be fixed in September.
This is awesome! Do you know any details about the hardware they are switching to? Will there basically be two routers, one for TV IP traffic and one that you supply with your own router?
 

Haywood

Well-Known Member
Famous
AndySTL said:
Haywood said:
They are fixing the router issue with a new box coming out in September that I will be able to get as a free upgrade. Basically, the new box will have a separate Ethernet connection that bypasses the router and goes straight to the modem, so I can use my N Router without a sub-net. Why they didn't just do that from the beginning is a mystery to me, but whatever. It will be fixed in September.
This is awesome! Do you know any details about the hardware they are switching to? Will there basically be two routers, one for TV IP traffic and one that you supply with your own router?
That is my understanding based on what they told me on the phone. Other than cost, this has been my number one complaint with U-Verse. If the new box fixes this and they continue to extend the $30 discount, I'll be less inclined to jump ship.
 

Yesfan70

I'm famous now bitches! vvvvv
Famous
Haywood said:
...........I've been asking people I know around here about picture quality on Comcast vs U-Verse. There is no general consensus about which one is better. I do know that I'm not off on the tail end of a trunk line though..............


This is what worries me. My neighborhood looks to be last on the list for Uverse availability, so I'm guessing that means I might be on the tail-end of the trunk line if I go with them.
 
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