Apr 092013
 

att directv showdown2

My Directv Experience:

I have been a Directv customer for over 15 years, except for a couple of short periods when I strayed to Dish and U Verse. Each time I came back to Directv because of the superior picture quality and relatively easy and intuitive DVR.

I started with Directv in the mid 90’s when they agreed to make combination boxes with Tivo, the best DVR service to this day. Their relationship since around 2006 has been on again, off again but for the most part, off. For various technological reasons that I won’t get into here, Directv then began producing their own version of an HD DVR receiver, which I’ve also had, that was not as intuitive as Tivo but did exhibit some of Tivo’s features. For you geeks who love technology history, check out Tivopedia where you can soak up everything you ever wanted to know about the Directv-Tivo relationship. It’s truly some fascinating reading.

At any rate, because satellite providers do not have to compress their signal to fit fiber optic or cable wiring, the picture is truly stunning compared to non-satellite providers. Because of this, I have been willing in the past to pay a little extra for the superb picture quality.

Enter the recession. Like many other Americans, in the face of rising grocery, gas and other commodities costs, I am looking more closely at what I’m spending on “non-essentials” such as tv. Many are either cutting back or cutting the cord completely. I looked at my directv and cable internet bill and was astonished that I was paying an eye-popping $220.00/month!

One of the benefits of the wired providers is that they can bundle internet and tv which is a huge cost savings to paying separately for each of those services. I started looking into that.

Along Comes U-Verse:

I don’t know about you but I have been bombarded with ads for U-Verse for months. Everywhere I turn, there is a U Verse ad promising 100’s of channels, high speed internet, housecleaning and yard work for a mere $54.95/month (I’m kidding about the housekeeping and yard work but one wonders with how competitive these providers are if they wouldn’t throw that in as well). After reviewing my finances, I thought I would give them a call.

They offered a package which included all of the channels I record, including HBO and Showtime and 18 mbs high speed internet (mine was only 10) for $129.00/month, almost $100.00 cheaper than my current setup, including taxes and fees. Why not? Within days, the professional installer (an actual AT&T employee, unlike other providers who use third party vendors) showed up at my door and within 2 hours, I had tv and internet.

Picture Quality:

What struck me right away was the degradation in picture quality compared to satellite, as exhibited by the fairly obvious pixilation, especially in fast motion video. Again, this is due to the compression of the signal through the wire. I was aware of this possibility because two years ago, I tried U Verse when it was first rolled out in my area and experienced the same phenomenon, albeit to a much greater extent. My installer this time replaced my coax cables with dedicated cat 5 lines which I believe improved my experience this time. Still, the quality is not as good as satellite but it is not bad. Those who are not used to the uncompressed satellite signal will not notice and will likely find it very appealing. Although I am accustomed to the superior quality from satellite, it’s very watchable, especially for the savings.

Sound Quality:

My system is set up using HMDI cables exclusively, running all of the components through my surround sound Sony DA3600ES receiver. I have noticed no difference in sound quality from the satellite receiver.

Prior to this installation, I had no problems with my setup. Within two days, I noticed the sound cutting out and the Sony receiver going into “protection mode” then shutting down. I researched the issue and discovered there is a problem with the handshake in the HDMI cables between the AT&T receiver and Sony televisions. I have a Samsung tv (PN51E550 for you geeks, a very nice set for the money) so I thought, no problem.

Still, my curiosity was piqued. so I went ahead and read through the myriads of posts on the various forums that have been dedicated to this topic for several years. Apparently, this conflict has not been resolved which is absolutely ridiculous. You should be able to get the service without any conflict with your existing equipment. If AT&T cannot resolve it, they should advise their prospective customers of this issue prior to installation. I am amazed at the number of AT&T customers who accept having to shut everything down, switch cables, restart their devices in a specified order, or whatever other technological gymnastics they do just to watch tv. Google this stuff, it’s amazing. This is shades of getting up to turn the antenna to tune in to one of the three over the air channels that were available before cable. Those of you over 45 know what I’m talking about. But I digress.

My problem apparently didn’t have anything to do with that. I checked my speaker wires to make sure they were not loose or exposed and tightened up my wire in the banana plug system that I use. I have not had a problem for the past several days. Problem solved.

The HDMI Problem:

I thought I dodged the bullet and could keep the service, until the next morning. I was watching the tv when the picture froze and nothing worked with the remote control. Could this be the Sony/AT&T HDMI problem I read about? I rebooted the receiver and it came back on. I then called tech support.

Tech support said they would send a technician to look at the problem. I told her that I was aware of the handshake HDMI problem and asked her if there was a fix for it anytime soon. She said the technician could look at it and let me know. She warned that if the technician came out and had to resolve an issue other than the AT&T equipment, there would be a $99.00 charge. Apparently, AT&T’s position is that if their equipment is not compatible with yours, then you would be responsible for that service call. Thankfully, the technician called me to discuss the problem prior to his arrival.

I told him what I found online and what happened in my instance. He admitted that there are problems with Sony Bravia products (I don’t have this) and there doesn’t appear to be a fix in the near future. He provided a work around (connect the video via composite cable from receiver to tv and an optical cable from receiver to Sony receiver for sound) that he uses in his setup. He did not come out, saving me the service call. I tried his fix and found a very noticeable degradation in video quality between the HDMI cable and component cable. I cannot use this setup.

So far, over the past several days, there have been no issues. It appears that the HDMI handshake issue is not affected by Sony receivers, or at least the one that I have.

The Bottom Line:

Here is my twist on the various factors that I believe many of you will consider when trying to decide between the two companies:

  1. Cost – clearly ATT is the winner here. The biggest reason is the fact that Directv doesn’t provide internet service (they do provide satellite internet but it is inferior to any cable or DSL and very expensive. This is offered primarily for those who live in rural areas and don’t have access to wired internet service) and AT&T can bundle their internet service with the tv service. Overall, I was able to save nearly $100.00/month over the Directv and Brighthouse cable internet. Winner – AT&T
  2. Video and Sound Quality – The cheaper service does come at a cost in video quality. As I stated earlier, because satellite providers do not have to compress their video signal and fiber optics do, satellite is the winner here. Concerning the sound quality, I did not notice any measurable difference between the two services. Winner – DIRECTV
  3. Setup – I had whole home DVR with Directv which required another box that took another port from my router and an additional outlet which with all of my equipment, is in rare supply. This made my already mangled wires and various outlets worse than ever. AT&T doesn’t require the extra equipment because they provide their own box which also doubles as a router, eliminating my own router. So with AT&T’s setup, I am down 2 devices which took up precious outlets and resulting in much less wire clutter. That said, once you are setup with Directv, this is not noticeable unless you have to get behind that tv and futz with things. This happens only occasionally. Winner – AT&T
  4. DVR – So, the real issue from a day to day standpoint is, which DVR works better? First, because Directv utilized the extra wireless box connected to the additional DVR’s requiring communication with yet another devcie, there was a very noticeable lag when trying to use the DVR features (FF, rewind, accessing your recordings, etc.). I immediately noticed how much more responsive AT&T’s DVR was which is very refreshing. I also found AT&T’s dropdown menu more intuitive making the settings for live tv, recordings, on demand video, etc. much easier to find. Winner – AT&T
  5. On Demand – one of the biggest disappointments with AT&T was the fact that their On Demand programming is not in HD. This could be a huge drawback for those who rely heavily on this service. The upside to this is it is available instantly. With Directv, you have to download the programs to your DVR before you can watch them but once they are available, they are in high definition. Winner – DIRECTV
  6. Additional Features – I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of the additional features these service providers are cramming into their systems. It seems everyone (“smart” tv’s, DVD players, receivers) is trying to be all things to all people. I’m referring to the apps that link you to your facebook and twitter accounts, the weather app, news apps, etc. I find them very slow cumbersome and once you get them set up, just not worth it. Seriously, how many devices do you need to get on facebook? I can hear it now, if my TV could talk (that’s coming, I’m sure) “I’m a television, not a computer, Jim.” Talk about multitasking. However, one app that I LOVED and am going to miss is Pandora. It was very nice to sign into my account and have all of my stations right there on my home theater if I ever wanted to listen to music. I’m going to miss that. AT&T appears to be more feature rich but I haven’t really tried any of them and doubt I will. Winner – For me, this is a TIE, you might think differently.
  7. Personnel – Directv has contracts with local vendors who do their installations. I’ve had them come to my house several times over the years and it’s really hit or miss. Sometimes you have clean-cut true professionals who know their shit, other times you have guys who look like they were pulled from the local work fair that morning. With AT&T, all of the installers are employees of AT&T and have a pretty good handle on how their system works. My last installer was an electrical engineer with 30 years experience. Because of the economy (that’s another discussion), he was looking for a company with upward mobility. He was not only qualified but over qualified. Unfortunately for him, he is going nowhere within his unit. This was a plus for me, an obvious loser for him. Winner – AT&T
  8. Programming – This is very subjective and every provider has their tiered packages depending on what your viewing habits are. I would recommend checking their websites and seeing what they are. As far as premium channels like HBO and Showtime, they all hook you with special deals for limited times but once you’re time is up, the prices are basically the same. If you are a sports fan, Directv is the winner. They have more overall sports programming and the coveted NFL Sunday Ticket until 2015, as of this writing. This is a huge factor for some, not so much for me although I do love NFL. This is truly personal preference so it’s hard to declare a winner here. Winner – DIRECTV but only if you are a sports fan.

I’m sure there is a lot more I can cover but I’m already going long on this post. As you can see, which service you choose will depend on your priorities. If you want superior picture quality and don’t mind paying for it, Directv is the clear winner for you. If you are looking for a relatively low cost alternative, then AT&T is the way to go. Being more cost conscious as of late, I’m sticking with AT&T, as long as the HDMI debacle doesn’t rear its ugly head.

I would love to hear all of your comments. If you have a different opinion or if there was something I missed in my analysis, please, please let us all know. I want this to be a place to share our ideas and opinions on these things. Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

  81 Responses to “AT&T U Verse v. Directv”

  1. I’ve been a Directv customer since 2005. I just had Uverse installed this week. So far, my experience has been GREAT. I really can’t tell a difference at all in picture quality, and I’m typically a picture snob. The Uverse picture looks very nice. We’ll see when football season rolls around, but for general TV watching it appears to be perfect HD (all my TVs are 1080). Also, the DVR is so much faster than my Directv DVRs…guide navigation and fastforward/rewind are instantaneous. I’m still exploring, but it doesn’t to seem to have as much of an on-demand selection, but I’m not too concerned about that. I’m in a wait-and-see mode, but so far so good.

    • Oh, and btw, so far our On Demand has been HD. I watched the Office finale in HD via OnDemand last night. Perhaps things have changed?

      • Interesting. I need to check this out again. Did you download the programs or are they streamed? I have not seen any On Demand programming in HD but admittedly haven’t tried this recently. Thanks for the comment!

    • At&t is great until one year after they’ve pulled you in. You’re costs are going to rise 60% after the honeymoon and first year of marriage.

      • so true. I’ve paid $ 106.00 for TV and Internet and it’s 129.00 now. I’m done with AT&T !

        • I loved Uverse but the prices are completely out of control now. For the top-tier TV package, phone and internet it was almost $300 monthly after taxes!! They didn’t want to give me any kind of break after having the service for the last 4 years so I’m in the process of dumping them. Magicjack ~$3/month works just fine for my voice service (telemarketers are really all that call that number anyway). For Internet, I went with Comcast Business class (~$109/month) with a 4 hour service level agreement if there’s any sort of disruption. For TV, I went with a nice ~$77 monthly deal @ Directv…they are supposed to be here within the next hour or so according to my appointment.

      • After AT&T reels you in the cost does go up approximately 60 to 70%. Every week for the last six months my Cable would freeze and then I would get a message “no signal”. All my TV’s are Samsung top of the line and this still occurs. AT&T to me no longer care about quality service but monetary quantity. Each time I complained, my bill kept going up. If you examine your bill like I did this last time, there are so many different type fees. I don’t know if all these fees are legal???

  2. Thank you do much for this post. I’ve been with Directv for 16 or so years. I have the old DTV with TiVo boxes and they are finally going belly up. I’ve been struggling with the decision to switch to uverse and save $$ or reach deep for the new DTV w/ TiVo DVRs $$$$. You have made my decision a much easier one.

    • I am so glad to hear it. Now that I’ve had Uverse for over 7 months, I still like it, especially for the cost but definitely miss the picture quality of Directv. Sorry your Tivo boxes are dying, that is a real shame; those were absolutely the best DVR’s ever in my opinion.

      • Do you have u300 with HD? Or u450?

        • I have been with u-verse now for over 4 months. I had heard bad things but so far I am loving it. Have the 450 plan just don’t like going through those unwanted chanels standard and HD. Picture not as good as Direvtv but customer has been great. Let you know in about 6 months if I stay. I hear renewal is when they really get you.

          • Actually I just went through the renewal process. I was lucky enough to talk to the rep at the ATT store and he told me to call customer service on the exact day my promo rates expired and ask for continuing promo rates. I renewed for exactly the same rate as I was getting. It’s good for another year and I can call again for additional promo rates. Great deal!

  3. I’m still lost. Have been a Time Warner customer for over 20 years, which means that all of the outdoor wiring is over 20 years old. They can’t/refuse to lower their costs. I need internet with a decent speed and cable/satellite with the best picture, fewest problems. Have TiVo, but am willing to switch if the DVRs don’t drop programs like they used to. Bottom line, which is best for me?

    • About the lines, ATT did replace the lines with new when they did the most recent install. You might get them to do that for you too. A lot of the picture quality depends on how far you are from their “central box” or “node” or whatever they call it. The weird thing is, I was actually too close and was losing internet speed because of it. A tech came out and fixed that too.

  4. I’m not sure what special offers AT&T gives to new customers, but I’ve been with AT&T for 6 years and my bill is outrageous for cable. Directtv got me on a promotional offer to save half of what I’m spending with uverse. My biggest concern is reception in rain. Can anyone tell how bad that can be?

    • I have not had good luck in the rain. I live in Austin so we don’t get it very often but when we do it is a downpour and my receiver stops receiving. I just called to cancel and they said that should not happen and they would send a tech out for free considering I said I wanted to cancel my service. From what I have had heard all the sports bars carry direct tv and I have never seen their tv out. Mine might just need tweaking.

      • Directs new recvrs are much lighter,like all evolving electronics… cheaper, They do require the signal stregnth to be close to 100 however and formerly 70 was okay–that was because the older recievers would actually operaqte with the degraded signal–these new ones wont..Direct tv is just too much money once you add the hd,the extra recvrs,etc..I just tried to negotiate a “new customer promo” discount,but no, I am a 10 yr. customer, and we ,…get to pay thru the nose…..even tried to get me to agree to a higher monthly bill when I called to ask them for a reduction….I am ready to try U-verse. I am just not able to afford this sexual contact Directv insists on having with my bank account!.,

      • I have been with Directv for a long time, weather has always been a factor for me but I have just lived with it. So are you telling me there is something they (Directv) can do to help this problem? I am looking at At&T U-verse but it sounds like either way you go it will be big bucks after the first year. We are buying this service by the millions so why wont they cahrge big bucks as long as the demand is there?

        • I have had direct TV for years they nickel and dime you for everything. I needed to upgrade my receivers they put me on a 2yr contract, I needed direct TV to move my dish from the roof to a pod it was 50bucks for the just to move the dish plus charge me monthly for the pod plus a fee for installing the pod. There has been a few times where they had to come out due to weather, and no connection of signal . my bill has always been high I’m paying close to 160 a month and that without internet, and I do not have the top of the line tier either. At&t did offer me more channels but my concern is am I going to be satisfied with the sports channels. I dose of basketball just about daily right now and I’m satisfied, will I get the same satisfaction with at&t.

  5. Direct tv is better

  6. i have directv, i’ve switched to to uverse. the installer is coming this monday.

    • What are your impressions of ATT as compared to Uverse? I would love to hear your comments.

      • I have Uverse and have a HDMI problem with my Samsung HD TV in the kitchen. I have to unplug the HDMI cable every time I turn on the TV…are you kidding me? Also, Uverse has these big remote wireless boxes at each TV other than where the DVR is located. So now instead of my TV in the kitchen having an unseen cable attached to the back it has wires running up the wall from the wireless box. Terrible installation on ATT part. I’ve had a tech out twice and one even admitted the HDMI had a problem with the Cisco wireless boxes. I have an install with DirecTV this Thursday. We’ll see what happens.

        • Scheduled DirecTV for an install. Tech came out and said I have RJ-59 wire and need RJ-6 for DirecTV to work. The install was supposed to be free, however he now wants $50 per cable to install and can’t guarantee he can pull it through the walls, etc. I cancelled the install and am staying with ATT for now, but may consider DirecTV when they get their wireless perfected.

          The only other thing I don’t like about DirecTV is they partner with other companies for Internet connectivity. The install Tech couldn’t tell me anything about how that works. He said I’d keep ATT for Internet and billing would sort it out. Hmmm…done that before!! I’ll stick with ATT for now.

  7. Bang for the buck ATT is the winner! I have been with Direct TV for over 10 years and felt I was getting robbed on my bill of $93.00 per month for basic TV and Stars movies most of which were old and not worth watching. Now I pay $120.00/month for uverse bundle and I’m saving over $100.00 a month. Presently very happy with picture, sound, internet, and phone service. Installer was clean, professional and did an outstanding job. Highly recommend!

    • Agreed! I am at about 120/month and have their 300 channel lineup which comes with Showtime (love Homeland). I do not have phone service though. It was really a good move financially for me.

    • I’m canceling AT&T today. I’m paying $ 129.00 for basic TV (Fox and Sundance) plus Internet. No phone or cell phone. I had Direct TV and was very happy with them and AT&T sucked me in.

  8. I have been a direct TV customer for 15 years switched to ATT , now going back to direct TV. When recording you cant just pick a future date and look it up on the guide to see what is on at that particular day and time.The channels are all over the place.Lets say you’re watching live TV,you switch to your recorded program then switch back over to live, On Direct TV it stays on that channel and you can even rewind to see what you missed. ATT does not do that. It takes you to channel 0001 which you don’t even watch. I’m going back to direct TV..

    • That is an excellent point. The lack of that go back feature is truly an annoyance. Sorry that was a deal breaker for you. I do think overall, the interface of the dvd section is more intuitive on ATT with many different ways to get to the same thing. It is also more responsive as I stated in my article. Enjoy your NFL Sunday Ticket if you subscribe. I do miss that.

  9. We’ve been with U-Verse for over two years now and have no problems with their product…except for slow internet. However, when your promotional period is over, your bill will increase exponentially. I’ve called several times asking for a new promotion, but when your an existing customer, the best they’ll offer is a reduced package for more than you were paying during your promotional period. Paying more for less makes no sense to me. Plus, They don’t seem at all concerned with losing your business.

    • I wondered about that. My contract is up with them in March. I agree with you on the internet, I think ATT is slow even though I am posting speeds upwards of 16 mbs. I wonder if they throttle their data which would cause a problem. Before I made this switch, I was with Bright House in Orlando and love them. I never had any problems with the service or the technicians when needed in the rare instance. When my contract is up, I might forgo tv altogether and just go back with internet and stream everything. I will post about that experience if and when that happens.

  10. I was told by a rep at AT&T that Directv and U-verse are partners, or they have some type of arrangement with Directv that had to do with the U-verse television service they offer? I’m not really sure what he meant by that. Any ideas?

    • I’m not sure what they are partners in. It’s interesting though if they are since they are in serious competition for business from each other or at least seem to be. Maybe that is a ruse to get you to stay away from Dish. Haha.

      • I currently have DTV and am contemplating moving to UVerse, but to answer the question above, yes, DTV and ATT do have an agreement in place, I currently have ATT UVerse for my internet and it is “bundled” with my DTV service, saving a WHOPPING $5 per month with that “bundle”. But they’re not partners in the truest sense, as my wife just got done chatting with them regarding a billing error and they are trying to coax her to switch fully to UVerse, so, I’ll research and we’ll see how it goes.

    • I was told the same thing DFos. I didn’t look into it any deeper. Thinking of going to AT&T U-verse but after reading some of the comments I am not sure.

      • Within the first day of having U-verse I knew I couldn’t watch it all the time. Fast motion blurred and everything appeared to have jagged edges, like a pixelated photo. The installer did tell me I’m so far away from the vrad he was surprised it worked at all. We also ran into the issue of it only having 4 streams, someone was always getting kicked off because one of the kids forgot to turn off a receiver. Ended up keeping U-verse on the kids TV’s and back to DirecTv on main TV’s.

  11. I currently pay $40.00 for TWC Road Runner High Speed Internet and $60.00 for Direct TV Choice package. That seems cheaper and better than ATT’s U Verse bundle price. TWC Internet is as fast as u can get IMO and Direct TV offers best picture quality.

  12. I have uverse and it has a built in flaw that drives me and my family insane.
    Heres the deal.You get 4 paths to use. These are standard channels. If you elect to watch an hd channel then you use up 2 of your allocated paths.One of your other tvs is going to stop working
    You get a message’ all services in use ‘ Same thing if you record a show in hd. so if you want to record a show and watch a differnt show. Nobody else in your house is watching tv now this makes your family very angry.alast they have an out they can choose to knock you tv off line.
    and you end up playing wack a mole until somebody gives up and chooses to read a book.
    At@t could care less as i have called them many times. They always act surprized and i know they are lying. Its all about band width police. I have 5 tvs on their service so this insanity goes on every day. NOBODY BUT MY SON GETS TV ON GAME DAY.
    I am leaving At@t Uverse this week
    I dont know why no one else mentions this.Now thats the cats out of the bag I hope some one else speaks out

    • Thank you very much for that informative comment. I wouldn’t know about that because I only have 2 tv’s in my house and have a roommate. Rarely are we not watching the different tv’s at the same time but that really wouldn’t matter since I only have 2. That would definitely be a deal breaker for anyone with a large family who like to watch different programs simultaneously. Thanks again for letting us know.

    • Can you explain this problem for me in a different way? Do you have a reciever on every single TV? We have 5 TV’s as well and they said we had to have a reciever for each TV in order for everyone to watch a different live show from everyone else.

  13. Does anyone know what the cancellation fee for DTV is??? $480 on a typical 2 year contract. Finally endured paying top $ for DTV as I could not cancel. DTV/ ATT bundle has finally ended and now I have a technician coming on Monday to set me up fully on U-verse.

    • DTV cancellation fee is $20/month for your remaining months. I live in Florida and also loose signal every single time it rains. U verse is giving me $200.00 in gift cards, which wouldn’t cover the 20 months I have left. I called and complained about my lack of service and they are waiving the $400.00 cancellation fee. Plus I get the $200.00 in gift cards, can be used to pay my ATT wireless bill. I hope the service works out. Im a little worried about the comment about the dark picture, I also have a 65 inch Panosonic Plasma.

      • I hope you get the $200.00 gift card. I was promised that four years ago and after I had disconnected DirecTV and U-Verse was finally installed, the gift card was a no show.

  14. Regarding Att U-Verse On Demand picture quality,

    You wrote it’s SD, nope, it’s HD, but Lordy, dark scenes (otherwise quite viewable on my 65″ Panny plasma) are all but unwatchable. I don’t know the correct technical term to describe it, but it manifests itself as some type of clouding, like a veil over the scene. We’re watching Zero Dark Thirty as I type, and it’s not even the final act that’s played out in almost complete darkness I’m complaining about. It’s earlier scenes that happen in a darkened environment. Just awful. Overall, after 2.5 years (DIS former provider) I’m kinda middle of the road regarding ATT U-Verse. Some good things, some bad (On Demand quality, sudden picture freezing with rebooting necessary to clear it up).

    • I agree, there is no one perfect service to fit everyone’s needs which is why my comments include what I would consider important considerations in choosing a provider. I am pleased with everyone’s responses and hope those coupled with my article have made the decision between these two easier. I too am really middle of the road with ATT but the cost really is the important factor to me, only from the standpoint of are the annoyances/picture quality really worth bumping back up to Directv. For me saving over 100/month is worth it. It’s all a matter of personal preference and budget.

  15. WOW, when I posted this blog, I had no idea I would get such great intelligent responses to my article. I must admit, I have been remiss in following the posts or posting anything new. But with this great community, I will keep the articles coming. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. These should help those struggling with this to make a more informed decision.

  16. My DTV contract is up next month, and my Fam can’t wait! When the wind blows, or A rain drop falls, we loose signal. It sucks. I will give them a call and give them the opportunity to rectify.

  17. Sitting here reading this, and have reconsidered canceling DTV. Was ready to switch to Uverse, but will stay for now.

  18. I called att yesterday to inquire about increasing my internet speed. I am on a dsl line with max 6mbs speed. The sales woman talked to me about the packages available. Like you Kim it seems I can save over a hundred a month by eliminating directv. I’ve had directv for over 15 years. I am also a picture quality snob. The money is very tempting, but will think about it. maybe I will call directv to see if they will lower the price. I pay about 145 per month for all the movie channels. I asked my brother in law today what he thought of uverse and he also mentioned the darkness issue. Anyway thanks for the post.

  19. Had DTV for eight years. Have had uverse for a couple months. Really liked DTV and their bigger hard drives, but uverse wireless receiver is the coolest technology on the planet. I like paying less money per month too. Happy with uverse.

  20. How about the GenieGo that is offered on DirectTV. That’s why I want to switch from U-Verse. You can download your shows you’ve recorded to it, and take it with you anywhere. You can watch your shows on a tablet or mobile phone and laptop I think, while flying. I can never watch TV when I go to my family’s house, so this would be great for me to have, so I can catch up on my shows. When I go to their house, I don’t have a TV in my bedroom, so this would be great to have. It’s only $99. I think it would be worth getting it since I have this issue with my family’s house, and I travel a lot.

    Has anyone used the GenieGo system or Genie System period?? I heard it’s awesome. You can record 5 shows at one time, and since I have my Internet with AT&T, DirectTV said I can get the lowest Internet package with AT&T now, and get better speed then I did with the next to the last, most expensive Internet package I’ve had with AT&T U-Verse and Internet together.

  21. We switched from DirecTV to ATT U-Verse and overall have been satisfied, until the promo ended for us this month and our bill jumped about 40%. So we’re hoping to find something else. One thing we did miss is ATT U-Verse doesn’t have autotune.

  22. For best deal every 2 years I go back U-Verse then to DTV. Plus all always get $200-300
    welcome back Visa Card .But over all Picture DTV wins. Just game they play with our money. Just wish AT&T was not the only home phone servise in my area. So I could make better deals.

  23. I’ve had all three services over the years. I’ve had UVerse the past three years. I live in a new house and new development with all CAT5 wiring so the signal is all digital. I have one LED 3d samsung (awesome TV), two plasmas that are 720p and 1080i and an Epson 8350 projector in my home theater. The TV quality is very good, better than FIOS, can’t say relative to Direct TV as I had that for a week 8 years ago and because every run to the TV had to be a home run in order to get HD, I cancelled it.
    Regarding UVerse, we have the bundle with TV/Internet/Phone….it all works great. I check the internet speed, we have 18MBPS and it is 20MBPS download, 2MB upload so its good. One thing to note is the wireless router they give you is B/G, not N but I still am able to stream movies and music and surf with no delays or issues.
    Sound quality is very good, you need to go to the menu system and select “Surround”. The only issue with this is then the volume control is governed by TV or receiver, not the cable box.
    As far as technology goes, being all digital, the newer TVs work much better than the old. My Samsung 3D TV makes HD channels really look 3D and “deep” for many of the channels. They also have a wireless box which is fabulous if you want to move your TV outside, on a porch or to another room without paying for a bunch of boxes. The picture quality on it is not noticeably different than their standard box. Also, on the DVR, it is accessible and playable from any box. You can record in HD or in standard def (more space). Scheduling is simple and the menu system works well. They have a lot of on demand content which is great.They also have interactive Apps at the push of one button on your remote for accessing certain channels, Facebook, shared photos or music on your home network and a lot of other content/apps. When I call them, they generally are very good at addressing issues or sending a tech out if needed. I think I’ve returned one …..they ship you one overnight if you have an issue and then just ask that you return the other one in the same box via UPS, they pay the shipping, this is good service.
    As far as cost goes, you have to call them when your discounts roll off and renegotiate. When you get the supervisor responsible for cancellations, they will typically give you incentives to stay with them if you commit to a long term contract, but you have to be willing to say you’ll cancel and ask for discounts. My last contract is less than my first and I have a rate commitment for two years with an ability to cancel after one without penalty. Direct TV, plus internet, plus phone = much higher cost and no Direct TV person, even with their discounts has been able to match the cost I have with all three together. Right now I get UVerse 300 plus HBO/Cinemax (3 months free) plus 18MBS plus phone w unlim LD for $160/mo plus taxes etc. Thats with four boxes, 1=DVR.
    Hope this helps in anyone wanting to know more about UVerse. The one caveat is that if you have older wiring in your home or neighborhood, I would ask them a lot of questions about how that will impact quality prior to making a decision.

  24. Thanks for the review and comparison. I keep getting advertisements in the mail from DirectTV for $24.99 and was thinking about switching from UVerse. My UVerse bill is $240 each month for home phone, internet and TV with all premium channels…HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz. I thought your review and comparison was old because you said your UVerse demand didn’t have HD. I’ve had UVerse since 2011 and my UVerse demand always had HD and SD options. Your review was helpful and I think I’ll stay with my UVerse…I’v notice that satellite providers are having issues and dropping networks often. I’ve had one issue with UVerse and my JVC flat screen not getting along, but all other TV’s had no issues since 2011.

  25. I almost just switched to Directv… but I stopped on the checkout screen when reviewing the charges. I currently have uverse (have had it for a few years). I have TV only from uverse (use TWC for internet since the upload rates are better). Directv charges a $25 ‘Advanced Receiver Service’ fee. You get hit with this if you get their Genie DVR. Bottom line is this pushes their rates up and above what I pay to UVerse by just around $25. Now you get a promotion for the first two years from Directv so the ‘Advanced Receiver Service’ is only $15. Great.

    I really don’t understand this fee, other than as a blatant money grab. Sure, I get there used to be a HD fee, a whole home DVR fee, and a DVR fee. I know they rolled them up into this one $25 fee. But HD shouldn’t be any extra these days (any more than touch tone dialing should be on your phone), you already pay $6 a month for each additional TV in your house, and a DVR fee? Really? How much longer are we going to be stuck with that. In any case they can charge whatever people will pay. But $25 is ridiculous and priced Directv out of range from what I pay for Uverse.

  26. Changed to Uverse week ago remote half. Size Direct TVs
    Not user friendly and less good shows movies and as if Today
    Already out of service since noon!

  27. I had uverse 450 package 3 years ago then switched to DTV, at the time our uverse signal kept pixelating (we have all Samsung TVs) uverse came out 4 times, replaced boxes, finally the technician admitted about the limited bandwidth (we had fiber coming to house) so if we were on Internet then watched tv this would affect it more. We switched to Dtv and unbundled, our internet from uverse sped up (24mbs) and the picture quality on the tv was amazing. Now DTV keeps dropping channels or contract disputes and I fed up. My question, has AT&T resolved the pixelation issues? Or are they just limited with their bandwidth?

  28. Had DTV for 2 years and loved it. Between DTV, cable Internet, and ATT land line was paying over $300/month. Dropped DTV and ATT land line went strictly to WOW cable for all services but then WOW started having outages daily. They also forced a box on each TV and charged for it. Finally had enough of being down all the time so signed up for U-verse. I asked lots of questions when ordering specifically about the 4 streams and how the Internet works. Was given “reassuring” answers by two different agents so I signed up for the 300 package, 18 Meg’s of Internet, and phone. The technician came out yesterday. The first thing he did was start walking around my neighborhood ‘looking.’ I asked him if there was a problem and he said he didn’t know “yet.” He ran the Ethernet cable from the box into the attic and then started installing equipment. I am a Network Engineer and had run structured cable in my house several years ago, mostly Cat 5e but some Cat 6. The first thing I noticed was ATT doesn’t use all pairs of the cable. I started asking the tech questions, “can 2 people watch the same program while recording something and have 2 other live programs running?” The answer ‘no.’ Not the answer the sales people gave me. Question 2, “as more people watch TV does it slow down the Internet?” Answer “yes.” Again not the answer the sales people gave me. With all 6 TV’s turned on I have 4 Megs of Internet, Pathetic and a far cry from the 30 Megs I had with WOW. I have noticed some picture ‘smearing’ which is going to get old very quickly. Right before the tech left last night he said, “I’m surprised it worked. You are right on the edge for distance of it not working.” That wasn’t very reassuring. I am seriously considering going back to DTV for television, WOW for Internet and keeping U-verse only for phone as the phone works well and is inexpensive. As I am about to submit this the TV just smeared and the picture froze, not good.

  29. I just set up a directv bundle with at&t uverse. 122 a month and 40 up the next year. I keep my uverse internet 18mb instead of 12 as before and calling plan. Just the tv changes. So I still save and best of both worlds.

  30. By design it is extremely difficult for the average person to figure out what may be the best his/her particular needs. Furthermore, the rules and prices are fluid to make it even more challenging. If I was an expert like the author of this article, I would start a consulting business in this field. In other words, I would be the person, who, for a reasonable fee, would advise people which one of these firms (engaging in legalized organized crime robbing people with ridiculous fees) would be the best. Most people I know keep switching from company to company to eventually realize that all of them will raise their fees later on, it is a HUGE hassle to keep switching, learning new systems, etc.

  31. Been with direct tv for 10 years and whhen snow storms come might have to Cline on roof and clean it off to get picture back. And definitely snow and heavy rain will loose signal. So have to count on smart phone or radio to know if need to take shelter.

  32. I am looking for a tv service which does not require a box for my 4 old TVs, none of which are capable of HD. The principal TV is a Sony. How does DirecTv work…dish on roof, ec? Thank for you help. Ron

    • Yes DirecTV has a dish on the roof, or pole mounted next to the house, but you have to have a box on each TV you want service on. Same with ATT U-Verse and my local cable company even went that route. It appears with most providers now the internal tuner on the TV isn’t used anymore.

  33. I have Uverse and have a HDMI problem with my Samsung HD TV in the kitchen. I have to unplug the HDMI cable every time I turn on the TV…are you kidding me? Also, Uverse has these big remote wireless boxes at each TV other than where the DVR is located. So now instead of my TV in the kitchen having an unseen cable attached to the back it has wires running up the wall from the wireless box. Terrible installation on ATT part. I’ve had a tech out twice and one even admitted the HDMI had a problem with the Cisco wireless boxes. I have an install with DirecTV this Thursday. We’ll see what happens.

  34. Jim…I have been reading about UVerse all day long and have found various instances of HDMI cables causing issues with certain Sony and Samsung sets. There appears to be a software issue that messes up the “handshake” between the HDMI connector and the set.

    I spent more than an hour at the local AT&T store watching various channels on UVerse. I have to say the picture on DirecTV was better, channel for channel. But … DirecTV apparently won’t carry the college football channels I want. So…it’s onto a Dish retailer tomorrow.

    • I’ve had the same experience

    • Scheduled DirecTV for an install. Tech came out and said I have RJ-59 wire and need RJ-6 for DirecTV to work. The install was supposed to be free, however he now wants $50 per cable to install and can’t guarantee he can pull it through the walls, etc. I cancelled the install and am staying with ATT for now, but may consider DirecTV when they get their wireless perfected.

      The only other thing I don’t like about DirecTV is they partner with other companies for Internet connectivity. The install Tech couldn’t tell me anything about how that works. He said I’d keep ATT for Internet and billing would sort it out. Hmmm…done that before!! I’ll stick with ATT for now.

  35. I had direct tv for 12 years I went to U-Verse now in my second year. First Year was great, was not dropping signal during storms. Now that U-Verse has got me as a regular customer, if you call them for any small issue they will send you to a tech support that you have to pay a monthly charge above my bill. REALLY!. Also during March madness I paid the additional $10.00 per month for HD. How about the signal in HD was pix elating and dropping so I finish watching the championship game in SD!. Lastly, U-Verse using several different type of modems in your area. so what that means they purchase the cheapest equipment and install it in your home, then want YOU to pay for maint. fee per month to support this crap!
    Direct TV has been whooing me to comeback and I just might do that.

  36. I had Comcast for years – no problems.. moved and ordered Uverse even though there was already DTV in the house. Saw their picture and it was amazing, and he told (and said he’d told me already, but he hadn’t) the when they came out to set up Uverse they forgot the TV in the back. So he had one TV w/DTV and one w/Uverse. And he liked the DTV pic so much he cancelled AT&T, just kept it for his internet. I bought a Samsung 6350 Smart TV — had excellent reviews – beautiful picture (went to Amazon and read at least 20 reviews), but the picture is terrible, very pixelated. And I don’t know if it’s the TV or the signal. I’m going to call the place that sold it to me tomorrow and see what they say. An aside, AT&T is trying to buy DTV right now.

  37. I want good internet, and I have one Samsung smart tv. I scheduled ATT for internet, and I am hesitating between Uverse or Direct TV. Up till now, I’ve only had free tv (rabbit ears). What would you recommend as the best for me?

  38. at&t has qubo and directv doesn’t also at&t is compatible the watch disney junior ,disney and disney xd apps when directv is not compatible with these apps

  39. We have been with U-verse for 3 years with no problems, however lately I’ve noticed their programming stinks. My neighbor has Direct TV and even on HGTV she gets different programming than on MY U-verse HGTV. Hers is much much better!

  40. Thanks for this article. I have an instal date set up with uverse and will be leaving Dirrctv because of better rate. After reading the comments I think I will have to make a phone call to AT&T, they didn’t mention anything about a “promotional rate” this will affect our decision greatly.

    • If they give a promotional rate, which is what I started off with, fees ate up the promotional rate and then they have gone up on my bill 60 to 70% since 2010. I went back to DirecTV. I did the bundle and for the last six months I have had to deal with “no signal”, slow internet speed, cannot send or receive e-mails, when I have “no signal” that affects telephone service as well. I have been with Bellsouth/AT&T and I grew up with my parents and grandparents using the same service. Since becoming U-verse, I have noticed that customer service is not the same. The goal is to do or say whatever it takes to make a sale. Once the sale is made and you agree to the terms, the relationship is over, it is strictly business and all about making money. I had to wake up and realize this. The relationship is over. I have been complaining about the same problems for over 6 months. Nothing has changed except the bill gets higher.

  41. I had DirecTV for over 10 years and was very happy. Had whole-home-DVR, have one V in living room, one in master bedroom. I could tape 2 shows on each DVR and watch something else on either TV at the same time. Had the Ultimate package, bill was 160.00/month. Got talked into the promotional U-Verse 450 offer. Already had them for Internet. Now they pulled an extra line and my internet speed is a bit faster now. They told me that I can watch or tape 4 shows at time. I had the DVR in the living room, the receiver in the bedroom, the router sits in my office down the hall. What they don’t tell you that 4 channels at a time means SD channels. HD channels you can either tape 2 or watch 2. I complained and now I can tape 2 and watch 1. Witch the promotional package I save about 40.00/month, after a year I will still save 20.00/month over DirecTV.
    I miss DirecTV. The picture quality was much better, the remote was easier. With DirecTV I could program my 6 favorite channels onto a button and voila. I noticed that I watch much less TV now (might be a good thing). The main reason is that I cannot get used to where the channels are located, the order makes no sense to me. There also does not seem to way to just eliminate the SD channels so that they don’t show up in the guide at all. I don’t watch SD channels.
    I don’t think I will renew with them when the promotional rate is up. I will go back to DirecTV. I will go back even if it’s 20.00 more a month. You get what you pay for and with DirecTV I got exactly what I wanted. I wish I would not have signed up with At&T.

  42. Wow. Huge revelations today about U Verse, the day of the installation and the day after moving from Direct TV. My goal was reduce cost and consolidate internet with TV. I won’t even go on the ATT acquired Direct TV topic. ATT promised me a phone hand set in the sales call (because I haven’t had a land line in 7 years and don’t need one but the package rate was cheaper). No handset sorry. I had an RF remote from Direct TV free. Cost is $60 from ATT. I researched before hand and found that ATT (and others) might be limiting total downloads a month and made sure in the sales call it was committed that I would have no limit. Day after install, ATT says yes there is a 250 Gig limit per month and “sorry there is no way around this”. Revelation number 3 – There are only a max of 3 HD feeds at one time (the DVR takes the 4th). So I cannot watch all 4 HD TVs I have at the same time on an HD TV station. With Direct TV, there were no limits. I called ATT and through various escalations got to the right level and all the accommodations were made to my account to my satisfaction except the 18mb per sec sacrifice from comcast 50mb per sec and current HD feed limit may increase (both of which may come with a cost increase).

    • Same story with me. I will be going back to Directv a soon as my time is up with ATT on May.

    • New revelations! 48 hours in my reception goes into the toilet. Direct TV traveled perfectly thru my 40 year old house coax. Then my ATT crashes with pixelation and frozen screens. The next tech coming out says I should use wifi connected receivers, all of which have to work from the tethered access point hooked to the original router across the house…. Impossible. They say they don’t like coax and its company policy not to use it. And the tech disconnected my Comcast internet in the process of the service call on Saturday. Now I have a damage claim for them to come back and reconnect that internet cable service from Comcast on top of fixing my pixelation. I am going to try and get the to drop Cat 5 to each of the remote Tvs. If they won’t I will cancel and return to Direct TV inside of a week.

  43. I too have been thinking of dropping DTV because of costs and going to Uverse. After reading these posts, however, I may just cut back on my DTV programming to accomplish the savings I want rather than go to Uverse. I also have a house with old (very old) telephone wiring which may mean more hidden costs. Thanks to everyone who posted.

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