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any comms junkies out there?

I just ran the numbers on Comcast vs. AT&T. We're looking at a significant cost savings with AT&T.

That said...

How is the VoIP service? How is the voice mail? There's nothing I hate more than voice mail, and I've got to say I like the digital voice mail on the iPhone.

We actually use the Comcast "On Demand" feature a bit. How is the video-on-demand on uVerse?


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 29th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
We've already got Comcast. It's a $90/month savings, though, to switch to uVerse.
Dec. 29th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC)
Dave and I can tell you about uVerse. We love it. You can also access your email through the tv, see your latest photos that you uploaded. We had seen it at its experimental test state, and were drooling at the possibilities. Speak with Dave further about this. He can tell you about the specifics.
Dec. 29th, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
My day job is testing the equipment both Comcast and AT&T use to put video into your set top box. AT&T's current bandwidth is not sufficient to carry an HD signal to your home, unless your home has a fiber connection to AT&T. Comcast has some issues with HD as well, but they are mostly blips caused at the source (transmission interruptions from sports venues).

AT&T is faking out the bandwidth issue with buffering and MPEG-4 streams, but IMHO it's not ready for prime time, unless you're on a gigabit network. Minimum bit rate for decent HD is 4.5 Mbps, which I don't think DSL can maintain yet. Cable has plenty to spare, and 16 Mbps is not out of reach on coax.

But as with all things video, seeing is believing. My understanding is U-verse is still in alpha test, and only a handful of "friendly" homes in the Bay Area has it. And that's crucial, because it's a much better delivery system than DSL.

VoIP doesn't take much bandwidth, and I have AT&T's digital voicemail for my cell phone and land line, and it's excellent. It even emails me .wav files of my messages which are good quality.
Dec. 29th, 2008 06:30 am (UTC)
I'll keep the HD bandwidth issue in mind; the information we're getting from AT&T says we should be able to get their new 18mb broadband service here (not that I'm going to spend what that would cost).
Dec. 29th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
That's pretty much the whole point of U-Verse - having the bandwidth to get true 1080p (or at least 1080i) HD quality. At which point you're paying more to AT&T than you get for the same quality from Comcast.
Dec. 29th, 2008 07:18 am (UTC)
That's an important question: Are the bandwidth caps for uVerse TV and uVerse Internet set separately?
Dec. 29th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
I don't know. Dave might. Even when I was on the U-Verse project at Microsoft, we didn't have an actual U-verse connection - both there and at Motorola now, we replicate the best-case network with our internal gigabit fiber (now 10 GB, actually).
Dec. 29th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
As Spring said, we have u-verse and have been very happy with it. There will be a VoIP option at some time (u-verse voice), but it is not available in California yet.

There was an article in last July's Home Entertainment magazine comparing u-verse with Time Warner cable: http://www.hemagazine.com/node/U-verse_versus_Cable. It was published before AT&T raised the available Internet download speed to 18 Mbps.

As for the bandwidth caps, my understanding is that they are separate; the tv signal and the Internet signal use different frequencies along the copper wiring from the neighborhood node to your home.

We had been using Dish Network satellite prior to u-verse becoming availalbe, so I can't compare it with Comcast. With Dish, we were able to record two shows simultaneously, although we could not watch a third show while the two were recording. U-verse limits you to two simultaneous HD shows, whether viewing or recording. Like Dish Network, you can watch recorded programs on any TV in the house, although you can only set up recording from the main u-verse box or through the Internet.

Our download speed averages 2.9 Mbps for the 3 Mbps we're paying for (the DSL Pro level, although it may be worth raising this to the 6 Mbps for the extra $5 per month) and our upload speed exceeds the advertised limit by quite a bit.

Hope this helps,
Dec. 29th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
There will be a VoIP option at some time (u-verse voice), but it is not available in California yet.

Now that's an answer I really care about. At least half of our savings would be from u-verse voice. If it's not available, I'm kind of annoyed that the print fliers coming out don't clearly say that, and I don't have as much reason to change.
Dec. 29th, 2008 08:11 pm (UTC)
Well, I checked and learned that u-verse voice is being rolled out in California (we employees are always the last to know), but is not yet available in all areas u-verse is available (which means they have not added the required central office equipment). I cannont check on voice availability at your home; I'm told you would have to start the order process to check on that.

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )