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AT&T launches digital TV service in the Triangle

Posted December 15, 2008

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— AT&T is now offering its U-verse TV service as well as high-speed Internet service in the Triangle.

U-verse includes more than 75 high-definition channels as well as digital video-recording capability.

AT&T is positioning the service as an alternative to cable and satellite TV services. The North Carolina General Assembly helped open the way for AT&T to offer the TV service in 2006 when it passed the Video Service Competition Act.

"This is actually a step forward in providing video entertainment,” said Bob Sellman, with AT&T. "That gives us the capability to start integrating features of computing, as well as video."

The experience is much like watching cable or satellite TV,  with an on-screen programming guide. However, AT&T says U-verse has a big advantage when you want to use the DVR. With a single recorder, you can watch shows on any connected TV in the house.

"No more being glued to one particular TV, because that's the only place where you have something recorded," Sellman said.

U-verse is available to people only in the AT&T service area. Packages start at $44 a month.

With the new competition, Time Warner Cable reported it is adding new features, including more high-definition channels. A service that allows you to restart and watch programs from the beginning is also in the works. Plus, a feature that allows you to watch shows you missed, up to 48 hours after the program originally aired.

"You really have to take a look at it and just ultimately decide what you're getting and what you're paying for,” Sellman said.

AT&T is currently taking orders for U-verse. The phone company is also offering a new suite of high-speed Internet services.

  • Max 18: Downstream speeds up to 18.0 megabits per second (mbps), upstream speeds up to 1.5 mbps
  • Max: Downstream speeds up to 10.0 mbps, upstream speeds up to 1.5 mbps
  • Elite: Downstream speeds up to 6.0 mbps, upstream speeds up to 1.0 mbps
  • Pro: Downstream speeds up to 3.0 mbps, upstream speeds up to 1.0 mbps
  • Express: Downstream speeds up to 1.5 mbps, upstream speeds up to 1.0 mbps

You can sign up online or at AT&T retail stores.

115 Comments

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  • mondosinistro Dec 16, 2008

    Good that TWC gets competition, but as others said, AT&T has its own problems.

    Maybe TWC needs to offer pkgs w/ no Web hosting or email. Not had much trouble getting to the Internet with TWC but MAJOR problems with email, now with Web hosting.

    Last week they cut off hosting for my Web site! Cust svc said they sent multiple emails over the last month. I never got ONE. And what am I supposed to do when people look for my site and get a dumb error message with NO referral to the new URL? Last night I spent an hour with tech support trying to migrate files, but they couldn't work it out and have to call again tonight. And all they offer to make amends is a $25 credit. $25 is just insulting. It'll cost me half of that just in per-minute cell charges working this out.

    Webmail used to have problems for YEARS, till they revised it. It simply couldn't send messages. Tech support said I needed to upgrade Java. That made NO sense, as the problem occurred from ALL computers. So typical.

  • polar_40 Dec 15, 2008

    I like how some people will right about things that they do not have service for. I called last week to setup service for ATT TV for today. The service works great. You get more programming offers at a reduce rate. You get to record up 8 shows at one time and watch them in different rooms. I also have internet and there is no slow in speed plus there is more HD programming then TWC. Also, there where 3 ATT techs out for service work. Some need to know all the facts before making statements.

  • ignc73 Dec 15, 2008

    I love the fact that everybody who pays for TV is paying to watch advertisements. Grow some brains, sheeple! You're PAYING to watch ADVERTISEMENTS.

  • Bob Sidel Dec 15, 2008

    someone explain how when you request an additional service and they ask if youd also like xyz and you respond NO THANK YOU, very cleary. then you get your bill and you are being charged for xyz. this is a blatant and intentional practice by TWC to try and sucker customers into paying what they see as a minimal charge hoping it goes unnoticed, thsi has happened on more than 1 occasion.....snakes

  • dcatz Dec 15, 2008

    I prefer to give money to companies that don't help the NSA illegally spy on US citizens.

    Also, I wonder if AT&T mentioned anywhere that watching TV using U-Verse shares the same bandwidth as your internet connection. If you are recording 4 channels at once, there won't be much bandwidth left over.

  • Fun Dec 15, 2008

    Hope it works better than the ATT wireless Mercury USB internet service.

  • NeverSurrender Dec 15, 2008

    "With all the TWC bashing going on, I wasn't aware AT&T has any better customer service than TWC. Haven't any of you been AT&T customers before?? Where they act like they are doing you a favor just by answering the phone.Heaven forbit they help you out with a problem!!"

    ---

    I could write a book or two on how not to manage the customer's expectations based on my several years of experiences with Bellsouth (AT&T's predecessor) in Orlando.

    The short version is that their employee's behaviour was generally far worse than TWC's on their best days...and unfortunately given the state of the phone lines down there, interaction was far more frequent.

    After several years of trying it Bellsouth's way, the phone lines finally got fixed when I threatened the PSC Commissioners with disclosure of the $1M+ bribe per Commissioner Bellsouth had been paying them to look the other way.

    For the most part, I've been quite fortunate with them here (in several jurisdictions in the Triangle area).

  • NeverSurrender Dec 15, 2008

    (cont.)

    At the end of the day, I guess I'm just going to let you "win" because no amount of proof contrary to your position seems to be sufficient for you to understand that when quite a few people hate the interaction with their incumbent cable company's employees, it might just be that the people are right and the cable company employees and their customer service attitudes stink.

    When there are more competitors in the marketplace, people are going to vote with their wallets.

    I will say that the DVR/Road Runner service is pretty darned decent when it works. I just know that when something breaks, I've got at least an hour or so on the phone (if I'm lucky) with likely three individuals (two of whom identify themselves as "supervisors") trying to fight through the bureaucracy and the gatekeepers to get to someone who can make a decision and fix the problem to the satisfaction of all parties...in spite of TWC's predilection toward assuming that I exist for their convenience.

  • ruttroww Dec 15, 2008

    With all the TWC bashing going on, I wasn't aware AT&T has any better customer service than TWC. Haven't any of you been AT&T customers before?? Where they act like they are doing you a favor just by answering the phone.Heaven forbit they help you out with a problem!!

  • NeverSurrender Dec 15, 2008

    "The customers demands dictated that the personnel be sent. Would you want to send one person to a yelling, screaming cussing customers home? No, that would be an unsafe practice. The supervisor was sent out because the customer, like you was not happy that only a tech went out to photograph the issue, so again, the CUSTOMER dictated what happened. They paid him for the damage (even though TWC had nothing to do with an act of nature)"

    ---

    And yet when I politely suggest to them several times that forcing me to accept them rolling a truck four days hence when honesty on their part as to what TWC did to the DVR and a box swap will sort the issue at hand straightaway, I can't get the time of day from the representatives.

    Add to that repeated violations of the Privacy Act of 1974 demanding personal information they're not entitled to and polite refusal accompanied by chapter and verse of the law explaining my rights...no dice.

    I guess I should have just yelled at them "I'm suing you!"

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