First impressions: New AT&T U-verse service

My triple play travails are at an end — at least for now. I’m now officially an AT&T customer and have cancelled my Comcast account.

As I wrote earlier this month, I decided to switch triple play providers, because I was unhappy with what I was paying for Comcast and found a better deal with AT&T. Setting up the new U-verse service took a bit longer than I expected — the AT&T technician was at my house for more than 5 hours today, mostly because the company had to install a new phone line to my house — but I’ve finally switched over.

I’ve just started to test the new service, but so far so good. For the most part, I’ve been impressed.

My download speeds are averaging around 17 megabits per second. That’s a little under the 18 megabits a second rate I signed up for and slower than the peak rates I saw on Comcast. But it’s plenty fast.

And the TV service, for the most part, is loads better than what I was getting with Comcast. I’m getting more channels for one thing. But the DVR is much easier to navigate. And I’m hopeful that because it can record up to four shows at a time I won’t run into the same problems I had with Comcast. Our Comcast DVR frequently would stop recording shows before they actually ended and would not record certain shows at all, ostensibly because they overlapped with other shows we wanted to record.

However, not all is great. I’ve already encountered two disappointments.

One is that the upload speeds with U-verse appear to be fairly slow — just 1.5 megabits a second. I expect that throughput to be really painful when I’m uploading photos to Facebook or videos to YouTube.

The other is that the DVR doesn’t appear to allow you to set up an ongoing recording with just a keyword. That’s too bad. I’m a big fan of the San Antonio Spurs, who are on the air in the Bay Area only infrequently. One way I’ve been able to catch most of those games is by having my DVR — first my Dish one, then my Comcast one — search for and record anything with “Spurs” in the description. I guess I’ll have to pay more attention to when the Spurs are on TV — or break down and subscribe to the NBA’s streaming video package.

Still, I don’t have any major regrets. I’m saving money. I only had to sign up for a one-year contract. And my low rate is locked in for two years. To me, those factors make this a good deal.

Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (255 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for TheStreet.com and CNET News.com.