AT&T U-VerseAT&T U-Verse combines a number of telecommunications services into adjustable packages.
AT&T U-Verse is an IPTV (internet protocol television) service provided by AT&T communications. It can run either on ethernet cable or on DSL, as it connects to your home using the same technology as the internet using a direct FTP transfer. As a result, U-Verse is a cable service in one sense, in that, if you use ethernet, it should be considered cable, but it uses a completely different technology than standard cable television.
How Does U-Verse Work?
Because internet technology has now reached the point in which high definition television can be streamed directly to your home, AT&T has set up a system unique in the United States in which television channels are streamed directly to you using either ethernet cables or even DSL cables (Bell Canada does the same thing with its Bell Fibe service, but only on DSL). The technology is relatively new and requires fairly high-speed access, so it is currently only available in some more densely populated metropolitan areas.
The cables used are fiber optic cables, which enables a large amount of data to be transferred all at once. As a result, even heavy internet surfing will not interfere with your television experience and vice versa. You are free to watch television on multiple channels as well as to download files or play games on your computer, all at the same time (although, one assumes one person will not be doing all of these things at once).
What Services Does U-Verse Offer?
Despite the name, U-Verse offers a full range of telecommunications services over their IPTV. Because AT&T has been a telephone company for so long, they have experience offering telephone service, and this same experience finds its way into the U-Verse options. In addition to your home telephone, you can add the following options:
Internet: U-Verse offers full internet service that provides high speed internet all the way up to their 18.1-24 Mbps High Speed Internet Max Turbo internet package. This is not quite as fast as one would get with cable, as the speed is limited by the hardware. However, it is more than sufficient for most people’s internet speed. Note that if you were to select a lower internet speed, such as the 1.56-3 Mbps offered with their High Speed Internet Pro package, it would not affect your ability to stream high speed television channels. The speed of your television is independent from the speed of your internet.
Television: U-Verse offers a wide range of television viewing options, comparable to that of any other cable company. You can select everything from the U-Basic package, which provides local and network television channels, all the way up to the U450 package, which provides 410 different channels, including the premium channels, such as HBO, Cinemax and Fox Sports. Prices vary from location from location, but you can get the U-Basic package for as low as $29.95 per month for the first six months.
What Special Features Does U-Verse Offer?
U-Verse integrates any service that you purchase through U-Verse. Because they are all run through an internet protocol, it is possible to do some things that traditional cable companies, even those that offer internet and telephone, are unable to do.
For example, U-Verse provides you with the ability to see who is telephoning you while you are watching television. While this may seem easy, it’s actually almost impossible without having your television, telephone and internet all connected on the same protocol.
In addition, you can surf what television channels are available on the U-Verse website. This enables U-Verse to have an otherwise unparalleled level of interactivity. If you’ve had traditional cable, you know the problem. The channel selection on your cable is clunky and slow. This is because cable simply isn’t designed for two-way communication, and you are working with an incredibly rudimentary computer inside of your cable box. Since U-Verse is an internet protocol, all the heavy lifting is done server-side, speeding up the entire process.
U-Verse also provides a number of online applications, much like you would expect on an iPhone or iPad. You can check the weather, the time or sports scores, because all of this information is hosted on the website and can be displayed on the bottom of your screen. In fact, U-Verse is more reminiscent of an Apple product than of standard cable.
Finally, U-Verse offers wireless television connections, something that traditional cable simply cannot do. Because it is an internet transfer protocol, it is able to provide you with wireless television just like a computer can provide wireless internet. This can save a bundle in installation fees if you don’t want to run cables through the walls of your home when installing a new television set.
U-Verse is in a lot of ways a completely unique service, at least in the United States. By providing television over the internet, it is able to provide a flexibility of service that no other company offers.