This post is not anti-AT&T or any other provider. It is simply a factual comparison of prices for various cable/Internet services, which is a pretty hot topic right now. Hotter than your mom.
My Current Setup
It’s been unfortunate in the past how we’ve been forced to choose between cable and satellite for TV service. At least in a lot of cases there are multiple satellite providers to choose from in the same area. There isn’t even a choice with cable; you’re stuck with whatever cable provider is in your area. I have traditionally chosen cable over satellite because I like consolidating my Internet and TV bills, plus there are lots of other reasons I don’t like satellite, like bad/no reception during storms, lag between channel switching, and more equipment to deal with.
That being said, I don’t love my cable service either. Namely, it’s too expensive to get everything I want. NFL network, extended channel lineup, movie channels, DVR… the list goes on. So, after discovering AT&T’s UVerse was available in my area, I was excited to see how much money I was supposed to be able to save. UVerse combines TV, Internet, and voice into one consolidated package, with one consolidated unit acting as a modem and router for your internet. I didn’t need the voice part, but they have great build-your-own packages for just TV & Internet service.
I started doing a side-by-side comparison of UVerse vs. Comcast. With Comcast I currently pay $90 per month for a constant 6Mbps download stream (with 12Mbps “Powerboost” speed bursting for the first 10MB of every file), digital starter cable (lots of channels, but lacking some of the premiums like NatGeo, Military, Science, BBC, and MTV 3 thru 17), 2 tuner DVR, and about 40 or so HD channels.
The UVerse Option
I created the same package on the UVerse website. At first I thought it would be way cheaper, because the corresponding UVerse package – the U100 – appeared to be $84 per month. I would be saving $6 per month by switching to UVerse, plus if I ordered online I could receive a $200 rebate after 2 months. Is that worth learning a new channel line-up, losing all my current DVR recordings on my Comcast box, and taking time off work to come home and meet the AT&T installer? Maybe.
I’ll be honest, I was considering it. That is until I looked a little closer at the U100 package. A crucial piece was missing: no HD channels. That costs an extra $10 per month. Also, no DVR functionality. That’s another $15 per month. After adding in those missing elements, the U100 package came to $109, which is $19 more per month than the same package with Comcast. But even if the whole package was only $84 instead of $109, I still wouldn’t switch due to one very very very important detail.
You cannot split UVerse to multiple TVs without paying a $7 montly charge for each additional TV
That’s right, AT&T sends the signal through the coax line into your house not as a TV signal, but as a data signal. That means if you intercept the signal and try to split it to multiple TVs, it will not work. The signal has to be processed by a digital AT&T box sitting at each TV you want to watch. Right now I am splitting my Comcast cable signal to 4 TVs (some would say that’s too many, but I would answer that they should not judge me because only God can judge me). Why I split it to 4 separate TVs in a 3 bedroom house with no kids is a different story (a very exciting story). And no, there is NOT a TV in my bedroom, as I do not believe in married couples having a TV in their bedroom. Please write me a mean comment if you disagree.
So, if I really want to have the exact same package from UVerse that I currently have with Comcast, the cost is not $84, not even $109, but $123. That is not a good deal! NO DEAL! Is that show still on? Hey, Amazing Race is still on and I watched it 2 days ago. It’s still mediocre.
One more thing. I’ve been thinking of upgrading my channel lineup to include all those aforementioned channels like NatGeo. How much more will that cost with Comcast? $17 per month. That would make my monthly bill $107. The same thing with UVerse is called the U200 package, and after adding all the previously defined necessary additions like HD ‘n such, it comes to $130 per month. The one thing it comes with that Comcast does not is NFL Network. So, adding the $7 monthly charge for NFL Network to my Comcast bill, the total comes to $114 per month, which is still much less than UVerse U200.
If you’ve made it this far into this post I am going to reward you with screenshots of the two different UVerse packages we’ve discussed.
The lesson here is a familiar one, but one that many of us disregard out of laziness. And that is, read the fine print! The big problem in my case was losing the ability to split (albeit maybe illegally) the signal to multiple TVs for free. Like my coworkers who both have and love UVerse, maybe you don’t need this functionality, in which case UVerse might be a good option for you.
Until UVerse gives me the option to split the signal to multiple TVs for free, or until Comcast jacks up my prices (I’m currently on a promotion, but I’ve been on a promotion for the last 5 years because all you have to do is call Comcast and tell them you want the current promotion) I will happily pay my $90 per month for Comcast. Now you know why I don’t have AT&T UVerse (yet).