Originally Posted by Steve S
Jim, do you think it would be fair to say that your very good U-Verse experience has a lot to do with the fact that you've got new cabling all the way up to your house vs other users who lack such a comprehensive infrastructure upgrade?
I haven't commented so far in this thread or in any other comparing terrestrial vs satellite providers for the simple reason that so much variation in quality from terrestrial providers is dependent on infrastructure that can vary tremendously in quality from place to place, while a properly installed satellite setup is much more likely to be consistent from market to market, leaving out local channels which still can be inconsistent.
ATT recently called us and tried to sell us on U-verse. I live in an older, less affluent part of town and saw no evidence of any ATT infrastructure upgrades in our area (no new cabling etc being installed anywhere in our area) so I'm fairly confident in sticking with DirecTV. There's every possibility that in parts of town with newer cabling etc, U-verse might be viable, but I'm not confident about my neighborhood.
I should say that I don't consider Dish to be acceptable here in Fresno based on personal observation of Dish pq where I work and at other demo sites vs what I see at home and at friend's homes that have DirecTV or even Comcast. I'm willling to put up with a bit slower dvr navigation vs overcompressed signals every time. I would add that I had DirecTV from 1996 (self installed) to 2009, went OTA from 09 to last summer, and am back with DirecTV. In the total 13 years with DirecTV I had less "rain fade" than I did in the 3 years of OTA reception. The critical factor in minimizing weather outages is a solid dish installation with careful dish alignment.
Steve, I assume our new cabling has a lot to do with it. Indianapolis was one of the first cities in the midwest to get U-verse (we were hooked up in December, 2008) and AT&T started with the newer suburban areas where they could build from the "ground up" (so to speak). They buried all new cable throughout our subdivision and I'm pretty confident they did the same right up to where it goes into the house. I have a close friend from work who lives in an older section of town and he still doesn't have access to U-verse yet. My oldest son lives in a somewhat new subdivision as well and he converted to U-verse from Dish Network (not DirecTV) and couldn't be happier.
My youngest son lives in a southern suburb of Indianapolis in a huge, multi-level 15-year-old home that he just purchased about a year ago. He switched from Comcast to U-verse and, quite frankly, has not had a great experience with U-verse. His "gateway" (the box that is the brains of the operation for internet, TV, and VOIP phone service) is located in one corner of the finished walk-out basement where he has his new 60" Samsung TV. He has 3-4 other TVs in other areas of the house. U-verse works great in the basement and on the main floor of his house. However, as you go further upstairs, the signal degrades and he hasn't been a happy camper. Because he lives in a hugely wooded area, his only other alternative is to go back to Comcast. However, when U-verse came out to install his service, they did run all new cable just like they did at our house, so I'm guessing his negative experience comes from having two teenagers who are always using the TV and/or internet and, of course, the limitations of the service.
Conversely, my wife and I have a one-story home with no basement, and there are only two of us at home now that we are empty nesters. We have three HDTVs and one old analog TV that sees daily service in her sewing room. In the 4+ years we've had U-verse, we've only had one outage when someone knocked over a power pole in an auto accident on the main road outside our subdivision. My wife and I rarely watch the same programming and we both record a lot of shows in HD. Yes, there has been a time or two when we've overloaded the system, but those instances are so few and far between that it's almost never a problem. Because we were one of the first in the area to get U-verse, many (most?) of our perks & prices have been grandfathered in. We got three HD receivers "free" (including a DVR which we can program/watch from any room in the house) when we signed up and also a fourth one for an extra $7/month. We pay $10/month for HD service. Although the old Mitsubishi (1988 vintage) in my wife's sewing room isn't HD, the set-top box (STB) is. I keep hoping the stupid TV will burn out, but those old things are bulletproof so as long as she doesn't care, neither do I.
Believe me when I say I have nothing against DirecTV or any other provider. I just really like U-verse. It's all I need and it makes me happy.
If Comcast hadn't gotten so damned expensive, I probably never would have made the switch. However, I'm glad I did and I'll likely never go back. If I ever do decide to change again (which I can't see myself doing) I'll likely give DirecTV a shot. Thanks for your question, Steve. I always appreciate "talking" to you.