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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 01, 2008

AT&T: U-verse Is the Next Generation of TV

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

U-verse, “Cooler than cable.”
            That’s what AT&T (News - Alert) is saying after announcing that U-verse, a total home DVR package takes “when you want, where you want” TV viewing to a whole new level. Already available in some areas, AT&T has decided to introduce U-verse in Chicago, Houston, Detroit, San Diego and Austin, giving life back to TV apparently.
So why is it cooler than cable?
TV packages range from $69 to $124 per month with the highest price including up to 320 channels, local channels, a movie package including SHOWTIME, The Movie Channel (TMC (News - Alert)), FLIX, STARZ, Encore and a HBO/Cinemax package including 18 channels of HBO/Cinemax programming, a sports package, over 45 digital music channels and a video on demand library. For an additional $10 each you can also add a Paquete en Español or High Definition (HD) Service: HD Technology. Other packages also include Filipino Channel, TV Asia (S. Asian), SET Asia (S. Asian), or SBTN (Vietnamese).
However, although over 300 channels may seem God-sent, there’s more. Not only can you have your cake, you can eat it too! Use the digital video recording (DVR) and watch up to four recorded programs at the same time plus, three of those programs can be in HD. Moreover, access any one of those recorded programs from any television in the home, up to seven in fact!
A recorded program can be stopped on one television set in the house and resumed on another. Record time estimates are 133 hours on Standard Definition or 37 hours on High Definition. The U-verse also features “soft padding” which adds one minute before a scheduled recorded show and two minutes after. The U-verse automatically detects the shows the user watches and records frequently and sets up a weekly record schedule for the program.
U-verse uses encoding which compresses video more efficiently than the traditional or standard television. Broadcast channels are distributed via IP multicast, allowing a single stream (channel) to be sent to any number of recipients.
Current DVR users need not worry: AT&T uses IP technology to enable a software update for existing customers. For more information check out AT&T’s U-verse webpage.

Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek