Couple more U-Verse questions

FoxCitiesTV's picture
Green Bay

I'm treading dangerously close to making the switch to U-Verse after all, and I have a couple more questions about it for any U-Verse experts or customers floating around these parts...

  1. Is the DVR storage capacity expandable and/or upgradable?  (like Time Warner's SATA port on the back of the receiver that enables you to plug in an external hard drive)
  2. Are there installation times available on weekends, or later at night (like after 5 PM)?  (Reason I ask is that I don't want to use a vacation day just to babysit the technician in my place if I can avoid it.)
  3. This one is more of a specific theory question about my particular place...
    I live in an upstairs apartment in an eight-plex.  The cable jacks in my apartment are fed from the basement (laundry room).  I have two jacks, one in my living room and one in my bedroom (common wall).  The only phone jack in my apartment (that I know of) is in my dining room halfway up the wall.  I assume the residential gateway would be fed by the phone jack and placement would have to be there, so would they have to run coax/ethernet cable around the baseboards of my apartment to bridge the TV connections into the gateway?  Or would they have to install a gateway in the basement that feeds up to the cable jacks of my apartment?

    I already have a bit of ethernet running around the floors of my place but I don't want to go totally nutzo on how much exposed wiring I have.  I also want to know a vague picture of what needs to happen on the installation so if I need to get any sort of clearance from my landlord I can do so ahead of time.
Posted August 12, 2008 3:07pm in
Beau's picture

Hi Mark, hopefully I can

Hi Mark, hopefully I can help answer a couple of your questions.

1. Unfortunately, the DVR storage capacity is not upgradable by adding an external hard drive, you can technically install a new hard drive inside the DVR, but it is not approved by At&t.

2. There are installations done on Saturday and Sunday, At&t prefers that they be scheduled in the morning as a U-Verse install can last several hours, and in some cases all day.

3. The Residential Gateway that provides the Internet and TV Signal for all your devices can get its signal over the Phone line (RJ-11) or over cable jacks (COAX), I have seen it installed both ways, I'm not quite sure if it is a personal choice or if it depends on the wiring.

If you have any other questions regarding U-Verse don't hesitate to ask.

- Beau

FoxCitiesTV's picture

Thanks, Beau. I had been

Thanks, Beau. I had been really wavering on whether or not to switch, but opening my latest Time Warner bill to find a nearly $20/mo increase makes my decision real easy -- either cancel service altogether or switch to U-Verse since the price comparison isn't so drastic anymore.

One question I might have asked somewhere before but I can't seem to find the answer for right now... How does the billing work for AT&T? Right now I have a bill due on the 26th of the month and I can either pay in person at the office, send in a payment or online through their website. What options are there for AT&T?

Anonymous's picture

The signal to the RG can be

The signal to the RG can be provided by either phone wire or coax cable but it depends on were the phone enters the building because ultimately that is were the uverse signal comes from. Do you know if the buildings phone lines enter in that laundry room also?

FoxCitiesTV's picture

Yeah, I may go take a pic of

Yeah, I may go take a pic of it down there and post it. If I remember right, there's a locked box where the coax cable goes in and distributes out to the apartments, and I believe there's also an accessible point for the phone wiring down there as well.

I also noticed there was a weird uncovered thing in the ceiling of my dining room closet that had what looks like a loop of phone wire going into a jack. I may put a picture up of that too because it looked odd and out of place to me.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

OK, this is the laundry room

OK, this is the laundry room in my building where the cable and phone wiring comes in and is distributed to the units.

The wiring block for the phone lines is mounted outside of the box on the right.  Below is the weird, exposed thing in the ceiling of my dining room closet.  Anyone know what that is?

I've decided to officially make the switch.  I was on the way home tonight and in the driveway of one of the apartment complexes a block down from me, I see this...

There were a pair of AT&T employees manning a tent in the parking lot of the apartment complex so I stopped by to ask questions of them.  I ultimately initiated an order for service with them and left with a handful of lovely goodies, including a 1GB USB flash drive, a retractable laptop ethernet cable, a pen and a highlighter.  They also had packets with U-Verse logos that looked like moist towelettes that were apparently sunblock, but I passed on that.  I'm supposed to get a call from their supervisor on Monday or Tuesday to make the installation appointment, and I'm pegged for a weekend install.

Anonymous's picture

For anyone that has U-Verse

For anyone that has U-Verse already how reliable has your service been? I have been considering switching for some time but it was never available at my house. Today I finally entered in my address and it came up as having services.

Bradly's picture

For me at least, U-Verse has

For me at least, U-Verse has been just as reliable as Cable was. The only issue I've had was with my wireless internet and that was due to a bad RG. They came and swapped it out and everything is good.

Anonymous's picture

do you have to use the

do you have to use the wireless or not

SeanM402's picture

The thing in your closet is

The thing in your closet is a test jack for the phone wires in you apartment unit. That is likely where the wire that feeds you phone outlets enters your unit. You would also go there to see if a problem was the wiring in your unit or outside of it. Kind of weird that it is in the closet ceiling. Usually that would be built into the wall plate of one of the phone jacks in the apartment. It is sort of ironic that they had a Uverse Event right by where you live. Do they know you run this website? If they are smart they will send their best tech they got to install you.

SeanM402's picture

Wireless is not mandatory,

Wireless is not mandatory, they can run a cable to a PC but it depends on your place it if will be easy or not

FoxCitiesTV's picture

I think it is a bit ironic,

I think it is a bit ironic, yes. I guess they're doing tent events around apartment complexes where they might not be able to go door-to-door like they did at my parents' house. They were out again yesterday at the next complex coming in my direction. Wonder if they'll make it down to mine. (I hope not, though, since we only have three guest parking spaces and it'd be hard to hold any type of 'event' there)

Thanks for the info on the test jack. I was curious about it, because I thought maybe that'd be somewhere they'd consider putting the gateway, but it'd actually be a lousy location because it's totally out of the way of any cable jacks and there's no network cabling in my unit at all.

I don't know if they knew it was me at the tent, but if they follow the site, I'm sure they'll know it's me when my name filters back to the home office. I hope, actually, they send me an average installer, because I'd much rather get the experience most people get with installation rather than 'special treatment,' so I can do a decent review on the process. I have dealt with U-Verse installers a little bit over at my parents' house and they seemed to be very knowledgeable and responsive. Actually had a great conversation with the one tech who got me into talking about my Media Center PC.

Anonymous's picture

Could anyone tell me what

Could anyone tell me what extra fees/charges are attached to the bill besides the standard 5 - 5 1/2% sales tax? Just trying to compare the extra fees that are more than likely tied to the service with that of TWC.

Anonymous's picture

Could anyone that has

Could anyone that has U-verse and has had TWC or any of the satellite services please give a review of the HD quality on U-verse vs. the others? I have really been leaning hard on getting U-verse but I have read many reviews on how the HD quality with U-verse is not very good and has a lot of blocking, not very sharp, etc... That has me a bit worried about switching over.

MP's picture

Just got U-verse installed

Just got U-verse installed this morning - and so far, I couldn't be happier with the decision.

1) The HD quality is as good as, if not better than Time Warner - no blocking that I've seen (though it's only been half a day). Similar to any of the platforms, most of it depends on what the broadcaster is sending out (upconverted programs as opposed to true HD programming don't look as good - that's unavoidable with any of the carriers)....I've been watching a lot of HD football, and that tends to show the glitching if it's going to be there and I haven't seen any.

2) The install was fantastic - Had all three areas switched over - 3 receivers (1 HD DVR), Internet (We got the Elite level as the reported speed was to be on par with standard Road Runner - seems to be the same as I was used to), and Voice....everything was set up just how I wanted it, and little to no real downtime in daily activities (I think we were without internet for about 15 minutes total from disconnect of TWC to functioning U-verse). The installer showed up promptly at 10 am and was out the door at 1:30. That was perfect.

3)Mark mentioned in a previous thread (I think the one about the intall at his parents' house) about the interactivity and interface being superior to TWC...and I believe someone mentioned that might only be important to a tech-head....wrong. The interface design is a lot friendlier and much more intuitive than the sterile TWC layout. There's all sorts of little beeps and boops which I keep discovering....the ability to program the DVR remotely via the Internet is wicked cool. Heck, I even found myself spending twenty minutes marveling at how the Yellow Pages even felt hip on the platform.

All in all, I was hoping just that U-verse would be on equal footing with the TWC offerings I've ran with the last decade, with the obvious addition of the HD Fox, CW, Sci Fi, USA, and both SD and HD NFL Network, but this has far exceeded my expectations already.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks for the information.

Thanks for the information. I have broken down and signed up for the U200 and Elite internet service. It will be installed on Saturday morning. Hopefully all goes well.

FoxCitiesTV's picture

Mine is also scheduled for

Mine is also scheduled for 8-10am Saturday. Hope all goes well!

MP's picture

One other note: I can't

One other note: I can't recall where it was posted here, but there was someone who noted that they found the sound output on the U-verse was lower than their other components, thus making it neccessary to 'crank it' when using the U-verse...I noticed the same thing. But then I noticed that the converter itself also has a volume output in the box itself....

I.E. - when my install was done, the U-verse remote controlled the TV volume - I re-did the hookups so the sound ran through my home theater system, but both seemed low. Then I hit, I believe, the 'At&T' button on the remote - it may have been a different button, it was easy to figure out at the time - and noticed the volume was now being adjusted within the box itself. (a grey volume tab showed up on the right side of the screen, and it was set a a medium output - I think at '12' when the max is '25') Once I had it to the level I was comfortable with, I switched the universal remote back for volume control via my receiver.

I hope that made sense, but it was a little trickery that resolved the low volume output, and may come in handy for others out there that find it's audio a little less than expected at first: that issue is just a setting, not a limit of the system. Just an FYI....

FoxCitiesTV's picture

I'm glad they have a

I'm glad they have a variable audio output. That's one thing that bugged me about all the 8300HD boxes I've had through Time Warner in past... that they've all defaulted to "fixed" audio output, though I always end up changing it to variable to match it to other components I have.

Jerry's picture

Thinking about getting

Thinking about getting u-verse. Time-Warner monthly statement makes my hair stand on end every month. Can anyone tell me if the set up allows me to use the HD tuner on my TV to pick up the free network HD feeds without having to subscribe to AT&T's HD package?

FoxCitiesTV's picture

AT&T's U-Verse is not a

AT&T's U-Verse is not a cable service like Time Warner. You must have a receiver on each TV you want to use, as you cannot tune channels directly with your TV. You must pay AT&T's "HD Technology Fee" to get HD channels, which I believe is still $10 per month.


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