Monday, August 1, 2011

How Do You View U-Verse?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 1, 2011 at 10:56 AM

I had AT&T's U-Verse installed in my house last week. If that old saying about only using ten percent of your brain is true, then I am probably also only using about ten percent of U-Verse so far, but I don't have buyer's remorse either.

AT&T and Comcast seem to be waging a war for dominance of Memphis, or at least the part of Midtown where I live. For months, our mailboxes have been stuffed with three or four mailers a week from each company plugging their bundled service packages of Internet, land line, and television.

Before last week I had AT&T (Bell South) Internet service and land-line service and Comcast cable, for a combined monthly bill, including taxes, of about $125.

In a moment of weakness, curiousity, or longing for wireless, I took a cold call from an AT&T representative pitching U-Verse one evening about a month ago. Some 45 minutes later, I signed up. I was sold by the salesman's pitch on the benefits and the competitive price of about $125 a month for the first year.

Several months ago we signed up for U-Verse but AT&T's techs, despite working at our house for half a day, were not able to install it. This time the two technicians finished the job in about five hours. You have to be in the house the whole time. It happened to be my birthday so I was off work, but this was no party. The techs sure earned their money, especially the one who had to crawl into the basement crawl space.

I'm a first-grader when it comes to technology and a cheapskate when it comes to household finance. I asked the tech guys here at the office of Contemporary Media what they thought of U-Verse, and they said, unconditionally, "go for it."

So far, my wireless connection has been flawless and has allowed me to move my laptop computer from upstairs to downstairs. Speed is noticeably faster, especially on videos, even though I did not order the fastest package. I have not yet figured out how to reconfigure my printer.

As for television, there are now not two but three remotes on my living room table, or four if I misplace the one for the stereo tuner. Of course I get more TV garbage than ever, but it is easy enough to find the 10-20 channels my wife and I watch regularly. We spent a little time last weekend watching the Tennis Channel, which we did not get in our Comcast package. We also watched the "fart mask" segment from Jackass. Yes, we are living on a doomed planet. We don't have the desire or patience so far to record programs but I suspect we will sooner or later. I like the music channel and played around with it for a while. Surfing one click at a time now wastes even more time than before and leaves me muttering to myself "Get a life."

Telephone service is the same, except for the pause and hiccup of a few seconds before there is a dial tone. I wonder how many other fogeys can't give up their land lines.

Canceling Comcast was simple enough. One phone call, no argument, no hassle, no balance due. I got a $50 Visa credit from AT&T, which took about 15 minutes to register and will activate in 30 days.

I guess if I ever sell my house or rent it to boarders I can brag about the "free wireless" like a Hampton Inn. I expect to have to go to the mat with AT&T a year from now over new taxes and higher rates, but that was probably coming anyway with my old combo package.

Any suggestions welcome, but remember, speak slowly and use one syllable words if possible.

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