AT&T U-verse TV Review

U-verse TV’s moderate selection and below-average equipment don’t justify its high prices.

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U-verse TV’s moderate selection and below-average equipment don’t justify its high prices.
Overall Rating3 out of 5
Channels:
140–470+
Pricing:
$50–$145/mo.
Contract terms:
1 yr. minimum

The bottom line: AT&T U-verse has four TV packages to choose from with a selection of 140–550 channels. It uses a fiber optic network, which makes the service more reliable than satellite or cable TV. U-verse’s pricing is more competitive if you bundle it with Internet and/or phone service, but on its own, it’s priced higher than competing packages. We also found a few nonsense HD fees, and U-verse’s top DVR has a smaller storage capacity than most of the competition.

PROS

  • More than 550 channels
  • Fiber-optic network

CONS

  • Higher regular rates
  • Separate HD fees
  • Below average DVRs

Heads up: AT&T U-verse is not available nationwide, so before you continue reading use our ZIP finder to see if AT&T U-verse is available near you.

Find out if AT&T U-verse is available near you.

AT&T U-verse pricing

Beware of high pricing and strange fees.

Packages1st yr. pricingRegular pricing
U-family$50/mo.$93/mo.
U200$70/mo.$108/mo.
U300$75/mo.$123/mo.
U450$125/mo.$145/mo.

What’s the real price?

U-verse packages are listed at one-year promotional prices, and though those prices are lower than regular rates, they’re still pretty high. For example, the U-family package starts at $50 per month, which is not very competitive and only lasts a year. The U-family regular rate is even higher ($93 per month), but by the time that price kicks in, you would be out of the one-year contract, so it wouldn’t make sense to pay the regular rate. In other words, you could just cancel your service or enter another contract to continue getting the promotional price.

The biggest reason for the high promotional price and even higher regular rate: AT&T wants to sell you a “bundle.” You can get U-verse standalone TV service, but AT&T pushes you to bundle it with Internet and/or phone service. If you do add Internet or phone service (or both), you’ll pay a lower price for TV service, technically. If you see AT&T advertising lower prices than what’s listed here, it’s because you’re seeing the bundle price and not the standalone price.

Additional fees

There’s a one-time activation fee of $49 for each U-verse TV package. In the many conversations we had with AT&T representatives (while posing as customers), every agent offered to waive this fee for us. We’d be willing to bet you can talk your way out of the fee as well, regardless of what level of service you’re pursuing.

If you want to connect multiple TVs, you’ll need to pay for a receiver ($9 a month), and you’ll need one for each additional TV—the same with most TV services.

As for other fees, U-verse is a little unusual. There’s no monthly DVR fee, which is great (the DVR isn’t), but it could just be another reason package prices are so high. We also find it odd that there’s a separate HD fee ($10 a month) and HD sports fee ($7 a month), so you’re looking at an additional $17 a month to get sports channels in high definition.

AT&T U-verse packages

Packages are comparable to other TV services, except when it comes to pricing.

PackagesChannelsContract
U-family140+1 yr. minimum
U200300+1yr. minimum
U300390+1yr. minimum
U450470+1yr. minimum

AT&T “U-family” package

Not as much selection as you think, but it has family channels.

The U-family package has more than 140 channels, and it includes such family favorites as Disney and Nickelodeon. Though 140 channels sounds like a lot, some channels are fairly obscure, such as the Eternal World Television Network and Jewelry Television.

It’s worth pointing out that approximately one-third of the 140+ channels offered as part of U-family are Stingray music channels—essentially radio stations that broadcast through your TV. We find the labeling of these as “channels” a bit deceiving, although having easy access to such a variety of radio stations will be convenient for some. AT&T’s entry-level Total Home DVR is included with the U-family package. (See the “Equipment” section below for more information on AT&T’s DVRs.)

Notable channels: Animal Planet, Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, Food Network.

AT&T U-verse “U200” package

Has most of the popular cable channels.

U200’s channel count jumps up to over 300 (yes, the name has no relation to the actual number of channels). Some more popular channels make their U-verse debut at the U200 level, such as ESPN, TNT, and USA Network, as well as a wider variety of international channels. U200 also comes with the entry-level Total Home DVR. With 300+ channels and a DVR, this package should be enough for the average TV viewer.

Notable channels: BBC America, Sundance TV, TCM, WE TV.

AT&T U-verse “U300” package

A better DVR, and you get more sports and movies.

U300 boosts the channel count to over 470, which gives you some more desirable options. The included channel selection ranges from the very specific (like the second alternate Fox Sports Southeast channel) to the very obscure (such as Pivot, DoSomething, and JUCE, among many more). Showtime, Starz, and other channels that would normally cost extra are included in the U300 package, as is AT&T’s upgraded Total Home DVR.

Notable channels: Starz, Encore, Showtime, The Movie Channel.

AT&T U-verse “U450” package

If you have to have everything, this is it.

The top-shelf U-verse service is U450, and as far as content goes, it leaves very little to be desired. U450 offers a range of over 550 channels, and unlike the lesser offerings, the HD version of every mainstream channel is included in the price. Many of the so-called “Premium Add-On” channels that are available at all levels of U-verse, such as HBO2 and beIN Sports, are included as part of the package.

Notable channels: HBO2, LRW, BEIN Sports, Cinemax.

AT&T U-verse channel offerings

Channel selection is competitive, but you still won’t find NFL SUNDAY TICKET.

NFL fans will notice the lack of the NFL SUNDAY TICKET as a programming option. The NFL SUNDAY TICKET remains exclusive to DIRECTV, but now that AT&T and DIRECTV have merged (more on this later), we’re not sure if things will change.

Still, the NFL Network, RedZone, and other football channels are offered, which may be enough for most football fans. You also have access to the NBA League Pass, as well as comparable options for MLB and NHL broadcasting—not to mention plenty of soccer and other more “global” sports interest channels.

International offerings and more

From Chinese business news to Central American sports outlets to Russian programming packages, U-verse seems to offer a bit of everything for everyone. There’s also a particularly large variety of channels offered for Spanish-speaking customers, many of which are included starting with the U-family package.

What’s in HD?

U-verse says it has over 225 channels available in HD, but you’ll only get that number with the U450 package and the HD Premium Tier ($7 a month). If you want to know how many HD channels are in the other packages, you can ask a representative (it will also depend on your area).

Online channel guide

U-verse offers an abundance of channels, so check out the link below to get a clearer idea of whether or not they offer what you’re after. AT&T U-VERSE CHANNEL GUIDE

AT&T U-verse equipment and features

Two DVRs with the same name and basic features.

Total Home DVR

Picking an AT&T U-verse DVR

U-verse offers two DVR units both called the “Total Home DVR.” One is basic, the other is advanced, and for some reason they have the same name.

The Basic Total Home DVR lets you watch or record up to four programs simultaneously, and it can record 233 hours of standard-definition (SD) programming or 65 hours of high definition (HD). However, only two of the four channels being watched or recorded simultaneously can be HD.

The Advanced Total Home DVR has a higher recording capacity (155 hours in HD, 422 in SD) and is available only with the U300 and U450 package. Up to eight channels can be watched or recorded at once—up to four of them in HD simultaneously.

With both DVRs, live TV can be paused or rewound up to five minutes. You can also move into a different room in your house, turn on another TV or mobile device, and pick up the program where you last left off. All the expected DVR functions are available with either Total Home DVR, including programmable recording schedules, a scrollable, in-depth channel guide, and access to mobile apps.

ProductRecording capacityStorageSimultaneous recording
Basic Total Home DVR65 HD/233 SDN/A*2 channels
Advanced Total Home DVR155 HD/422SDN/A*4 channels

*AT&T does not list storage capacity for DVRs. HD = High Definition, SD = Standard Definition

Apps and more apps

The U-verse App is like most other TV apps: you can watch live TV and On Demand titles, manage the DVR, and turn your phone into a remote control. However, unlike Comcast, DISH, and DIRECTV’s apps, you can’t download shows. So if you’re without an Internet connection, you’re out of luck.

U-verse also offers a handful of additional apps, like the BuddyTV app (provides recommendations), but we question their value. For example, the U-verse Easy Remote is its own app. Why not make it a feature of the the U-verse App and not a separate app that you have to download and store on your device? Same can be said of the MyAT&T App (for account information), the AT&T Troubleshoot & Resolve App, and the U-verse Pix & Flix app (see photos from your phone on TV), and more. There’s even a dedicated app to sharing what you watch on TV: the U-Verse Social… and that’s all it does.

AT&T U-verse customer service

We don’t expect much from customer service, and that’s what we got.

We’re not going to blow anyone’s mind with the suggestion that customer service for a telecommunications company is subpar. AT&T’s U-verse meets the same very, very low standards as virtually all of its competitors. In fairness, things could arguably be worse.

U-verse scored a 69 (out of 100) on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2015 survey of over 14,000 customers. The average score for national and regional television service providers was 71 (the lowest average of all 11 industries that the ACSI surveys). Following AT&T’s merger with DIRECTV, the company’s managers promised to address this, but we won’t hold our breath.

Our experience

We did call and chat online with AT&T representatives, posing as potential new customers. Representatives took nearly every question we asked as a prompt to launch into a litany of features offered by U-verse, and they rarely addressed our actual questions.

To avoid the hassle, we recommend using the chat feature on AT&T U-verse’s website. Wait times are short, and you can have the conversation e-mailed to you after it’s finished for your own records—very handy should there be a dispute of claims down the road.

Conclusion

If you just want TV service, you’re better off going somewhere else.

It doesn’t make sense to go with U-verse if you’re only looking for TV service. Bundling may be a different story, but with U-verse’s high pricing and subpar DVRs, you can get more value from other TV service providers.

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Our U-verse pick

If we had to go with U-verse, we’d take the U200 package. It has most of the popular cable channels (Comedy Central, USA, TNT, A&E), and a DVR is included, even if it doesn’t record much.

If you want to know more and decide for yourself, here’s another overview of U-verse packages.

What about the AT&T/DIRECTV merger?

In 2015, AT&T purchased DIRECTV to become the nation’s largest TV service provider, but so far, not much has changed: AT&T and DIRECTV still offer separate TV packages; the NFL SUNDAY TICKET is only on DIRECTV; and the PAC-12 Network is still not on DIRECTV. However, if you happen to have AT&T wireless and are interested in purchasing DIRECTV, you might qualify for a $10/mo discount. That’s about it.

We’re interested to see if the merger will have an effect on customer satisfaction ratings, but it’s still too early to tell. According to the ASCI, customer satisfaction usually takes a hit after a merger, so we’ll see what happens.

If any changes do occur with AT&T or DIRECTV, we’ll update our site.

Don't care for AT&T U-verse? Find other TV options.

  • NB

    AT&T SUCKS. This the worst company I have ever had the displeasure of working with. They lie constantly and shuffle you around on the phone for hours from department to department, No department knows anything about anything else, they barely know about their own department. As I write this I have been on hold for 1 hour and 1 minute being shuffled around to get the retention department. I have already filed a compliant with the BBB ( and there are a lot there) and I’ll be filing another one tomorrow morning, as I have already wasted enough time on them today. The have changed my service at their will and told me I must have changed something and I would have to pay to change it back. This company is great big scam. Run, run far and fast

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      That stinks…were you calling to cancel service?

  • Charles Gooden

    I have had AT&T uverse for over 5 years. and noticed every time they give these special rates to new subscribers my tv service rates have gone up. also look at the ratio of regular tv programing verses the paid tv programing and you can see you are not getting your moneys worth. Now they have dropped Accuweather for another paid tv program. and for that reason i will soon be dropping ATT Uverse. I don’t need to pay to see a channel that has already paid them to be on the air. GOOD BYE AT&T.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Let us know how it goes with cancelling. Also, are you going to go with another service?

      • James Taylor

        These scamming scumbags lie cheat and steel there way to your wallet they asked my 75 yr old mother about upgrading her net and went up on the bill and that created a entire new contract that she was not made aware of and now our pro mo is over theregoing up over 50 on the bill 200 plus taxes for 200 menit house phone tv and shit net service the uverse boxes need reset daily there sales people are a bunch of lieing bastards that have no clue what thereselling they will promise the moon knowing ther is no moon screw you att never again

  • Cameron Smith

    The worst cable and internet service I have ever had. In the one year I had service I had over a dozen service outages. They sent technitions out 5-6 times, but the problem was never resolved. When I kept pushing that the servce was not better they told me I had to pay more money to get a higher speed internet. I spent hours on the phone. They gave me very little compensation for all the days I did not have service. It was unreal.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      Yikes. Are you still with AT&T or did you end up going with another service?

  • Nicole Berg

    I’ve a question for you Scott T: Who is at fault when cable or broadcast shows are listed erroneously? Who’s ultimately responsible for feeding a channel’s line-up into U-Verse’s channel menu listing – the cable service or the channel itself? It just seems U-Verse does a lousy job @ keeping track of what is running on several channels on a given week, & I’m talking about the CURRENT week, not just some understandable flubs planning programming a few weeks ahead. ATT U-Verse consistently muffs up when a certain show is supposed to play at a certain time on PBS channels, main cable channels & even children’s programming. Often the description of certain shows that are already re-runs are wrong or are even just flat-out made up – like whoever job it is to fill in the episode description just doesn’t give a crap. I’d love to know who that person is & where they actually work – @ U-Verse or the particular cable channels in question.

    • http://www.reviews.org Scott T.

      The provider, AT&T U-verse, is responsible.

      We’ve heard from other customers who’ve had similar issues. In fact, one customer found an incorrect zipcode was the issue. (Could this be your error too?) Have you contacted customer service about the issue? If yes, were they helpful at all? If you haven’t yet, let us know what happens. We’re curious to know what’s going on here.

  • harleygwr

    I’m shelling out. $120 for basic cable here in Chicago really don’t watch much TV so I switched to u verse. Got a super deal so goodbye cable .For a long time Comcast was the only sheriff in town now they finely have competition and they can’t rip everyone off.Got same channels for halve the price. For two years then its still $40 bucks cheaper.Your losing your strangle hold cable goodbye and good riddance

  • Todd Polen

    Just spent 1 hr 1/2 to voice my displasure for AT&T uverse to not sign up for CBS. Opening round of NCAA basketball tourney. I called 3 different numbers, waited 11/2 hrs, got hung up on 2 times, spoke with 11 different people, talked to Texas, transferred to India, and ended up in the Phillipines. Still don’t have CBS, and they gave me $10.00 a day for 2 days as a credit for my Inconvience. I asked if I didn’t get it 30 days will I get 300.00? Of course the answer was no. The supervisor in the Phillipines assured me that they were doing everything to negotiate a deal with CBS for me!!;(. Told him I am buying the service that had CBS. He said I bought a package, and that I m still getting 95 % of the package. 10 years and premium monthly packages and loyalty does not mean much to AT&T .

  • Sarah Williams

    I have been a U-verse customer for over 4 years and each year after my contract is up they try to jack my bill up around $40. This was not a big deal for a while because I would call them and they would give me a promotion to knock my bill back down close to what it was when I originally signed up making my bill usually in the $130’s for 2 tv’s with DVRs (no HBO Uverse 200) and internet. Now my bill is in the $170s and they say they cannot find a promotion to help get it back down. Mind you, I have 2 accounts with them at 2 different homes and they are refusing to help me get my monthly bill down. Very disappointing considering I have recommended U-verse to 3 ppl who ended up going with their company. Time to start searching for a new cable company!!

    • Mike Donnely

      Switch one house to Comcast. They will wire it for cable. A year later, cancel both houses providers and switch each to a different provider and get the new customer promotional rate. Do that every year. Game them with their own game.

  • Joe Doe

    In U300 they offer Showtime etc, of course they do but not in HD which is optional, so that offer is useless, who watch analog these days.

  • Brad Owens

    I am an AT&T customer, and I’ll tell anyone thinking of becoming one, DON’T FUCKING DO IT!!! There are few entities on this planet I hate more than AT&T U-verse; ISIS is the only one that comes immediately to mind. Their service is awful, their pricing is worse, and their customer service is non-existent. If AT&T crashed tomorrow and went out of business, I’d hold a city-wide party on my dime. AT&T IS FUCKING AWFUL-STAY AWAY AT ALL COSTS!!!

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