Reviewing the AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR

The U-verse DVR is an innovative device that has many cable and satellite customers considering a move to AT&T. What can the AT&T U-verse DVR do that your cable digital recorder cannot? How does the U-verse device compare to DIRECTV and Dish Network models currently available?

The main selling point of the Total Home DVR as it is called is its ability to work throughout your home. With the U-verse DVR, you can watch your recorded content on up to 7 other TV sets in the home. While there is not an additional DVR fee to do this, do keep in mind you need a U-verse receiver at the other TV sets, and these are $7 each.

What about the capacity of the U-verse DVR?   Most cable TV DVR boxes run from 80 GB to 160 GB, which usually means at most about 100 hours of standard definition content can be saved on the digital video recorder. The standard U-verse DVR holds 133 hours of SD, or 37 hours of HD content. If you subscribe to the U-verse 450 or if you pay the $10 a month HD technology fee you are entitled to the new, larger DVR. This U-verse DVR will hold up to 233 hours SD/65 hours HD programming. This larger DVR is fairly competitive when comparing its capacity to those offered by DIRECTV and Dish Network DVRs.

Now if you live in a crowded home where there is lots of competition for the TV, U-verse may have the answers for your family. One of the selling points AT&T is pushing is the fact that with U-verse you can record up to four shows at once on a single DVR. This blows cable and satellite DVRs away, as right now they can only do two programs at a time on one digital video recorder. As mentioned earlier, you can also play back any of your recorded content throughout the home, as long as there is a U-verse receiver hooked up.

Other features of the U-verse DVR are similar to those offered by cable and satellite DVR units. You and pause, rewind or fast forward through any content that has been recorded just like with a VCR. In addition, U-verse subscribers can record shows or entire series, as well as manage their DVR content through the remote control and on-screen menu. The AT&T DVR can also be controlled remotely through a hard wired internet connection or mobile phone.

A final consideration that favors U-verse over cable and satellite TV companiesis that they include the DVR in may of their packages. The U200, U200 Latino, U300, and U450 bundles all include the Total Home DVR in the base price. If you go with the U-100 or U-Basic packages there is a $15.00 a month DVR price tag attached. This pricing structure is extremely competitive with cable companies, as they usually charge anywhere from $10 to $18 per DVR device.   Satellite TV companies Dish Network and DIRECTValso charge for each DVR that you have in your home, so U-verse has an advantage in this area.




  2. After having Tivos for 10 years and Directv DVRs for 5 years I am surprised how basic the Uverse Dvr is.
    The series recordings can not be set in order.
    Can not limit the number of recordings saved for any series.
    Many other problems including playback of a HD recording stopping to inform viewer that 2 HD programs are currently recording.
    The DVR was obviously designed by people that never owned a dvr from Tivo or Directv.
    If I had never owned a dvr before Uverse would be amazing.
    I am very disappointed.

  3. U-verse is still better then Cox/Time Warner Cable hands down. When I was with cable, my crappy “Scientic Atlanta” DVR only held 30 measly hours of programming, not to mention the horrible lag times changing channels and using the channel guide. Oh yeah, and Cox cable advertises “Free HD”, B.S., they charge you extra for all your HD boxes. You got 4 HDTV’s, thats like $40 additional for each HD receiver, at&t U-Verse doesn’t charge extra for HD boxes, they’re included in the price of the package you sign up for. You pay a $10/month fee and you have free HD receivers on all other TV’s.

    Ohh boo hoo about the DVR not being able to set series recordings in order. What’s the deal? Do you sit at home and watch TV that much that this very minimul incapability gives you something to bitch about. It still stores twice as much as your DTV receiver and oh yeah, it’s like night and day surfing through the channel guide. I had DTV, when flipping through the channel guide, you would have to scroll up/down, go get ready for the morning, then when you come back, it may have scrolled to the next channel in the line-up. DTV sucks, I’d compare DTV to cable….old technology.

    I switched from crappy Cox cable a month ago and am loving AT&T U-Verse. Take my advice, switch to AT&T, you’ll be extremely happy. If possible, see if your install tech will drop in Cat5 lines to all your receivers. You don’t get all the HD compression you normally get with using coax.

  4. John after reading your post I wanted to correct you…uverse can record up to 8 standard definition and 4 HD programs if you are close enough to the VRAD box to recieve the strongest signals. If you are farther away then no you cannot. It sounds like with your profile you have 2HD/2SD

  5. While what they are saying in this article may be great to some customers of U-verse; I think I will stick with my provider/employer DISH Network. You may not be able to record up to 8 TVs on the one receiver, but we do have an award winning Dual-Tuner DVR that can record on 2 TVs without having to pay an additional charge in the 2nd room. That saves me money right there. With the 722k receiver DISH carries you can record up to 350 hours SD or 55 hours HD. If you get the 922 receiver you can record up to 500 hours SD or 100 hours HD. That is a lot more than U-verse can do with their DVR. I think I like my option better.

  6. I’ve had U-verse for 3+ yrs now, and it sucks! The only good thing about it is being able to record 2 SD and 2 HD programs at once. I am on my second DVR box. I was having so much trouble with the last one with the screen freezing causing me to have to reboot the box. If it did this during a recording it would record the entire show, but with the freeze making it impossible to view. After constant complaining they gave me a new box…it holds 400+ hrs. of SD or 70+ hrs (??) of HD. But the new box just started doing the same thing. Also, the box…not the remote…seems to have a mind of it’s own. I enter one channel number but it goes elsewhere, or goes to the channel I entered and suddenly jumps to the SD channel. Also, unlike my first box, when I fast forward or replay, the sound takes about 2 or 3 seconds to catch up. The box also continuously rebooted on its own when it was first installed. Finally, the service tech that responded to my last complaint gave me his number to call if I had any problems with the new box. But, when I called he NEVER called me back or attempted to contact me.

  7. Ron,
    I’m with you all the way, that the Uverse DVR is a POS! I’ve been with AT&T for 5 months and my peeves are different than yours. My box doesn’t freeze very often – only done that like twice – but I REALLY hate the way the main DVR box lags in response. You hit the ‘guide’ button and the box does nuthin’. It has a really really small IR window so if you don’t point the remote straight about 1 foot below the box, it doesn’t work. So I aim a little more carefully, hit ‘guide’ again, however, it was really just processing my 1st ‘guide’ request, so this time the guide pops up, and goes away because I hit it twice!! This type of response occurs throughout the ENTIRE UI. Yes, I could be a little impatient. Correct that, I’m VERY impatient! This lag happens kinda quick, but it’s annoying! I guess I expect better performance from ‘modern’ technology! I mean, 11 years ago I had a TiVo box with my DTV cable and that box was THE BOMB! It about READ YOUR MIND, it was so intuitive and FAST! From what I’ve seen from new installs of Dish NW and all the other non-TiVo GUI’s, the TiVo box was, lets see, about 12 yrs ahead of it’s time! That was a GREAT UI, and part of what ruined me for all these other crappy, laggy UI’s!

    My Uverse remote executes ‘phantom’ commands. I love it! Often while pushing regular tv buttons it will suddenly go to On Demand, and believe me, I’m really careful! The 1st few times I thought it was me hitting other buttons, but over the months I know it’s just some IR code glitch. When that happens, if you didn’t have the live tv on record but you had paused it to, say, put your kid to bed, then you loose all that was being cached and boy that pisses me off!

    Right now I’m watching a basketball game, and all of a sudden, all the way across the mid-bottom of the screen a white 4″ high banner has jumped up: ‘Press OK to browse a list of recordings’, kinda like when the system reboots or the ‘On Demand’ page. This is a total UI glitch! I pressed nothing. I can’t see the game score! Try as I might, press ‘back’, ‘exit’, etc., it won’t go away unless I go to a new recording or channel. This has been happening a few times a week…

    I think all that has to do with the ‘Motorola’ name on it. When I was with Comcast/Xfinity the Motorola DVR there was an EVEN BIGGER POS! 10 yrs of HELL with Comcast – had to replace that box almost yearly – it would just die! Yes it was on a power conditioner. What was a biggger tease is on the Comcast website they say they have a TiVo option in select markets, and my city is in their list, however, every local rep has NO CLUE what I’m talking about, and they’re surprised to see THEIR site saying they can do TiVo, cuz they can’t! WTF? Best Buy says TiVo only works with cable. The rumor mill has TiVo on shaky financial ground, and with speculation that Apple may enter the IPTV provider market in the coming years, so am I about to switch back to Xfinity and BUY a few TiVo boxes? Ah….NOT!!!

    I’m REALLY tempted, cuz DAMN I miss that TiVo UI of 11 yrs ago and only WONDER how good it could be now???

    On the other hand, the Uverse IPTV system has some pretty cool benefits: because I’m close enough to their neighborhood CO that I can record 3 HD channels at once, and supposedly 6 simultaneous non-HD. I say supposedly because I’ve never tried and have no idea why anyone would? 3 HD channels at once happens quite a bit with two kids, my wife and I. It’s nice how you can watch recorded programs from any other box in the house. I heard they have a wireless box so I can put a TV in the back yard without running wiring. So check this out: most of the lagging complaints I have with the DVR, THEY’RE ABSENT IN THE NETWORKED BOXES AT MY OTHER TV’S!!! Yea, they work faster, do everything better, and I can point the remote at the wall behind me and it works! I’m calling my Xfinity rep and having him move this DVR to my most obsure seldom used tv!!

    So I guess Xfinity is the lesser of 4 evils, is the way I see it, until my dream of a new provider called ‘Apple’ makes their big move! Imagine spending 1/2 as much on tv because you can order channels ‘al-la carte’ like on iTunes?!?! It’s gonna be big and I think it could happen!

    I could go on forever! How about more accurate bluetooth or just RF remotes instead of these crappy 20 yr old tech IR remotes…….?

  8. ….oh and I forgot to mention another big Uverse benefit is my configuration, the settings on the box, are apparently backed up to the cloud! Not too long after I signed up, my DVR took a crap. When the tech put a new DVR in, it picked up all my series recordings! They were repopulated to my box once he logged me on. It didn’t save my recordings but at least the big work was saved.

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