I have a reason to be thankful for my troubles today. The disappointment of canceling my satellite service and the trouble of signing up for AT&T DSL have given way to the ultimate destination I was seeking in the first place. Turns out it is called U-Verse.
Background: I called AT&T today because I got my first bill. The phone line was significantly more than I expected so I was calling about that. As I was on hold, I was browsing their site and came across a DSL service they offer WITHOUT needing a phone line. I asked the representative about it, noting that the man who helped me before had a real strong accent and I never truly felt he understood what I wanted. She started to switch to this new DSL, when she asked me what I was doing with TV service. "Funny you should ask," I say.
She then told me about a newer, "advanced" technology of delivering TV through fiber optics, never once using satellite along the way. From there, she patiently waited as I read and researched this service called U-Verse. With the fiber optics line comes vastly faster internet speeds of up to 10 meg down, despite getting an internet package that touts 3 meg. I reviewed the technology quickly and compared the channel line up to what I have now. Locals are in HD and there are about 10 more channels that I'm not getting in HD with Comcast. (Plus there's ESPN-U. That's for you, Lupka.)
They were running a promotion for $250 check to people who got TV and internet and there is no commitment. That'll come in handy with the $700 repair I'm having done next week. First month is free as I try it out. The package I chose will run me $94/month. That saves me $40 over Comcast and I'll be completely out of their terrible structure. (I see today that I ended my internet service with them not a moment too soon.) The rep even offered to back-date all my current DSL charges since it was never quite what I wanted. I am so fortunate to have gotten her as my rep when I called!
Hopefully there will be no unpleasant surprises when they install next Saturday. A process that takes 4-6 hours apparently. But I'm already very excited at the possibilities...chief among them, the ability to use my AT&T phone to set my DVR to record remotely. Whaaaaat!!!! Heck yeah!
Update: I've spent the better part of the morning reading technical forums. Seems most, if not all, users agree that the HD quality is not as good as satellite or cable. AT&T has to compress their data to fit all the streaming for HD and internet in to their pipes. (All TV providers compress, but apparently AT&T does it a bit more than satellite and cable.) What results is a lot of macroblocking, or a pixelated background and a softer image. Makes me incredibly nervous but I'm going to have them come on out and install it. First month is free, after all. Won't cut off Comcast just yet.