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The Power of Content

March 2, 2009

AT&T’s U-Verse (you know, their new TV offering…that can be bundled with phone and internet into one, attractive, cost-efficient package) is moving into my neighborhood.  I’ve received nice direct mail pieces steadily over the last six months – some serious volume.  Anyway, my Charter (recently bankrupt) cable service has been failing me recently from a technical standpoint – there’s nothing more frustrating than tryinguverse to watch a show and having the pixelation get worse and worse over the course of 60 minutes.  You watch and put up with it for the first 20-30 minutes, then it keeps getting worse.  You watch another 15 minutes  but have trouble even following the show  because of the combination of increased pixels, faltering sound, and your increasing rage at the fact that you’re still watching.  Anyway, I digress…


So, I decided to spend some time comparison shopping – Charter vs. DirectTV vs. U-Verse.  I’ve been thinking about it for a while now mainly because I’ve never been thrilled with the lack of some sports options on the Charter offering (Big Ten Network, Tennis Channel, etc..) – which I’d been told the other options have.  Try as you might, these are not quick phone calls, even with a little research up front.


I called DirectTV first.  They had the channels I want, no installation fees, nice price, lots of HD…cool.  Wait…ten minutes (felt like 20) into the call I learned that the pricing was introductory…and you have to lock into a two-year program.  It gets expensive.  Done.


Then I called AT&T (who were not available over the weekend).  Nice pricing on the whole bundle, no set-up fees, HD, and some cool perks like whole home DVR (pause the game in the bedroom, walk downstairs, and then continue watching in the family room), ability to record 4 (that’s right, FOUR) channels at a time, and remote programming from my computer…nice.  No contract to lock in…and 30 day money back guarantee??  Sold.   Until I did a quick double check on the channel lineup – they don’t have my channels!  NOOOOOOOOO!


So, despite all the cool tech of the AT&T offering, I just can’t make the switch…at least not until they get my channels.  Simple content (once significant price discrepancies were taken out of the equation), despite all the enticing technological benefits, was still the main factor in my decision.


I called Charter back, and just set up an appointment to have them come and try and fix the pixelation problem for now.  It’s the least effort-intensive option available.  And I’ve heard I can find some of the programming I’m looking for online…nice.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Crystal permalink*
    March 2, 2009 11:38 pm

    DirecTV just gave me free Showtime for a year to celebrate our anniversary. U-Verse isn’t available on my street. But if it was, I’d expect them to be as sweet and thoughtful as DirecTV. Good luck with the cable guy.

  2. Kim permalink
    March 4, 2009 12:19 pm

    I wish these companies would offer a bundling option that didn’t include a land line. I recognize that some people still use them, but I would assume that over 50% of the target uses a cell phone instead of a land line. Why not create a bundling package that has similarly great value for the non land-liners?

    PS: U-Verse isn’t available in my hood either.

  3. Heidi permalink
    March 4, 2009 2:59 pm

    If AppleTV forged an alliance with sports networks, that might be a viable option, but no, it only lets you buy movies and TV shows, and play music and view photos through your TV:

    Or if Vizio makes a deal with Hulu, that might work for you:

    Here’s Hulu’s list of sports stuff:

    I haven’t done any price checks on this stuff, so you might want to start saving up by ditching Charter if you can handle living without sports for a few months. Heh.

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