AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR vs. the Competition

DVRProviderSimultaneous RecordingsStorageHours of HD StorageCost per Month
U-verse Total Home DVRAT&TUp to 6Up to 1 TBUp to 330 Included in package price
GenieDIRECTV51 TBUp to 200Included in package price
Hopper 3DISH162 TBUp to 500$5.00
X1Xfinity6500 GBUp to 100$19.95
Contour Record 6Cox62 TBUp to 250$28.49
DVRU-verse Total Home DVR
ProviderAT&T
Simultaneous RecordingsUp to 6
StorageUp to 1 TB
Hours of HD StorageUp to 330
Cost per MonthIncluded in package price
DVRGenie
ProviderDIRECTV
Simultaneous Recordings5
Storage1 TB
Hours of HD StorageUp to 200
Cost per MonthIncluded in package price
DVRHopper 3
ProviderDISH
Simultaneous Recordings16
Storage2 TB
Hours of HD StorageUp to 500
Cost per Month$5.00
DVRX1
ProviderXfinity
Simultaneous Recordings6
Storage500 GB
Hours of HD StorageUp to 100
Cost per Month$19.95
DVRContour Record 6
ProviderCox
Simultaneous Recordings6
Storage2 TB
Hours of HD StorageUp to 250
Cost per Month$28.49

Data effective as of 09/6/2018.

Want to know more about a particular DVR? Check out our 2018 DVR buyers guide.

Overview

U-verse, the reliable fiber-optic TV service from AT&T, offers a ton of channels for an affordable price. But it’s not all about the channel count—the DVR can be just as important. So, how does the U-verse Total Home DVR stack up against the competition?

Pros

It comes included with your package, so there are no extra monthly rental fees. It has respectable storage and a clean user experience that lets you get straight to watching your favorite shows.

Cons

It can record four or six programs at once, depending on which U-verse package you choose. Six isn’t bad, but recording conflicts are likely to crop up if your recording limit is four. And neither limit is great compared to some of the top performers. The U-verse DVR also lacks 4K playback, which is a bummer in 2018.

Overall, the AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR offers enough storage and features to make your U-verse experience a pleasant one. It isn’t perfect, and we wouldn’t choose U-verse just to get the DVR, but we also wouldn’t let it keep us from enjoying the hundreds of fiber-optic channels U-verse offers.

Like what you see but aren’t sure if U-verse is available in your area? Enter your zip code below to find out.

What is the AT&T U-verse Total Home DVR?

AT&T Total Home DVR Image

The U-verse Total Home DVR is the AT&T answer to whole-home DVR systems like the DIRECTV Genie and the Xfinity X1. It offers plenty of storage for your recordings, plus the ability to play them back on up to six TVs at once—as long as the TVs have a U-verse box hooked up.

There are a few different models of the Total Home DVR. Which model you get depends on the U-verse package you choose and where you live, but they fall into three basic categories:

  • A base model that can record 4 shows at once
  • 500 GB model that can store up to 165 HD hours
  • 1 TB model that can record 6 programs at once

 

The base model is available to U200 packages and lower, while the 500 GB model is available only to U300 and U450 packages. The 1 TB model is available only to customers who have the Internet 1000 plan. We’ll cover more differences between these options in the hardware section below, but just a heads up that we won’t be saying much more about the base model—we just want you to know that it exists.

Compared to other top DVRs on the market, the U-verse Total Home offers fewer simultaneous recordings, but the higher-tier models can store quite a bit more HD content. In fact, the only popular DVRs that beat it on storage capacity are the Hopper 3 and the TiVo BOLT VOX.

This is where the U-verse Total Home DVR stands out:

  • Excellent HD storage capacity
  • Clean and streamlined user experience

The U-verse Total Home DVR also stands out with its clutter-free interface. There aren’t a ton of extra features on this DVR like you might find on the DIRECTV Genie or DISH Hopper 3. For some, those missing features will be a downside. But for folks that just want to sit down and watch TV without a bunch of stuff getting in the way, it’s a nice change of pace.

Features and Specs

Now that we’ve discussed what makes the U-verse Total Home DVR stand out from the competition, let’s dive deep into the hardware and specs to find out what makes it tick.

The Hardware

Like we mentioned above, there are two DVR tiers with U-verse: a 500 GB model with a four-channel recording capacity, and a 1 TB model with a six-channel recording capacity. The higher-end 1 TB DVR can store up to 330 hours of HD content, which is pretty impressive. Even the 500 GB models can store up to 165 hours—that’s still great for the size of the hard drive.

There are also a few different makes of each of these models. Essentially, different brands have made the same DVR box for AT&T, so they may look a bit different, but the specs, inputs, and features are all the same.

Cisco IPB7005

PACE IPH8010

AT&T Total Home DVR Image

Primary Features

  • Offers 500 GB or 1 TB of storage
  • Stores up to 165 or 330 hours of HD content
  • Records 4 or 6 shows at once
  • Sustains simultaneous playback on 4 or 6 TVs with U-verse receivers
  • Supports playback up to 1080p HD

Ports and Connections

  • Component video output
  • Composite video output
  • Stereo analog audio output
  • Optical audio output
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • 1 x Ethernet port
  • 1 x USB 2.0 port

Regardless of the manufacturer and exact model of your U-verse Total Home DVR, the ports, inputs, and specs will be the same.

You’ll notice in the features that the U-verse Total Home DVR supports only 1080p playback. There’s no 4K for U-verse customers—at least not yet. That’s unfortunate, but few DVRs support 4K at this time, so it’s not especially surprising.

DVR Remote

AT&T U-verse DVR Remote

In keeping with the theme of the U-verse DVR system, you won’t find a lot of bells and whistles on the U-verse remote. There are no touchpads, voice controls, or funky shapes—just a good ol’ remote control with a few U-verse specific functions added:

  • DVR controls
  • Dedicated buttons for recordings and on-demand content
  • “My Multiview” button to launch screen multiplexing

You’ve got all the basics covered, like volume and channel controls, and the remote can also control your DVD or Blu-ray player and TV thanks to its universal remote functionality. That’s about it though. If you want voice control, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

User Experience

Now that all the technical stuff is out of the way, what’s it like to actually use the U-verse Total Home DVR?

Mostly it’s a pleasant experience. The high recording capacity and simple interface make it easy to find your favorite channels, set up recordings, and navigate the DVR. The one big bummer for us is the number of simultaneous recordings, but we’ll get more into that in a bit.

ATT-U-verse-DVR-Guide Image

Recording Capacity

Like we said above, there are two different storage capacities for the Total Home DVR, depending on which U-verse plan you select: 500 GB and 1 TB. Here’s how that breaks down:

DVR StorageHours of HD Content
500 GB165
1 TB330

A total of 165 hours is nearly a week of continuous watching—unless you’re a hardcore digital pack rat, that’s probably plenty. We’d still like to see AT&T offer the 1 TB model on more packages than just the Internet 1000 though.

Where we do think the Total Home DVR falls short is in simultaneous recordings. The four and six simultaneous recordings leave users squarely in the realm of recording conflicts. Four is especially bad—just two football games and two TV episodes means you’re maxed out.

With a capacity that small, you better hope your spouse or roommate likes the same shows! We’d love to see more DVRs get on the Hopper 3’s level, with its ludicrous sixteen-show capacity that makes conflicts a thing of the past.

On-Demand Content

AT&T U-verse offers a huge channel selection (over 550!), but if you still can’t find something to watch, there’s on-demand programming. On-demand content can be accessed by pressing the “On Demand” button on the remote control or changing to channel 1.

In the on-demand library, you’ll find movies and TV shows to rent or buy, as well as some free television programs you can watch. If you’ve ever used an on-demand service from a cable company before, this will all be familiar stuff.

Mobile Experience

AT&T U-verse Viewing App

No TV service these days is complete without a handful of mobile apps for streaming and DVR control. The AT&T U-verse mobile app is available for both Android and iOS, and it comes with several nice features:

  • Stream live TV straight to your device
  • Schedule and manage recordings on your U-verse Total Home DVR
  • Use your device as a remote control for your DVR

There’s even an Apple Watch app that lets you use your watch as a remote, which is handy in a pinch. It’s also one of the highest-rated TV provider apps we’ve seen—most tend to have very low scores and lots of negative reviews, but U-verse appears to be an exception.

Additional Features

The U-verse Total Home DVR is fairly bare bones, like we said. For the most part, it focuses on doing the basics and doing them well. It’s not totally boring though—there are a few tricks hiding in that unassuming black box:

  • Shows that aren’t scheduled to record can still be saved by tuning in and pressing the record button. The DVR will start recording from the time you tuned in.
  • Scheduled recordings can be prioritized to help deal with any conflicts that come up thanks to the four- or six-program limit.
  • Up to four different shows can be watched at the same time—on the same TV. That’s especially awesome for sports and news coverage.

TV Provider Snapshot

AT&T U-verse is a fiber TV service that offers one of the highest channel counts in the industry for an excellent price. It’s the perfect choice for channel surfers or customers of AT&T high-speed internet service. The only catch is it’s not available everywhere, so use our Zip Finder below to see if it’s an option for you.

ATT-logo

Type of Service

Fiber

Channel Count

550+

Price

$35.00–$110.00 per month

Installation Fee

$35.00 activation fee

Contract

1 year

Customer Satisfaction

4.11 Stars (4.11 / 5)

ATT-logo

Type of Service

Fiber

Channel Count

550+

Price

$35.00–$110.00 per month

Installation Fee

$35.00 activation fee

Contract

1 year

Customer Satisfaction

4.11 Stars (4.11 / 5)

The Verdict

The U-verse Total Home DVR offers a streamlined experience and solid storage, and considering the price is already included in your U-verse package, it’s hard to complain. We wish it could handle 4K playback and a few more simultaneous recordings, but overall? We’re fans. It’s recommended in our book for sure.

To see if U-verse is available in your area, enter your zip code below:

 

Learn more about AT&T U-verse.