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AT&T To Allow Xbox 360 As U-verse Set-Top Box

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the convergent-evolution dept.

AT&T 62

suraj.sun sends this quote from Engadget about U-verse subscribers soon gaining the ability to use an Xbox 360 as a set-top box: "A so-called Wired Release will roll out to AT&T U-verse customers next Sunday, and it'll bring the long awaited feature with it (though you'll have to wait until November 7th for that particular aspect). This means an AT&T U-verse customer's Xbox 360 will have a Dashboard app, and when launched, it'll let it function exactly like any other U-verse set-top. The only major catch is that it can't be the only set-top — you'll need at least one DVR at another TV in the house to enjoy one of the four HD streams that could be funneled into your home."

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Four HD streams? (3, Insightful)

bareman (60518) | about 4 years ago | (#33839660)

Is that new somewhere? I think I only get four total streams, and only two of them can be HD.

Re:Four HD streams? (4, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 4 years ago | (#33839890)

They have been touting "more streams" for a long time (as long as you don't cross them...) They started with 1, went to 2 pretty quick and have been teasing 3 or 4 streams for a year or more...

Here is an announcement about the "four HD streams" from just two weeks ago: []

Re:Four HD streams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33839958)

I'm going to have my urethra surgically modified to have 4 holes.

That way when I have to go bad, I'll have 4 streams too. If I have to go REAL bad, I'll have 4 HD streams.

Re:Four HD streams? (1)

ooshna (1654125) | about 4 years ago | (#33843294)

You can start one new hole relatively cheap its called a Prince Albert. Just ask any big sweaty biker looking guy at a piercing shop about one.

Re:Four HD streams? (3, Informative)

OnlineAlias (828288) | about 4 years ago | (#33842480)

They are at a bandwidth limitation though. The number of streams you get is determined by how fast your local loop is. If you get more than 30 megabit, you get 2 streams, if you get over 60 megabit (I think) you get 3. You would have to be right on top of the DSLAM to get 4 streams. I have about 2000 feet of local loop and get about 38 megs, so my copper isn't too good.

They mix the internet service in with that available amount too so it just takes that right out of the total. If you sign up for super max internet speeds, it will kill the amount of streams you can get (when you are using it).

Re:Four HD streams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33845226)

This is partly consistent with what the tech told me when they came to do my install. My service profile is at 32x5 per the router and U-Verse Realtime, but they tested the line out at over 60. I still only get 2+2.

Though honestly, that does the trick for me pretty well.

Re:Four HD streams? (0, Offtopic)

arivanov (12034) | about 4 years ago | (#33839934)

Microsoft embedded systems - WinCE and Co have had all the necessary support for IPTV for a long time now. I am no microsoft fan, but credit where credit due - their IPTV implementation at least in theory is very good and should work over nearly any network.

I am surprised this is not used more often. After all, the last gen of consoles already has app signing and app delivery frameworks so you can do all kinds of fancy stuff on them at very small incremental cost.

Re:Four HD streams? (2, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 4 years ago | (#33840198)

Technically U-verse boxes are already running Windows CE - they look a lot like Media Center, and if you go into the About menu you can see Microsoft had their hand in it.

Re:Four HD streams? (0, Flamebait)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 4 years ago | (#33842292)

Yep. They crash in the same manner too.

Requires the full 4 second power off to reset.

Re:Four HD streams? (1)

OnlineAlias (828288) | about 4 years ago | (#33842430)

Meh, mine are pretty stable...

Re:Four HD streams? (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | about 4 years ago | (#33843460)

Technically U-verse boxes are already running Windows CE - they look a lot like Media Center, and if you go into the About menu you can see Microsoft had their hand in it.

No wonder my box is a slow piece of shit.

Re:Four HD streams? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840190)

I don't know. With Comcast, we are getting 6 HD streams and one SD stream. We could have even more, but we only have so many televisions. To top it off, our mid-level internet connection with Comcast is faster than the top-level connection with U-Verse (and I live in a rural town that AT&T hasn't expanded U-Verse to).

Directv can do more and beter PQ then U-verse (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33840622)

Directv can do more and beter PQ then U-verse.

Re:Directv can do more and beter PQ then U-verse (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840758)

Directv can do more and beter PQ then U-verse.

At only double the price!

Re:Directv can do more and beter PQ then U-verse (1)

ooshna (1654125) | about 4 years ago | (#33843306)

you guys pone trying to see who has the biggest HD-penis yet?

Re:Directv can do more and beter PQ then U-verse (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about 4 years ago | (#33846400)

you guys pone trying to see who has the biggest HD-penis yet?

My penis looks great in HD.

...By the way, HD is a type of magnifying glass, right?

U-verse costs more must buy moives to fox business (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | about 4 years ago | (#33847102)

U-verse costs more must buy U-300 that comes with the moives pack to get fox business network and others. also needs sports pack to get NBA TV / NHL network as well. ALSO NO MLB TV.

Re:Four HD streams? (2, Funny)

LordNimon (85072) | about 4 years ago | (#33840324)

That's because some of those streams have been crossed, which they really shouldn't do.

Re:Four HD streams? (1)

adolf (21054) | about 4 years ago | (#33842900)

It depends.

My U-Verse connection could handle four streams just fine, but only one HD. It was provisioned that way because I have a very long loop to the VRAD, which sync at most at about 19,200kbps. 19,200kbps isn't enough for four HD streams along with 6Mbps of Internet.

Others with better/more recent/shorter cabling have higher speeds. A friend of mine, not too far from my own house, has no problem doing 4 HD streams at once. As far as I can tell, having 4 HD streams is more the rule than the exception, these days, but it's all dependent on the amount of last-mile bandwidth you have available.

The 360 thing is an interesting development, and makes good sense in an IPTV environment.

(Disclaimer: I no longer have U-Verse TV because personal things made it difficult to rationalize paying for TV, but would pick it up again in an instant if those personal things improved.)

LOL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33839680)

The biggest piece of shit consumer hardware ever created that is most commonly called "jet engine loud" is now able to be used as a set top box.

LOL. Fail...

Re:LOL (1)

DanTheStone (1212500) | about 4 years ago | (#33839862)

The jet engine sound only comes when you are using a disc. If it's something running off the hard drive, it's not that loud. I know; I own one and use it daily.

Re:LOL (1)

drc003 (738548) | about 4 years ago | (#33839926)

Dan, not all models run as you describe unfortunately. I went through 3 originals that MS replaced and they all were loud and as hot as hell disc or no disc. When the third one died and MS wouldn't replace I gave up. Maybe I'll try one of the new models some day but I'll probably just wait until the next-generation. Hopefully MS can do a lot better with the first round of hardware this time.

Re:LOL (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840326)

So you got hosed with 3 different units before you gave up, but you're still planning to go back???? No wonder Microsoft doesn't need to make anything WELL, they just need to refresh the crap they're churning out every few years and clowns like you just keep feeding them their paychecks...

Re:LOL (1)

drc003 (738548) | about 4 years ago | (#33840650)

I bought an original at launch and the when it died they sent me a new one for free. When that died they sent another one for free and when that died they wouldn't help any further and I said good riddance.

Did I state I would again be a 1st generation adopter of anything they make? Where did you read that? I'm saying if they make a really nice piece of hardware that proves itself and is a market leader I may purchase it. As for now we are happy with our PC and original PS3 which has never given us any issues.

You sure make a lot of assumptions but I guess I shouldn't expect any less from an Anonymous Coward Clown.

Re:LOL (1)

Mr Stubby (1122233) | about 4 years ago | (#33842838)

While i agree with your point in principle the other side to the argument is sure I'm also on my 3rd Xbox too but it's also always been plugged into my telly in fairly regular use where as My Wii and PS3 on the other hand are in a drawer collecting dust.

So, yes there was a massive problem with red rings, They responded by increasing the warranty and streamlined the process of replacing/repairing consoles (each time it's happened i had mine back within a week) And to me that's excellent customer service, while we might imagine everything in life should be perfect, it rarely is and as long as your issues are dealt with in a timely and reasonable fashion. Everything else they've done (short of maybe the stupid facebook and twitter apps) has been in my estimation far and away superior to their competition, and thats more of the reason why people "come back" (they're also usually getting a repair for free so its not costing them anything but a trip to the post office anyway)

With things like this, systems could live forever (1)

mykos (1627575) | about 4 years ago | (#33839706)

Maybe in the future when they release new systems, Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo can continue to sell their old systems as multipurpose devices, adding features for profit.

A couple of die shrinks and they're all set.

Re:With things like this, systems could live forev (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 years ago | (#33842878)

Nah. Eventually it becomes cheaper to sell the new system that can do the same thing plus more. The price dump that the old systems typically take late in life is a result of inventory being liquidated.

Example: even if Dell really wanted to, do you think they could make a 486DX 25Mhz based system (brand new) for less than one of their cheapo current Celeron systems? Nope. The specialty chip, specialty RAM, etc would catch up with them.

It's much the same reason why Intel intentionally cripples some higher quality chips to make those Celerons and such. Making a special budget version that was completely different would cost more.

Sounded good... (1)

drc003 (738548) | about 4 years ago | (#33839710)

until I read:

"...The only major catch is that it can't be the only set-top — you'll need at least one DVR at another TV in the house to enjoy one of the four HD streams that could be funneled into your home."

This lead me back to the fact that it's still AT&T and they will never get another penny from this guy.

You'd be surprised (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about 4 years ago | (#33840170)

I'm only a light TV watcher, but the nuisance of switching from 360 to my secondary Uverse set-top box actually kept me from watching classic TV in the bedroom. (in other words, "at all") Why bother when I watch most content online? Now I may be motivated to do so casually. (i.e. random History channel programming)

Never thought I'd fit the niche of one of these "[whatever] added to your console" stories.

Re:You'd be surprised (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about 4 years ago | (#33846420)

switching from 360 to my secondary Uverse set-top box

You sound like the kind of person that desperately needs to shove a TV tuner into a Windows Media Center box ;)

Re:You'd be surprised (1)

sarysa (1089739) | about 4 years ago | (#33848390)

Except I prefer to be on Linux most of the time. I use Linux for geek stuff and web, do gaming on the Windows side.

TV isn't very important to me. I usually only watch TV when I'm too tired to do anything else. ;)

Re:You'd be surprised (1)

RulerOf (975607) | about 4 years ago | (#33848834)

While I admire your sentiment, I can only recommend it again. WMC allows you to treat an HTPC like what It should be, and like what your 360 is: an appliance. While MythTV, Boxee, and others are good products, WMC is very complete in its implementation, and the extensibility it has (take a look at Media Browser and Media Center Master) allows for a very "hands off" experience. Add a 360 to your other TV's and it really begins to shine, because it extends your HTPC to those TVs simultaneously. You should check it out, it really does offer a compelling experience, FWIW ;)

Uverse sucks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33839900)

Too bad Uverse absolutely sucks. Seriously, how many other DVRs in this day and age can't pause or rewind live TV? If I'm watching a program and press record, it only will record from when I pressed the record button, not what was shown before. Also, I'm pretty sure that they're throttling my internet connection. Speed tests always show the correct speed that I'm paying for, but I can't download any file from any server at more than half of that speed. Uverse sucks, and needs some major work.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

danbert8 (1024253) | about 4 years ago | (#33840008)

Try limiting the number of connections. I had a problem with Uverse when downloading torrents because they would saturate the number of connections and slow down the connection. Also, if you saturate the uploading bandwidth, you won't be able to download except at a crawl. I'm waiting for them to allow me to use Windows Media Center for my TV before I'll pay for that service. Until then, internet only please.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 4 years ago | (#33840238)

The fact it hasn't supported Windows Media Center still blows my mind, considering the current set top boxes are running a form of it.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

Quarters (18322) | about 4 years ago | (#33840046)

Where are you located? I've had UVerse for over a year and have a completely different opinion. It can definately pause/rewind live TV. I'm pretty sure it buffers so that recording does not start right at the moment you hit the button, and, above all else, it's contractless. I can kill the service at any time and not have to worry about an ETF. Compared to the other options here, Comcast, DTV, or Dish, UVerse is the best thing going.

Re:Uverse sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840072)

Fullerton, Ca

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 4 years ago | (#33841248)

That's odd... I've had cable for as long as I can remember (different companies, Ohio [time warner, wow] and Chicago area [comcast]) and I've never been tied to a contract or ETF.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

illumina+us (615188) | about 4 years ago | (#33871790)

Cable companies have contracts? I don't even think DTV or Dish have contracts unless you get "free" equipment from them.

Re:Uverse sucks (2, Insightful)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 4 years ago | (#33840540)

Yea, Uverse sucks. Not to mention I wouldn't want to run my 360 for that long anyways. It sits in the open air with plenty of ventilation and still has heat issues. Pity that the PS3 doesn't support this because I'm much more comfortable letting that run for hours at a time and it has a bigger internal hdd for DVR

Re:Uverse sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841918)

My old 360 doesn't even have issues running for long periods of time; the new ones (the last generation or two of the fat design, and especially the new slim ones) are pretty much flawless in this regard so long as they're well-ventilated.

Re:Uverse sucks (4, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | about 4 years ago | (#33840740)

Wow, finally, a DVR worse than the Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 4 years ago | (#33840828)

If I had mod points, I would mod you into the heavens and above.

Re:Uverse sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33841426)

I have some mod points. Here, have one.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 4 years ago | (#33841276)

I don't know, my Motorola DVR is good at skipping to the end of the show if I fast forward through too many commercials.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | about 4 years ago | (#33842158)

If you are watching TV on the box with the hard drive (the master console, so to speak), then you can in face rewind live TV. If you are on one of the other (smaller) boxes, then no. When you are on one of the consoles that does not have a local hard drive, it must signal the master unit to start recording, then you get "switched" to the output stream fed off the master box. When you are on one of the smaller boxes, the stream is not going through the master console and there is no history to rewind with.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

adolf (21054) | about 4 years ago | (#33842962)

As stated above, I don't have U-Verse TV anymore, but...

The DVR does suck. It does some stupid things. Some of those stupid things that it does, though, could easily be explained by patents held by other folks who also produce DVRs.

My chief complaint about it is that it does a lousy job scaling from 480i to 1080i, and refuses to output 480i natively so I can scale it myself without a diving into the menus every time I switch between watching SD and HD programming.

Regarding internet connections: I abuse my 12Mbps Uverse connection all the time. Some sites are slow while some others are fast, but that's no different than any other provider. I routinely download big things at a sustained ~1.3 megabytes per second with HTTP, and a bit less than that with torrents.

My chief complaint about their Internet connection is that DNS lookups sometimes take forever, and the provided VDSL gateway/router box does not permit the DNS server addresses to be changed.

I can fix this easily enough by various means (ranging from using my own router, manually specifying DNS on each machine on my network, to running my own instance of BIND), but I should not have to, and all of these things come with various tradeoffs that I find variously unacceptable.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | about 4 years ago | (#33843846)

Also their modem/router doesn't have a bridge mode so the only way to use your own router is to DMZ everything to it. Even setting that up was a lot harder than it should have been and the only way to use the DHCP from my own router was to leave theirs on and put it on a different subnet.

Re:Uverse sucks (1)

Sl4shd0t0rg (810273) | about 4 years ago | (#33843138)

I can pause and rewind live tv and I have Uverse. You must have other issues, have you logged in to your RG and checked your stats? If you show any connection errors call it in, but it sounds like you might have an issue with you set top box. Either way, you should call it in.

Verb of the day: "to allow" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33839982)

It'll be a cold day in hell before I spend a penny on any service or product where the very question of what someone else will allow comes up.

Modem/routers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840094)

I know they exist, but when are these going to be more common? Its nuts to have to hook up a modem, then a router. Its not like we are maxing the GB routers anyway.

Set-Top Box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840104)

This is 2010. Drop cable and satellite already. You don't need to pay for things you don't watch and paying for things you want to watch would probably have kept good shows like Better Off Ted alive and could destroy crap like American Idol.

Re:Set-Top Box? (3, Informative)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 4 years ago | (#33840252)

This is U-verse. You know.. fiber to the last mile, DSL to the home? There is no cable or satellite involved, here.

In Canada... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840146)

TELUS has had this feature with their IPTV offering for quite some time. However, don't start thinking that you can just plug it into your home router and start watching - you will need to register your Xbox with your service provider in order to receive the content decryption key, and they can happily charge you for it. In our case, TELUS charges $5/mo for your own Xbox (1/2 the price of a non-DVR box rental), so it's almost a good deal.
Now where it gets really interesting is that your Windows 7 based computer already has the capability to act as a DVR via Media Center. From a technical standpoint, all it needs to do is subscribe to multicast streams and decrypt the Mediaroom flavour of DRM-ed MPEG4/AAC. It isn't Microsoft handing out the limitations - it's your service provider picking and choosing which devices/which functions/how much.

Re:In Canada... (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | about 4 years ago | (#33840272)

You kind of circumvented your own point - you're right, it is the service picking and choosing how devices work, but nobody said U-verse works that way, you only said Telus, which is not even in the same country.

Re:In Canada... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840658)

U-verse uses Microsoft Mediaroom. Telus TV uses Microsoft Mediaroom. His point was that these are basic mediaroom capabilities that the service provider has the option of enabling. The country is totally irrelevant

Telus does this already (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840250)

Telus in Canada already supports this, through the same system. Our telcos are usually behind on... everything.

Frist Psot (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33840334)

antibacterial 5oap. the party in street

Uverse? DO NOT WANT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33842276)

Ew, ew, ew, not that uverse nonsense again. I get mailspam every week about having uverse shoved down my throat, despite asking twice to be opted out, and specifically telling them that I would cancel all my AT&T services if I got one more piece of mailspam that said "uverse" anywhere on it. I want nothing of it, especially since it isn't even available in my building. It's supposed to be a combined service. I'm ditching AT&T for T-Mobile for trying to force a data plan on me for a smartphone (despite my contract having been signed before that rule went into effect). They also required me to get a phone line to go with a DSL line (without letting me have the so-called dry loop), which is apparently a no-no with the FCC. Finally, I get charged more in taxes and fees for this phone line than the line itself costs. I don't even own a land phone. And have you tried to pay the AT&T bill online? The system is a terrible terrible amalgamation of old SBC systems and some new glue code they threw in. I have never dealt with a company that made it as difficult to give them money as AT&T done.

Yay, more combined services from one carrier? Yay, Uverse! Sign me up!

Ironic... (1)

admiralZ (1222528) | about 4 years ago | (#33842904)

I used to work for U-verse as a Tier 2 Specialist, and the XBox 360 as a set-top box was in development as of 2 years ago, the back-end MAC recognition and Xbox 360 Dashboard upgrades were already in place a year ago. In short, there was no real reason for this upgrade to have been released now instead of a year ago (all real testing is done in field anyway, because AT&T friendly Alpha communities do not give a diverse enough sample for real world testing). I do like the fact that the XBox 360 has better HDMI (Motorola and Cisco STBs have known HDMI picture and sound issues, but that may be due to HDMI version incompatibility issues from the TVs and PC monitors).

What AT&T really needs is an increase in the robustness of the Windows CE STB firmware (yes, I can confirm that they do run a modified version of Windows CE; in fact, they use Microsoft MPEG2 and 4 compressions for the video, both SD and HD, upgraded regularly via firmware pushes) to allow support agents to troubleshoot problems with a picture preview (if the STB is even booted to the point of receiving programming). In the support center in which I worked, 95% of the employees hadn't ever actually seen the hardware or content that U-verse provides (aside from pictures).

In my opinion (call me an insider or uneducated, I don't really care), the U-verse customer experience suffers from the fact that U-verse support agents rarely, if ever, get hands-on experience with the hardware and content that they are supposed to be supporting (no matter what neato upgrades AT&T decides to offer, usually at an additional charge).

Add to that the fact that the vast majority of support agents for AT&T are contract employees instead of perm, the turnover rate was horrendous at my support center, support centers are now being forced to upsell with a quota attached (remember, U-verse only exists to make money for the wireless side of AT&T), and loss mitigation (the amount of people who would have canceled had their problem not been solved by tech support) isn't even factored in, and you can color me surprised that U-verse even made it to 1 million customers.

How is this news? (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | about 4 years ago | (#33843070)

Unless I'm misreading this, AT&T has been subleasing (ie. beta testing) this service through mom and pop telcos for a long time now.

The real news is how ATT has beaten them on both ends by being one of the few games in town who will be able to negotiate content prices while small shops will have to go with whatever price they are given (ass rape, seriously ass rape).

U-verse and Apple TV next? (1)

jscotta44 (881299) | about 4 years ago | (#33843328)

Hmmm AT&T already allows you to stream shows to your iOS devices if you have a U-verse account. I wonder if they'll add the Apple TV to their line-up of approved set-top boxes for streaming content similar to the Xbox option.

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