App of the Week: U-verse Gives You Control Over Your DVR

App: U-verse Platform: iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Web site: ATT U-verse Price: Free

I've been a U-verse user for several years now. I left Comcast for numerous reasons and never looked back. There are certainly benefits to each and neither is perfect, but U-verse has been great for me and one of my favorite things about it is the companion app on my iPhone.

It's really crazy when you think about the things we can do from our phones. Some are convenient, some are silly, but few encapsulate for me the pure convenience mixed with the total decadence of apps like the U-verse app. Sad to say, on more than a handful of occasions, I've realized a show I wanted to see was about to come on and I had no way to watch it. Before DVRs and smart phones, I'd have just lived with it. Now, with a couple clicks, my DVR fires into action.

Welcome to the future.

The Cons As cool as this app is, there are a few issues that come up now and again. First off, it is glitchy. I've often found myself having to log back in after having not been on it in a while. And, television listings are slow loading, particularly when not on wi-fi.

One of the more frustrating problems is the touch interface, which is not smooth and is VERY sensitive. When I just want to swipe to a later time period, I often end up getting the screen for the show I was trying to swipe past. Since other apps don't behave in this manner, I put the blame on this app.

Lastly, this is not the most elegant interface I've ever seen. It's not bad, but watching TV using the app is pretty lousy -- that may just be watching TV on a phone, period -- and there are a bunch of additional items like account management crammed into the "more" button at the bottom. ATT could stand to overhaul the user interface.

The Pros Setting all that aside, this is a strong, full-featured app that gives great access to the DVR attached to the account and to the current TV listings. Only two clicks on a given show and it's recording, with very little lag time. One more click and you can record the entire series.

In fact, I'd go so far as to say the app is better than the guide on the actual DVR. It's cleaner, easier to navigate and has an excellent search feature. If U-verse gets around to adding a remote control feature that allows control of the actual TV in the room via the app, I would toss out my remote in a heartbeat.

The Verdict If you have U-verse with a DVR, get this app. It's free, easy and mega-convenient. It is a tad glitchy, but the pluses far outweigh the minuses on this one.

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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke