The UH AT&T is the first lab in the world to have the AT&T Advanced TV system, U-Verse. IPTV technology will be showcased in the lab while the University of Houston completes the construction of the Calhoun Lofts, a 1000 room complex, which will be the first installation of U-Verse in any university campus in the world. The Calhoun Lofts will be completed in the Fall of 2009.
AT&T U-verse is a suite of Internet Protocol (IP)-based products and services , including AT&T U-verse TV, AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet, and AT&T U-verse Voice telephone, (VoIP) service. U-verse utilizes both fiber-to-the-node and fiber-to-the-point technology to obtain speeds upwards of 25 Mbit/s to the user's home. AT&T is attempting to leapfrog current cable systems by offering features like a DVR that can record up to 4 shows at a time and is programmable from any web-connected computer.
U-verse TV is delivered over IP from the head end to the consumer's set-top box. U-verse uses H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) encoding which compresses video more efficiently than the traditional MPEG-2. Broadcast channels are distributed via IP multicast, allowing a single stream (channel) to be sent to any number of recipients. The system is also designed for individual unicasts for video on demand, central time shifting, start over services and other programs desired by only one home at that particular time. The set-top box does not have a conventional tuner, but is an IP multicast client which joins the IP multicast group corresponding to the stream ("channel") desired. In the IP multicast model, only the streams the customer uses are sent. The customer's connection need not have the capacity to carry all available channels simultaneously.
The customer's premises are served primarily by VDSL from large fiber fed neighborhood boxes, known as VRADs. In newer developments, U-verse may also be deployed over fiber to the premises (FTTP). The network was designed for speeds of 20-25 megabits down, 1 to 3 megabits up, with the majority of the bandwidth devoted to the TV programming. These speeds are generally reliable within 3,000 feet (900 m) from the neighborhood gateway, though AT&T has announced they will bond two pairs of wires to extend those speeds to 5,000 feet (1,500 m). Homes closer than that can receive higher speeds downstream, possibly 40-50 megabits up to 1,500 feet (500 m). AT&T has local facilities (cross connects) within 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,500 to 1,800 m) of most homes, some of which already are fed by fiber. Inside the customer's home the new services are carried over Ethernet or a HomePNA home CATV network (taken from wikipedia.com).