C71KW Review (AT&T TV device)

Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by techguy88, Feb 7, 2020.

  1. Feb 7, 2020 #1 of 193
    techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    So I managed to get my hands on a C71KW aka Osprey device with the newer remote AT&T is distributing with the device for AT&T TV customers. I've been interested to see how this device works first hand for a while now.

    To give it a proper test I reactivated my AT&T TV Now account for 1 month with the Max base package. I figure this base package would be best for a review since it has a decent mix of locals, entertainment, premiums and sports channels. I still have my D* account which I will be using for channels not available on AT&T TV Now such as AMC, Discovery and other locals not available on AT&T TV Now (like PBS, digi-subnets I watch via the LCC/AM21). For other channels (like FX, HBO) I'm gonna watch them on the C71KW.

    First Impressions
    *The device is designed to boot straight away into the AT&T TV app there is no way of exiting out of the AT&T TV app unless you go to another app (like Netflix).
    *Channels are organized numerically by default emulating a traditional pay-TV setup (in this case D*'s channel numbers when available.) You can go into settings and switch the guide to organize channels alphabetically for a more OTT experience.
    *Channel switching is very smooth approximatly 4-6 seconds to change channels. (Way better than D*'s C41W clients.)
    *Cheddar is a live channel not an app so you can record programs from Cheddar (if desired, a very small plus over D* in this area.)
    *Supports most major apps (full list coming soon). So far the two major omissions I noticed were Hulu and Amazon Video are not currently supported. (The person who had this unit before managed to get Hulu before it was removed so it works but has the old layout.)
    *Supports CBS All Access, Disney+, Movies Anywhere and Netflix apps plus WarnerMedia-owned apps like Bleacher Report, DC Universe, Crunchyroll, VRV and Boomerang.
    *Once setup is complete the unit runs decently only had an issue with setting up CBS All Access where it crashed once. (Similar to my experiences with a Roku Streaming Stick and Amazon Fire TV Stick.)
    *If you have bought games with your Google account for other Android devices (smartphones, tablets, other Android TV devices, etc.) they will play here as well.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  2. Feb 7, 2020 #2 of 193
    Rich

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    Thanks!

    Rich
     
  3. Feb 7, 2020 #3 of 193
    NashGuy

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    Nice! Thanks for the review. And yes, I have questions. Please answer/update once you've spent enough time with it to know the following:

    1. Please comment on the trick play experience with live TV (pause, rewind, FF). How well does it work?
    2. How easy/difficult is to accurately FF/rewind during playback of cloud DVR recordings?
    3. How does the HD picture quality compare between cloud DVR recordings and that same channel when viewed live? (The cloud DVR PQ was noticeably inferior a couple years ago when I was a beta tester. I haven't gotten any definitive answer whether that's changed.)
    4. How would you compare PQ overall for AT&T TV Now from this device versus DirecTV via the C41W?
    5. What sort of bugs/reliability issues, if any, are you noticing with the C71KW and/or AT&T TV Now?
    6. What's your impression of the Google Assistant on this device, accessed via the voice remote? Is it responsive or clunky? How well does it integrate with AT&T TV for tasks like finding content, setting up recordings, etc?
     
  4. Feb 7, 2020 #4 of 193
    WestDC

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  5. Feb 7, 2020 #5 of 193
    B. Shoe

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    Great information. Will look forward to further insight from you on this!
     
  6. Feb 7, 2020 #6 of 193
    Rich

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  7. Feb 7, 2020 #7 of 193
    compnurd

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    Good pickup
     
  8. Feb 7, 2020 #8 of 193
    Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    Deal killer.

    Rich
     
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  9. Feb 7, 2020 #9 of 193
    mjwagner

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    Thanks for that review. Good info. Hopefully they will work on the channel change time. 4-6 seconds is long IMO. In my experience YTTV is 2-3 seconds max using the live guide or the live channel tile row. Also, I think they will need all the major apps not just some. Not having Amazon Prime Video would be a big miss. Also, what about support for 4k HDR/DV and ATMOS using the various apps like NetFlix, Disney+, etc. Again, without that it can’t be THE streaming device for many people, it would have to be yet another streaming device to be added.
     
  10. Feb 7, 2020 #10 of 193
    CraigerM

    CraigerM Well-Known Member

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    What about this that is in that guide?

    FAST-FORWARD
    FAST-FORWARD at increasing speeds—press up to four times. Also used in pairing the remote

    That looks the same as this:

    REWIND
    REWIND at increasing speeds—press up to four times. Also used in remote pairing
     
  11. Feb 7, 2020 #11 of 193
    compnurd

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    That doesn’t answer anything at all that he mentioned
     
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  12. Feb 7, 2020 #12 of 193
    TheRatPatrol

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    Does it do PIP of any sort?
     
  13. Feb 7, 2020 #13 of 193
    CraigerM

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    On page 4 in the manual it says PIP but doesn’t says how it will work.
     
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  14. Feb 7, 2020 #14 of 193
    techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    While watching a program the left directional arrow and right directional arrow are used for quick skips. One click either way is 15 seconds at a time.

    The 4-6 seconds was due to the device updating. The previous owners never did a factory reset and since it already had an older version of the Hulu app that is fully functional so I didn't want to factory reset it and go through the setup process brand new (in fear of losing the Hulu app). When setting up the device brand new or via a factory reset it will download and install the update first as part of the setup process. After the device was fully updated AT&T TV Now went back to switching between channels about 2.5 seconds similar to YTTV.

    The device supports 4K HDR output for apps that support the feature, however my TVs are 1080p non-HDR sets. The device outputs to the highest resolution possible when connected to a non 4K set. I just watched the last two episodes of The Mandalorian on both my Xbox One X and the AT&T TV device and the PQ and sound was exactly the same.

    Since it has Disney+ and ESPN+ (through the ESPN app) I'm not sure why it doesn't have Hulu or Amazon Video. I'm still exploring the apps to see about any other inconsistencies however I would expect AT&T to get Hulu and Amazon Video at some point for AT&T TV device.

    Trick Play/Cloud DVR
    Combining the first two into one here. Pausing, rewind and fast-forward works the same on both live TV and the cloud DVR recordings. During Live TV if you pause then hit the down arrow you can restart the program from the beginning (for channels/shows that support it). This is also where you can quickly enable/disable CC and jump to Live TV. Rewind and Fast Forward during Live TV and recordings work similar to YTTV where a thumbnail/box appears and you can see how far back you are rewinding or how far you are FF.

    When you press play its almost instant and very accurate on the 1x and 2x speeds. Those speeds are actually faster than on D*'s hardware-based DVR where you need 2x or 3x to get the same effect on hardware-based DVR. Similarly when you go to 4x and then it play it may skip ahead by 5 seconds (just like how D*'s hardware-based DVR skips slightly ahead at that speed after you hit play.)

    Picture Quality
    Actually it seems AT&T has improved the service since its launch from 2016. Live TV and Cloud DVR recordings both have the same level of PQ now. If you tune into a program late and begin recording it the Cloud DVR mimics a hardware-based DVR and starts recording at the point you told it to record. I actually watched a couple of episodes of Reba on CMT and recorded them at the same time. After the Live TV airings ended I went back and watched them via the Cloud DVR and the PQ was the same. I also had the same episodes recording on my Genie and then watched the first 15 minutes of the satellite hardware-based recording and it was the same quality as the Cloud DVR. :)

    During Live TV the PQ between AT&T TV Now via the C71KW and DirecTV via a C41W was the same on most channels. I did notice 315 - QVC2 on both services were not the same quality. On D* QVC2 is broadcasting in SD while on AT&T TV Now its broadcasting in Full HD. Looking at the channel lineup for AT&T TV service QVC2 is listed as an HD only channel. o_O

    I also noticed 272 - Logo is listed as being in SD and HD on AT&T TV's channel lineup as well despite being in SD only on DirecTV. Since I don't have AT&T TV Now's Xtra package I can't verify its actual format as it isn't included in the Max base package. So if anyone happens to have Go Big or Gotta Have It All at the grandfathered prices best to have them check Logo to see what format it is streaming in. :confused:

    The PQ on tonight's NHL Hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings vs Columbus Blue Jackets looks the same to me on AT&T TV Now as D* in HD. Only obvious thing is AT&T TV Now is 20 seconds behind D*. Again why they don't show FS Ohio as a full time HD channel on D* is beyond me. :mad:

    Bugs/Reliability

    This is something that is inherited with the Android platform in general but since this is a mid-range device it is affected by it. If you try to open and switch between a bunch of apps one right after the other this will cause the device to temporarily slow down. I noticed this when I was going from one app to another to activate them. When this happens you just need to give the device a bit of time or highlight the previous app you opened and click the "..." button to close the app completely. I don't blame this on the device itself because I have noticed this same thing happening to Amazon Fire TV Sticks (non-4K model) and the regular Roku Streaming Stick.

    While rare I have noticed the AT&T TV app will crash when pressing the "Home" button to switch back to AT&T TV/AT&T TV Now and it has to reload. This happened once so far. Similarly the CBS All Access crashed once (which also happened on my Amazon Fire TV Stick before.) Occasionally the device is a bit slow when opening an app especially if you haven't used it in a while. While pressing the "Home" button while in another app is quicker to get back to AT&T TV I find its better to press the "Exit" button as it completely closes the app but this takes a few extra seconds.

    Google Assistant

    This will be a friend when using the device however it is important to hold the remote in the manner they show in the ads :D. When asking Google Assistant to tune to a channel using its channel number it is best to say the full number (i.e. when saying "Tune to channel 206" its best to say "Tune to channel two-hundred and six") If you try to say "Tune to two-zero-six" or "Tune to channel two-O-six" sometimes the assistant will mistake the command as "Tune to channel 6." :rolleyes: For my RSNs (FS Ohio, FS Cincinnati and SportsTime Ohio) the assistant can't find the channel by name so I have to ask it to tune to the specific channel number.

    If your TV is too loud or the remote is to far away it may misunderstand a command and think you want something else. Like I had the TV volume high and then asked it to tune to Boomerang and it misunderstood the command that I wanted to see videos from the Minecraft YouTuber DanTDM and proceed to open up his YouTube channel for my viewing pleasure. :rolleyes:

    The assistant can be used cross-apps so if your watching something on Netflix but then realize its game time on a sport channel you can ask the assistant to tune to the channel the game is on and it will quickly load up AT&T TV and tune to the channel. I actually used this when I almost forgot about the hockey game on FS Ohio since it is the only time AT&T TV Now and D* are showing the same program on that channel in HD.

    Overall Google Assistant is responsive and quick most of the time, however there have been a few times where it was a little slow at first. In most cases it is easier asking the Assistant to do things especially if you know the name of show or channel. They have integrated the assistant well I must say.

    I did have one instance where it wasn't registering my voice commands so I had to remove the batteries out of the remote for 10 seconds and put them back in which fixed the issue.

    Overall at this point it seems AT&T has worked a lot of bugs out of it to improve stability which at this point what remains is small. The only negative I have right now sometimes it can be a little slow switching from AT&T TV app to another app but its not a deal-breaker. The other negative is the current omission of Hulu and Amazon Video. I should have a list tomorrow for the apps.
     
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  15. Feb 7, 2020 #15 of 193
    techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    I haven't seen an option of PIP yet and I've been pushing this box to its limits and combing through the entire menu with a fine tooth comb.
     
  16. Feb 7, 2020 #16 of 193
    techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    Also with the remote this unit had both the original remote and the revised remote they are now distributing with the units. The updated remote is by far the best version the additional buttons and modified layout really is an improvement. The center pad with the directional buttons are easier to press than the original remote. Although I'm not sure what the dash button is used for I tried it on various menus and apps and it does nothing so far lol. The diamond button is like a quick button to the apps.

    The volume up/down and channel up/down are just like the D* Genie remotes but the audible click is not as loud.

    Edit: I just noticed this remote is back-lit as well
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2020
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  17. Feb 7, 2020 #17 of 193
    CraigerM

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    So does pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding live TV work just like DTV?
     
  18. Feb 7, 2020 #18 of 193
    techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    If I had to compare it to something I would say RW/FF works similar to YTTV with the thumbnail/box but it has 4 speeds like D* does.
     
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  19. Feb 7, 2020 #19 of 193
    mjwagner

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    If trick play works similarly to YTTV as far as being quick, fluid and accurate (frankly as good or better than any in home DVR I have ever used or have seen) then I would consider that a huge win for AT&T. IMO the performance of YTTVs cloud DVR is currently the gold standard for cloud based DVRs.
     
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  20. Feb 7, 2020 #20 of 193
    techguy88

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    They have drastically improved the service it seems since I last tried it out. If I remember correctly when AT&T TV Now first launched (as D* Now) there was no preview you had to pretty much hit and miss in the beginning. Now that you have the thumbnail/box to see where your going in the program its a huge difference. Only issue I've noticed is at 4x speeds is if you hit play say around 17:15 it will skip ahead 20 seconds to 17:35 but D*'s hardware-based DVRs also do this at that speed.
     
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