I've had Charter, Dish, and DirecTV. Haven't had U-Verse because it's not in my neighborhood but I have an opinion.
Dish: They had some cool equipment (Google TV, SlingBox built in to their receivers) but they are missing some channels. Their pricing has gone up recently, but they used to be the cheapest satellite provider. They also tend to get into disputes with their channels, so they have a lot of channels that go away for a week or two and then come back.
DirecTV: The most channels, hands down. Also they have caught up to dish in the "cool DVR" category because they have the 5 tuner home media center/genie DVR. They have the best sports selection out of any provider, but you will pay for it. More expensive than cable, about the same as Dish.
Charter: They have caught up really, really quickly in the channels department. They have pretty much all of the HD that Dish has and they are competitive with DirecTV. Upside is that cable doesn't have a problem with weather, and they carry CSS which DirecTV and Dish do not. They also have Fox College Sports, which is an amalgamation of all of the Fox Sports Networks from around the country into four channels. Satellite providers don't have this, but they have each individual Fox Sports Net. More UAB games have been on these channels than CSS this year. Downside is Charter has questionable customer service (sometimes, sometimes it's good) and whether or not your cable is stable depends on what part of town you live in. It's great for me in Calera, but I hear stories about part of Hoover and Vestavia where it's "crap". YMMV
U-Verse: Like I said, I don't have it. I don't like it though, because Dish, DirecTV, and Charter are all broadcast. You can hook up as many boxes as you want with cable, and with DirecTV you can have up to 8 tuners, and Dish only is limited by how many cables you run outside. U-Verse is narrowcasting--IE: your connection to the TV channel happens way up the food chain, so instead of all of the channels coming down the wire at once, your house tells AT&T what channel(s) you want, and only those channels are sent. Because your U-Verse also does your phone and internet, you're limited to something like 4 channels (this includes live viewing + DVR recording) at any given point in time. That alone kills it for me.
Bundling/Internet options: Charter beats AT&T in the internet department, hands down. DSL is not even an option (max speed 6mbit). Charter's two plans are 30mbit and 100mbit. For what Charter charges for 30mbit you get 3mbit from U-Verse, and U-Verse maxes out at 24mbit.
You can bundle DirecTV with AT&T landline (who has a landline anymore?). I have Charter TV + Internet bundled, I don't have a landline, and I have a Verizon cell phone. Rumors are that eventually you will be able to bundle Verizon cell phone service with Charter, but nothing has been announced.
Additionally, I got Charter because you can use your own equipment. I bought two TiVos (real TiVos, not the cable company knockoffs) and you have to have cable. I love them more than any other DVR in the world, so if that is a consideration, think about it.
(10-24-2012 07:20 PM)the_blazerman Wrote: Directv does what we need, however you cannot connect other tv's to one DVR and watch other channels.
This is not true. There are a couple of options on DirecTV. First is the 5 tuner "Home Media Center" that is being rolled out (meaning if you ordered today it may or may not be available to order in Birmingham) which lets you record 5 things at once, has a gigantic hard drive, and then lets you hook up boxes on up to 3 TVs + the main TV. Also, you can connect a DVR in one room and regular HD boxes in other rooms and watch things recorded on the DVR on the regular HD boxes. Maybe you didn't have HD? That equipment is required for multi-room viewing.