Total-home DVR comes to U-Verse subscribers
AT&T enables DVR playback on any TV throughout the home
After months of beta trials, AT&T today officially launched U-Verse Total-Home DVR, letting subscribers play back both standard and high-definition recorded programs on up to seven televisions in the home. The free software upgrade will begin in San Francisco and is planned for rollout to all U-Verse customers by the end of 2008.
The capability, touted at this yearís trade shows, includes the ability to pause a recorded show and pick up from the same spot in another room. Multiple, independent viewings of the same or up to four different recorded shows can also be played simultaneously on TVs across the home. Of these four recordings, three can be in HD; a feature that AT&T says is unique to U-Verse. Further, up to five HD programs can be watched simultaneously on any TV, including two live HD programs and three recorded HD programs. All U-verse DVRs and receivers, which are HD-capable, can store up to 37 hours of HD content or 133 hours of SD content.
According to the carrier, no additional equipment will be needed as the service will be made available as a market-by-market software update. Total-home DVR is the latest in several free U-Verse upgrades since the IPTV service was launched in June 2006. Other services include mobile remote access to the DVR to schedule and manage recordings from a mobile phone, U-Bar for customizable Web information, online photos from Flickr, Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football, Yellowpages.com TV and Yahoo Games. U-Verse Voice, a managed IP-based service delivered over AT&Tís fiber network, is another feature AT&T is in the process of rolling out. Today the telco made it available to all U-Verse customers in the Bay Area.
Services like Total-Home DVR, which leverage the IP network, have been seen as one of IPTV providersí greatest advantages in an increasingly DVR-reliant consumer marketplace. This has come under fire lately as cable providers have fought for the ability to operate network-based DVR services. The battle could be taken to the Supreme Court next, but Jeff Weber, AT&Tís vice president of video products, isnít worried. He said network DVR would be actually be an enhancement if it becomes a reality. As an all-IP network, AT&T has an advantage over cable inherent in the combination of total-home DVR and storage in the home.
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