AT&T’s roll out of its IPTV video services has been slower than it originally anticipated, but with more than 126,000 current subscribers, the company feels as though it’s on the right track. AT&T started the year with 3,000 video subscribers, then grew that base to 16,000 and 60,000, respectively, in the first and second quarters.
“We’re past the point of last year where the question was, ‘Will IPTV scale?’,? said Peter Hill, VP of converged services at AT&T Labs Research, during the first keynote address Wednesday morning at TelcoTV. “You can’t get to that number (126,000 subscribers) without significant flow through and automation. We do have a competitive service and we can do it to scale.?
Mike: There's always been concerns about bandwidth, especially when compated to products like the Verizon Fiber to the Home, or FiOS project. How is AT&T doing with U-verse?
Bandwidth has been a major concern, with Hill commenting on the H.264 compression standard:
Mike: What other services will be available?
Hill says the company will be adding home DVRs that allow satellite set-top boxes to show video downloaded to the DVR box. Hill also said the company will be adding to the current 30 high-definition channels next year along with photo-sharing and a Voice over IP (VoIP) service. Here's more interesting quotes from the CED Magazine piece:
cable executives have said there is no compelling reason to move to an
IP infrastructure to deliver video services, Hill contends that IPTV is
“very different from cable and satellite? because the nature of IP
allows for easier integration among services while also allowing it to
take advantage of Internet partners such as Amazon.......
One of those features is “Cinema Center? that allows movies to be purchased from Amazon with one click. The movie portal content would be dynamic and would allow subscribers to view trailers prior to making their purchases.
“We don’t have to create this stuff in IP because it reaches out to Web devices and incorporates them into IPTV,? Hill said.
demonstrated how an iPhone could be used to remotely program a home TV
and how multiple cameras at live events could be selected by the
viewer. He also demonstrated a feature that used an i-Phone to remotely
configure channel favorites on a home TV. The application would give
four different i-Phone users the ability to program their favorite
shows on their household TVs. Also discussed was a Web cam feature that
would let viewers in different locations view a live performance of a
sporting event or dance concert based on IP technology that uses
switched digital video.
Mike: I know they had problems with the original set top box - any updates?
Also, according to CED Magazine:
During the question-and-answer segment, Hill said AT&T would continue to rely on the Motorola set-top box with the Sigma Designs processor as its main workhorse, although it’s also working with Scientific Atlanta on a box with the same signature.
Hill expected new set-top boxes with second-generation chipsets from Sigma and Broadcom to be available in 2009.