I have been following AT&T's IPTV progress extensively over at FierceIPTV, but until now there's been little reason to mention it here: Interestingly, AT&T is looking to differentiate its U-Verse IPTV service with mobile tie-ins for Cingular Wireless users. "Wireless is at the top of our list," said AT&T's Scott Helbing, the company's vice president of entertainment. "We believe (wireless) is a differentiation we should have for a period of time." The initial ideas for wireless tie-ins include integrating family services, like calendars, photo albums, email and movies or sports highlights from any screen: PC, TV or mobile. Users could also forward clips of a favorite TV show to a friend via any of these devices or use click to buy technology on a cell phone, TV remote or PC to purchase the clips. One idea, which has rightly taken a beating in the blogosphere, is integrating ads into ringtones.
Unfortunately, the offering will not launch for another two years, despite the company's initial IPTV offering, Homezone, launching today. Two years may be too late to call the tie-ins "differentiators," since the top U.S. cable MSOs, including Time Warner, Comcast and Cox are working with Sprint Nextel to develop a similar wireless service to complement their video offerings. By most estimates the Sprint consortium's efforts should come to fruition within two years as well.
For more on AT&T's IPTV/wireless plans:
- read this article from USA Today