Bit Rate

On HD DVRs, U-verse TV Not Actually Yet As Cool As Cable

7/25/2008 4:49 AM

One more tiny detail worth noting out of AT&T’s Q2 earnings announcement: It’s almost ready to let U-verse TV customers everywhere record an HD program while watching another one. 

"Our migration to offering a second HD stream will be complete in the third quarter," CFO Rick Lindner told analysts Wednesday

In the cable world, this feature is provided by a dual-tuner set-top. And, well, it’s not a new feature – Cox, for example, launched dual-tuner DVRs from SA in January 2003.

With DSL-based IPTV, recording two HDs at once (or watching one and recording another) requires 2X the bandwidth. It’s an engineering trick to squeeze two high-def signals into the DSL pipe.

AT&T’s marketing team claims U-verse is "Cooler Than Cable." But the lack of a second HD stream has been a distinct demerit for the fledgling IPTV service.

Lindner, by the way, also said AT&T’s whole-home DVR (playing back recordings from other set-tops) is now in trials and the telco expects to roll out that enhancement by the end of this year. 

Note that Verizon has offered this for two years. Apparently U-verse isn’t as cool as FiOS, either.

September