AT&T's TV Everywhere Placeholder

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AT&T officially announced the launch of its video-entertainment site Thursday, after quietly pushing it live sometime in the last few weeks (see AT&T ‘Soft Launches’ Video Portal).

For now, all the video content at AT&T Entertainment is free to anyone with decent Internet connection (even DSL!). Primarily, it’s stuff from Hulu, the JV owned by NBC Universal, Disney/ABC and News Corp., with additional content from CBS/Showtime, and MTV Networks.

Last week, a note on the site indicated U-verse customers would have access to “bonus content” — but that has since been deleted. The only “authentication” feature available to U-verse TV users currently is the ability to log in and remotely manage their DVRs… which has been available through att.net since U-verse launched in late 2006.

So what happened to the “TV Everywhere” piece of the telco’s strategy, which AT&T in May confirmed it was developing? Shhh — it’s still under wraps.

“About authentication in particular, I’m not going to talk specifically about our time line and plans,” Dan York, AT&T’s executive vice president of content and programming, told me yesterday.

However, York said, “As the industry continues to evolve the authentication initiative, the AT&T Entertainment Web site could certainly be an important element for AT&T’s activity in that arena… As we do things that are special from a content point of view, this would be a logical destination.”

With the video portal, he added, “you’re seeing an early version of what we’re going to be able to do… There will be increasing integration and converged services with U-verse.”

On this front, AT&T looks to be following the same strategy Comcast is with Fancast: develop a destination site geared around free-to-consumer TV content, then layer in enhanced features and content that tie in with the TV service.

Comcast, then, will apparently be first out of the gate: The MSO plans to launch On-Demand Online nationwide in the next 30-60 days, COO Steve Burke said at the Bank of America-Merrill Lynch conference on Wednesday, offering content from two dozen networks to Comcast subscribers.

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