AT&T on Monday introduced its first mobile "TV Everywhere" service, with the debut of an iPhone app that lets U-verse TV subscribers download and watch full TV episodes, initially from 52 TV shows through content-licensing deals with Disney-ABC Television Group, Discovery Communications and PBS.
Via a Wi-Fi connection, the U-verse Mobile 2.0 app gives U-verse subscribers the ability to download recent episodes of TV shows from networks including ABC, ABC Family, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, Disney XD, ESPN, PBS Kids and TLC. The "TV Everywhere" features are available only to customers with a U-verse TV U300 programming package or higher.
The app also incorporates the ability to browse the U-verse TV program guide, view program descriptions, and schedule and manage DVR recordings. It replaces AT&T's Mobile Remote Access for iPhone, which the telco claims is used by more than 100,000 U-verse TV customers per month.
"We're making it possible for you to watch TV shows on your iPhone at no extra charge," David Christopher, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "Our U-verse multiscreen promise is now a reality for millions of U-verse TV customers, with content available on U-verse TV, U-verse Online, and today, U-verse Mobile. No cable provider comes close to matching the cross-platform experience we're delivering today, and we'll continue to add unique features that further integrate these screens."
AT&T is currently the exclusive U.S. distributor of Apple's iPhones, although that exclusivity is expected to expire as soon as 2011.
The free U-verse Mobile App 2.0 app requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later and works with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices.
Meanwhile, other TV providers are contemplating ways to sling video content to mobile devices -- without requiring discrete deals for mobile distribution.
Cablevision Systems is developing a service designed to deliver the full complement of the MSO's video services to IP-based devices inside a subscriber's home. Dish Network, for its part, this fall plans to let subscribers stream live TV and DVR recordings to iPhones, iPads, BlackBerrys and Android-based smartphones through either a ViP 622 "SlingLoaded" DVR or a Slingbox connected to the satellite receiver.
AT&T expects to strike content-distribution deals to expand the shows available for mobile viewing over time.
"Just like we've done with our U-verse TV channel lineups, we'll continue to grow the U-verse Mobile content library on an ongoing basis," AT&T spokeswoman Jenny Bridges said in an e-mail. "This initial launch shows what our app is capable of, and the content will continue to grow as more programmers come on board."
The shows initially part of the U-verse TV mobile lineup are:
- ABC: Grey's Anatomy, Castle, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives, Cougar Town, Scrubs, Lost, Flash Forward, Happy Town, Scoundrels, Rookie Blue, Downfall
- ABC Family: Secret Life of the American Teenager, Make It or Break It, Pretty Little Liars, Greek, Huge
- ABC News: ABC World News, Nightline, This Week, 20/20
- Disney Channel: Hannah Montana, Suite Life on Deck, Sonny with a Chance, Jonas, Good Luck Charlie
- ESPN: PTI, Around the Horn, MMA Live
- Disney XD: Phineas and Ferb, Kid vs. Kat, Zeke and Luther, I'm in the Band, Kick Buttowski Suburban
- Animal Planet: Extreme & Deadly, Whale Wars, It's Me or the Dog, River Monsters, Pit Boss
- TLC: Cake Boss, Say Yes 2 The Dress, Four Weddings, Mall Cops, One Big Happy Family
- Discovery Channel: Mythbusters, Dual Survival!, Ultimate Car Build-off, Discovery Turns 25
- PBS Kids: Fetch!, Sid the Science Kid, Martha Speaks, Cyberchase