AT&T has released an iPad companion app for U-verse TV, but unlike some of its cable competitors the telco isn't letting subscribers watch live TV on the popular tablets.
The free AT&T U-verse for iPad App, published on Apple's iTunes Store Jan. 16, provides a full remote control, content recommendations, extra content about the program a subscriber is watching, and integration with Facebook to share their TV favorites. That's in addition to DVR scheduling and searchable TV listings.
"With our new app, AT&T U-verse customers have access to incredible functionality to make the TV experience much richer, from superior search and control functionality, to fresh content that tells you more about what you're watching, to the ability to share what you're watching with your friends through social networks," AT&T Mobility chief marketing officer David Christopher said in a statement. "And, when they leave the home, our customers can take the U-verse experience with them."
But video on the iPad is limited to the TV Everywhere content AT&T has licensed from a handful of programmers. Content includes TV shows and movies from Starz, Encore, TBS, TNT, truTV, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, "with more choices added on an ongoing basis," the telco said.
By contrast, several cable operators, including Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks offer access to live TV channels on iPad apps over a home Wi-Fi connection.
Comcast offers live TV to iPads through its AnyPlay service, which uses a Motorola set-top-like device to transcode channels in a subscriber's home. DirecTV also offers a live TV option for iPads, and Dish Network offers live TV on apps for iPad and other devices for customers with Slingboxes or "Sling-loaded" DVRs.
AT&T pointed out that with the TV Everywhere approach, content is available both inside and outside of the home over any Wi-Fi connection, and the company is working to add more to the lineup. "We will continue to add more content on an ongoing basis, but don't have any other details to discuss at this time," an AT&T spokeswoman said.
The AT&T U-verse for iPad App can be used over an in-home Wi-Fi network and linked to any U-verse TV receiver in a subscriber's home. Customers tune to channel 9301, where they're prompted through steps to name their U-verse receivers (e.g., "living room" or "bedroom") to enable the features.
As of the end of 2011, AT&T counted 3.8 million U-verse TV subscribers.