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Television Media Communications Networking Technology

AT&T To Offer TV Over Phone Lines 303

Posted by Zonk
from the next-up-is-radio-via-peanut-butter dept.
ppadala writes "AT&T is upgrading their phone lines to offer video programmes over phone line. The service, called U-verse TV will be available in parts of Southern California communities initially. Channel lineups will be similar to traditional cable and dish offerings. AT&T is insisting that, 'This offering is on par with those of its cable rivals. But AT&T claims that it offers customers more for their money, including fast channel changing, video-on-demand, three set-top boxes, a digital video recorder, a picture-in-picture feature that allows viewers to surf channels without switching channels and an interactive program guide.'"
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AT&T To Offer TV Over Phone Lines

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:51PM (#19295755) Journal

    Wow, video (on demand and more) via the phone lines. I actually had a "moment" of anticipation, thinking I could maybe finally dump the miserable (Comcast) quality and service of our cable company. Then, the quote: "'This offering is on par with those of its cable rivals. "...

    Sigh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      Wow, video (on demand and more) via the phone lines.

      Yeah, I think I saw something like that at their exhibit at the Worlds Fair...in 1963!
      I guess they still haven't quite got all the bugs worked out.

      "The future is fun!
      The future is fair!
      You may already have won!
      You may already be there!
      Welcome to the future!"
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by networkBoy (774728)
        You know, the real future will be genuine al-la-cart pricing. First company to do that wins. Buck a channel/month $10 min? I'd do that in a heartbeat. Even charge $2 for premium content. What I won't do is spend the $80/mo or whatever to get all the really geeky channels I want when I won't watch the other 90-95% of the channels I'm paying for.

        -nB
    • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:42PM (#19296449)
      That's why I went with satellite. Contrary to what Comcast says, the service has been significantly better and contrary to popular belief it takes far more than the torrential rain we have been getting here in Seattle to make it go out. The fact that even with a few perks it is still cheaper than cable makes it pretty much a done deal that I won't be going back.

      I personally hated that I was only getting 70 or so channels with 4 or so ones worth watching and several channels that we were supposed to get were unviewable. The worst part was that one of the local channels comes in better without an antenna in the basement than it did through the cable. Pretty much the contempt that they showed me for complaining when I had a cable modem about it being advertised as always on and having it be out for three or four hours a day for several weeks in a row was enough to switch to DSL even if it is on paper a bit more sluggish.

      So in general Comcast sucks and doesn't actually care about providing the service they promise. I had no problem with Earthlink and non yet with qwest.

      So the service wouldn't have to be that great to beat the low quality cable service around here. It would be really cool, that way they could probably provide a way of just watching it on a computer at home, in addition to a set top box.
    • by rspress (623984)
      I live in Northern California and despite having Comcast as my ISP I watch TV on Dish. If AT&T can offer FIOS like speeds of 15Mbps or greater, it would be a nice change from Comcast. It would also make use of all the fiber optic cable that was laid through our town many years ago by several companies.
    • "But AT&T claims that it offers customers more for their money, including three set-top boxes..."

      Imagine all those extra blinkenlights and remote controls! Who can resist such an offer???

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by g-san (93038)
        Nice joke, but there is more going on here. You are getting video feeds over your fancy new xDSL connection, exactly how many feeds you can get at once (think different rooms) is a huge deal for the service provider. For cable it's different. You have all channels on the wire at the same time, you just need to tune each box into the right frequency/channel. With IPTV, you are not getting 500 multicast streams pushed down your connection at all times, you actually have to subscribe to the channel you want t
  • by KalElOfJorEl (998741) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:54PM (#19295769)
    Gee, that sounds like what Europe and Japan seem to offer people at a fraction of the cost, except crappier and more expensive. Way to go AT&T! I love when telecoms are looking out for the consumer's best interest.
     
    /sarcasm off
    • by McFadden (809368) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:03PM (#19295835)
      Helloooooo America! Welcome to 2004.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by bedonnant (958404)
      yeah, i was suprised this was deemed newsworthy. we have had that in France for years. I have 20Mbit+ a shitload of TV channels + unlimited free phone communications, in France and to dozens of other countries+extras... all for 30/month.
    • Well, in turn, I (European) get to pay 50 bucks for a 1024/256 kbit internet connection, with a max transfer limit of 10GB/Month.

      Wanna trade?
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:57PM (#19295787) Homepage Journal
    ADSL modem + private network + set-top box.

    Must have taken them months to independantly discover this combination.
    • by Alaren (682568) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:02PM (#19295825)

      The service, called U-verse TV will be available in parts of Southern California communities initially.

      You bet. Qwest has had "Qwest Choice TV," for all appearances the same thing, available in "parts of Phoenix, Arizona communities initially" for several years now. Why only parts? Well, probably because they had to lay fiber to make it happen. In my parents' neighborhood in north Phoenix, they lay fiber to the neighborhood box and then copper takes things the rest of the way. Everywhere else Qwest partners with DirecTV or some such.

      Of course it will only be select communities, i.e. those where any lesser offering would be laughed at. And you can bet that, like Qwest, AT&T will not let you take advantage of the full bandwidth of your connection for anything other than TV purposes. The Qwest connection is 11 MBits, but the most they would let us use for internet was 1.5/768 (so as not to make their regular DSL customers pissed, I'd bet). I think they've raised those caps but I don't know, I now live in a rural Utah community where the Qwest Choice TV/internet is not available.

      This isn't news. This is AT&T trying to make a big deal about actually using some of the technology they've had for years. Only now are they being forced by the competition to implement some of that technology. Remember, kids, when corporations say they want a deregulated "free market" they really mean "free from competitors."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PhysicsPhil (880677)

      ADSL modem + private network + set-top box. Must have taken them months to independantly discover this combination.

      And coming soon to a patent office near you.

    • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:32PM (#19296367)
      ADSL modem + private network + set-top box.
      Must have taken them months to independantly discover this combination.


      No, they discovered this back in 95, [findarticles.com] but instead of moving forward with it, they killed it after the trial run. I was part of that trial run and I have to say, it was pretty nice.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by icepick72 (834363)
      Not only that the combination is probably already patented somewhere and litigation will ensue.
    • I could have sworn that one of the earlier intended uses for DSL was for TV but I can't find any corroboration for that right now.
  • Nothing New Here (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Pakup (624459) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:57PM (#19295793)
    At least not in Hong Kong, where the local phone company has been offering this service for years:

    http://www.nowbroadbandtv.com/eng/ [nowbroadbandtv.com]
    • by kjart (941720)

      Same here in Canada - our local telco has been offering this kind of service for quite awhile. The really ironic thing is that at present the phone company seems to be offering better TV service and the cable company provides better phone service.

  • This is news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by ardiesr (861538) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:57PM (#19295795)
    This definitely isn't the first ILEC to offer TV over IP: I know Telus up in Canada is offering it already.

    Having used it quite a bit myself, it's very similar to digital cable (isn't that what it is?). There's also the added bonus of choosing very customizable channel packages and individual channels to subscribe to, which I think is a good change from the limited Tiers from cable companies.
    • by ChronosWS (706209)
      Yes, the only new TV service of any type which will be at all interesting is the one which allows you to buy channels a-la carte. Until then, they are ALL rubbish. As other posters have pointed out, there are NO new features in this package that don't already exist virtually everywhere else. Wake me when something interesting actually happens.
    • by compro01 (777531)
      isn't that what it is?

      unless i'm completely misunderstanding digital cable, no.

      i'm pretty sure digital cable is just that. plain cable television, only using a digital signal.

      this is practically streaming video. television over IP.

      saskatchewan also has something very similar from sasktel called "Max internet TV".
  • an upgrade? (Score:4, Funny)

    by hey (83763) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:58PM (#19295797) Journal
    How is TV an upgrade over anything?
    American Icon, Survivor, etc!
    • Come on give them some credit. They're bringing back the Bionic Woman.....on second thought it couldn't get any worse.
    • But with Video-on-demand, you can decide for yourself when you don't want to watch it!
  • God, why would 3 set-top boxes be an improvement? By that reasoning it would be even better if each box had its own separate wall wart and remote control too - hmm, I guess they do...
    • by QuantumG (50515)
      You're so right.. you don't need 3 set-top boxes in your studio apartment.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by thebear05 (916315)
        you might not, depends on how much content you want your myth tv setup to record
  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bryan Ischo (893) * on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:59PM (#19295809) Homepage
    The ATT site is somewhat short on details, but it does mention that it delivers TV programming "using Internet Protocol via a broadband connection".

    This raises some questions:

    1) Is the bandwidth dedicated to television progamming separate from your other broadband use? Or does watching TV take up most of your bandwidth? Given that they offer a DVR, which means that TV programming will be continuously streamed to the device (think 1/2 hour buffers or whatever), I would expect the only reasonable way for this to work is for AT&T to dedicate bandwidth above and beyond your normal broadband connection to TV programming. But that's just a guess ...

    2) Is the 4 "tuner" DVR capable of recording 4 programs at once *in real time* over a single "U-verse" connection? Or does each show stream in at 1/4 real time and you just have to wait 4x longer for all shows to complete?

    3) Are they using multicast IP or peer-to-peer streaming? I would expect the latter since multicasting 190+ channels would seem infeasable.

    4) Given that it's likely peer-to-peer, does AT&T really think they have the server capacity to support tens of thousands of customers all streaming different programming at different times?

    5) Are there QOS guarantees in place that would prevent my TV programming from ever "hiccuping" due to traffic congestion?

    It looks like a very interesting offering *if* the aspects of the service that AT&T "conveniently" left out in their documentation live up to the hype - i.e., if you really can record 4 channels (or even 2) at once in real time without disturbing your other broadband use.
    • by bigdavex (155746)

      3) Are they using multicast IP or peer-to-peer streaming? I would expect the latter since multicasting 190+ channels would seem infeasable.

      4) Given that it's likely peer-to-peer, does AT&T really think they have the server capacity to support tens of thousands of customers all streaming different programming at different times?

      It's probably multicast. Why do you think that's infeasible?
      • by Bryan Ischo (893) *
        Probably because I don't understand multicast well enough. In fact, I don't really understand it at all - I thought it was kind of like broadcast packets which can cross gateways. I should go read up on it ...

        My assumption was that this means that everybody's broadband connection would be receiving multicast packets for every channel all the time. With 190+ channels this would be what, 190 Mbits? So if it is possible for it to be multicast as you suggest, then I must not be understanding the concept ...
        • AT&T probably has a switch that will only send you multicast packets of which you are in the multicast group. So in their internal network, 190Mbits is being dedicated to it, but over your line, just however much is needed for your particular channel is sent.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:17PM (#19295923)
      I happen to work on the IPTV project at Microsoft, which provides the software for AT&T u-verse

      1) The TV shares the VDSL bandwidth. This can potentially cause an impact on browsing speeds if you're streaming all 4 channels at once. I don't have the numbers with me currently, but SD channels stream at approx 1Mbit, while HD stream at around 5Mbit. VDSL connection is anywhere up to 24Mbit, although as this is based on line length, most customers could only expect 15 or so.

      2)Yes, real time for all 4 channels.

      3) Multicast for all live TV streams. Unicast for video on demand. Essentially the same way cable does distribution, except over IP. This is exactly the kind of thing that multicast was designed for. The actual number of multicast streams AT&T are streaming now is over 600 (each channel is actually 2 streams - 1 for the content, and 1 for the little picture-in-picture stream for the channel guide).

      4) As live TV is multicast, this question is redundant. However, for video on demand, the content will come from servers physically close to the customer's location. Multicast sources are mostly centralized.

      5) Yes.
      • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @09:11PM (#19296667) Journal
        Microsoft, which provides the software for AT&T u-verse

        Oh man, thanks for the tip. Some guy was going door-to-door in my neighborhood to sell this, and it sounded good at first. Now that I know it's from you guys, I'll pass.

        -jcr
      • by compro01 (777531)
        SD channels stream at approx 1Mbit, while HD stream at around 5Mbit.

        what the heck are you doing to compress that?

        our service gives 3.2Mbps SD streams (MPEG-2 compression) and 12.8Mbps HD streams (MPEG-4 compression).

        we just recently did a bunch of system upgrades to shorten the loop length to 900m, from 1500m to ensure adaquate bandwidth (~23Mbps per line. we add a 2nd line for HD to ensure reliability and put SD and internet on the same line.)
        • by MKalus (72765)
          Working for a company that plays in the field too I think you will see a better performance with H.264, what I have seen most customers will use no more t han 6MBit/s for the HD streams and quite a bit less for the SD channels.

          Microsoft, btw, is a "one box" solution, so the encoding (to my knowledge) is done with WMV/WMA.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by Bobartig (61456) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:45PM (#19296089) Homepage
      (I have this service)

      1) TV uses up part of your total bandwidth. We have a 6Mb connection, and an HD stream probably uses about half of it. SD probably uses a quarter of that (or @ 1/6 the original).

      2) The DVR records 4 shows in real time. Everything has a sense of real time, but the box constantly buffers up 90 minutes or so of whatever channel you're on. You can only record one HD stream at a time, although you can watch another.

      3) If multicast means the data for all the channels is transmit at once, this is clearly impossible. We've got about 25 HD channels, and 300+ other channels. I'm assuming there's some packet sharing peer-to-peer scheme for distributing content, but I'm not sure how it would work without losing the concept of scheduling.

      4) They're laying fiber for the bandwidth. Does that help? I mean, I don't know. If they alot a certain amount of bandwidth per customer, it seems feasable.

      5) Nope. First, the question itself is silly to begin with, given the nature of networking (since its a consumer product). HD definitely has a frame drop every now and then, but its generally very good. HDFoodTV seems to be worse about it. What's much more noticeable is the compression during fast action sequences, if you're familiar with HD and H.264. SD is really good, much better than actual NTSC SD.

      • by Bobartig (61456)
        I stand corrected on that multicast question. That's interesting to know. I suppose the simplest answer is the best.
    • Here is another article that has some more technical details:

      http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1035_22-6020423.html?ta g=nl [zdnet.com]

      It looks like they are upgrading their internal network to fiber optic to handle the increased bandwidth. However, they are relying on copper wire to deliver the service into the home. That would suggest that this might be a bottleneck, although that is just conjecture on my part.

      In my area, Verizon is offering their FiOS TV/Internet/phone service. If you subscribe, they upgrade all of the
    • "Are there QOS guarantees in place that would prevent my TV programming from ever "hiccuping" due to traffic congestion?"

      Is there any other way to explain the net neutrality fight?
    • by profplump (309017)
      1. Totally separate. You don't get access to the high-bandwidth video channels, specifically to prevent congestion (among other things). See 5.

      2. If you're assuming that it's really per-tuner on-demand there's no reason for it to record at all -- they'll just keep a copy of the shows you want server-side and stream them back out when you want them. But that will never happen -- they aren't going to serve every show on-demand to every user. See 3-4. I'm sure it's just a generic DVR with 4 "tuners" because in
    • by compro01 (777531)
      going by info i have from Sasktel's Max internet TV:

      1. yes, they are usually over the same line (exception is HDTV gets it's own line), though the bandwidth used isn't all that much. a single line in our configuration can provide about 23Mbps of bandwidth. an SD signal takes up about 3Mbps and an HD about 12. that leaves plenty for DSL internet (the highest speed is 7Mb/640kb, but that is truely umlimited. no transfer cap and i know several people who have verified this by deliberately maxing out the co
  • Okay, but... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:00PM (#19295815) Journal
    ...I recall when DSL had been out for a few years, and I had inquired about getting a hookup to it. I remember being told by Qwest (after a LOT of pressing for details) that while I was close enough to a CO, the neighborhood trunk operated on what was called "integrated pair gain", which they (at the time) did not have the ability to do DSL over. I asked them for some sort of ETA on upgrading it, but was told that it wasn't profitable enough, and that "maybe in a few years...". I eventually went with Sprint Broadband Wireless, which was available (it required an antenna). After three months and roughly half the neighborhood doing the same (cable Internet wasn't available back then in that area either), Qwest suddenly announced that "hey! we can give you 128k DSL now!" - to which most of the neighborhood went "pfffth!" because we were all enjoying an average of 1.5Mb/sec up and down (with a bit of lag, but for most no big deal). It's interesting to note that most other areas in that part of Utah enjoyed 7Mb/sec or so d/l speeds.

    So... question is, is this just some stopgap crapola that they can announce, but in reality will only be available to a few selected areas and that's it?

    /P

  • I have this already (Score:3, Informative)

    by Swervin (836962) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:06PM (#19295853)
    The phone company where I work is a small outfit that only has about 6-8k customers, but we've had this for the last few years, to answer a few questions that have come up, 1.The tv bandwidth is seperate from the internet. 2.It's done through peer to peer streaming, I can run 3 tvs simultaneously over one phone line, but that's it unless you have a second line. 3. The quality of service is amazing, it never hiccups and they're going to start offering HD signal soon.
    • Excuse me for asking a weird question, but how long does it take to change channels? Digital cable for me takes around 1.5 seconds - it's long enough to be noticeable and annoying.
  • by Aladrin (926209) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:06PM (#19295857)
    fast channel changing - What's slow about pushing the button and the next channel is there? I can't even blink that fast.
    video-on-demand - Cable's got it and charges out the ass. Unless it's free and actually has content (the free stuff on cable is crap), no thanks.
    three set-top boxes - Right, cuz 1 just wasn't enough.
    a digital video recorder - Is that ANOTHER box? Anyhow, cable without DVR isn't worth it.
    a picture-in-picture feature that allows viewers to surf channels without switching channels - TV, cable, satellite have all have this for years,
    an interactive program guide - Again, they've all had it for years.

    If they aren't going to offer anything special, and they aren't going to have significantly lower prices, they can go ahead and call this a failure.

    The only thing I see that's even halfway special is that the entire thing is going to be 'on-demand'. That's why the need to state fast channel switching, etc. They aren't going to play all channels all the time... They are only going to play the 2 channels (pic in pic) that you are currently watching, streamed from their CO. (Central Office, the local telephone switch in each city.) If they also made it so that the 'DVR' wasn't at my house, but was instead stored at the CO (it's not really a DVR, just a way to play back whenever I want) then I could see an advantage.

    DVR Advantage: I missed Survivor this week because A) I forgot or B) The president had a fit and decided to tell the world, making every show in existance run later than normal. With CO-based DVR, I could just say 'I want to watch ep 785 of Survivor' and it plays it. No worries about storage space or recording mishaps. I'd even pay -extra- for this service. Take it a step further and let me watch Thursday's shows -any time- on Thursday, even before they 'air', and I'd be even happier.

    But no, they'll totally miss the coolest aspects of this and instead try to merely match what everyone else already has.
    • blockquote>fast channel changing - What's slow about pushing the button and the next channel is there? I can't even blink that fast.Sure, with analog cable it's quick, but digital cable usually takes 1-2 seconds as does satellite (sometimes more) which may not seem like a long time, but it's long enough to virtually eliminate being able to quickly flip through channels to check out what's on.

      three set-top boxes - Right, cuz 1 just wasn't enough.

      Well, it's not really, most houses have more than one TV, ne

    • Considering my cable TV provider offers a set top box that takes 2 seconds between channels, I can see why "fast channel switching" can be something to advertise when talking set-top boxes.

      Of course, it is about the crappiest box in existance and my cable provider doesn't really have a record for offering top line products so...
  • VDSL (Score:2, Informative)

    This sounds like vdsl (which allows about 80mb/sec bandwidth, with most of the bandwidth going to the video stream). My apartment building recently got vdsl, the advantages are that there is no need for every apartment wanting satellite TV to have to setup a satellite dish (it's not allowed here anyway). Also, we can get full speed dsl service without having to worry about line quality or being close to a Central Office. All the data is piped into the building through fiber optic cable, while using the exis
  • ... it's not a bad deal. For $74 a month, you can get cable, internet and phone. I pay 90 a month for a similar triple play deal from my cable provider right now... That said, I'm willing to bet that AT&T's internet offering is a lot slower than what I have right now. It's based on DSL technology, right?
  • Old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by meburke (736645)
    This has been available in parts of Houston for about 4 months.
    • by uninet (413687)
      It has actually been available in parts of Texas (as well as a few other areas -- I think part of Indiana) for almost a year, if not a year. I think it is suppose to be here in St. Louis by the end of the year. SAtechBlog.com has covered it very well from the time it was in trial mode. I can't believe Slashdot didn't catch how old this news was, as you say!
  • by Bobartig (61456) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:26PM (#19295977) Homepage
    Our house signed up for U-Verse a few weeks ago. We've got about 350 channels. It's actually delivered by fiber to a node down the block, then a specialized DSL connection that's 6 Mb/s connection. The service is extremely location specific. Our next door neighbors can't get it, so we're right on the edge.

    The TV is H.264 encoded and streamed over IP to the DVR box. You can record up to 4 standard definition channels, or a single HD channel, while watching another. The standard def television looks better than regular standard def. More like 480p. The 'Hi def' channels look similar to 720p but with noticeable compression, and the occasional dropped frame. If someone were really looking for full 1080i HD, highest possible quality, I'd have some reservations recommending it. But the SD looks good enough that we're pretty happy with it. A lot of what we watch is still only on the SD channels.

    Since everything is streaming, it always buffers about 90 minutes worth of footage of whatever you're watching (a la tivo). It also has some neat features like being able to show thumbnail previews of channels while you're surfing around, along with a representation of how far into the show it is.

    Overall, the DVR functions are quite primitive. Its can be difficult to make the recordings you want. There doesn't seem to be any way to make only recordings of new episodes of Stargate SG1 (This is slighly less of a problem since there's only like 4 episodes left in the series. This was the only show we record that had problems.

    For TV + broadband for under $100, its well worth it for us.
    • by smclean (521851)
      My parents have had U-verse for about a month now. My impressions of the service match yours very closely.

      The internet service is good, 6 megabit down and 1 megabit up.

      The standard tuner box they provide is passable, if a little slow/unresponse (hey, it runs winCE, what do you expect ;).

      Compression artifacts in HD are very evident. As you mentioned, I would also not recommend this service for someone wanting very high quality HD. It still looks better than a standard definition broadcast, but the artifac
  • by The Llama King (187264) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:27PM (#19295989)
    It's also being offered in some Texas communities, including [chron.com] Houston [chron.com].

  • By AT&T... and dutifully turned over to the Bush administration, and just like your phone logs -- without a warrant ever being presented.
  • by QuietLagoon (813062) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:49PM (#19296117)
    AT&T is using Microsoft's trouble-laden [seekingalpha.com] IPTV software.
  • In France we have free [free.fr], which gives us 28Mbit ADSL (1Mbit up) with a static, 200 TV Channels (HD ready) and a phone line with unlimited free calls to 49 countries for a whisker inside EUR30 a month. These guys are making a profit of this too. It amazes me what you guys put up with in the US when it comes to voice & data connectivity, let alone entertainment! We have two for good measure.

    I'd be interested to hear what you would pay for an equivalent service over there - I figure it's at least 3 figures a
    • While I won't defend the companies in the US or Canada [cuz honestly they're probably hording anyways] but we do have more surface area here.

      France is a "bit" smaller than Canada, and by bit I mean 14.79x smaller [14.27x smaller than USA]. Obviously it's cheaper to cover France than Canada or the states.

      Tom
    • Bon jour, mon ami. I don't sit even a thousand miles from you and I can only dream of a service like yours, despite sitting in the same EU.

      Could it be that your company has some competition where you happen to be?
    • Not sure what you mean by HD ready? Do you actually get HD channels?

      I pay $109 per month for 30 Mbps down - 5 Mbps up IP service. All ports unlocked so I can and do run servers. TV is 331 channels including about 20 HD channels (4 are first run movie channels), and VOIP service. So while it is more expensive I do get some added features. It is definitely not close to an order of magnitude more expensive - if you consider taxes etc. I'd bet more like 2x, but with better features.

  • Other areas too... (Score:3, Informative)

    by BlueOtto (519047) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:17PM (#19296263)
    will be available in parts of Southern California communities initially.

    It is also available in San Antonio, TX, Dallas, TX, Austin, TX, Milwaukee, WI, and Indianapolis, IN. Source [att.com]
  • This service has been available (and my relatives have had it) for a few months in the Kansas City Kansas (overland park) area.

    First off, the system takes a little getting used to .. you can have 4 seperate video streams online at once (with the DVR counting for two as needed). If you attempt to turn the 5th unit on (parents have 5) you will get a resource not available message.

    This is exactly what is sounds like video over IP. They co-op the existing coax cable outlets for existing cable extentions .. bu
  • So can the people that can get this join the 5 people out there that can get Verizon's FiOS service? I mean really, what's the point of these announcements when the tech isn't available to 99% of the rest of the country?

    Sorry, I'm just sore at my current broadband options as I look to get a house. There doesn't seem to be any way to get digital cable (one box at that) and Internet anywhere from 3-4Mb down (either cable or DSL) for less than 90 bucks a month. And this was after *finally* finding a hous
    • The point is simply to placate shareholders and keep them from dumping their stock. Really. AT&T just bought my phoneco, BellSouth. When are they gonna have any one these services available to me, who lives way far away from the nearest CO? The twelfth-of-never, that's when.

      Comcast, lame as they are, gives me HDTV and 8 Mbit/sec internet service right now. How on earth does Ma Bell think it's gonna catch up to where the cableco's already are?
  • Why does TV over IP have to come from the Internet provider? I'm really getting annoyed by all of this bundling of services. Here's what I'd like... a good, fast internet connection. Period. Let me worry about what I'm getting over that connection. Phone/TV/Music/Email. For once I'd love to see a company boast: We give you a rock solid, fast connection to the Internet and that's it. Enjoy.

    I currently have Comcast (previously Adelphia). Back in the Adelphia days I had the internet only package. Life was g

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:46PM (#19296475)
    Hmm... video on demand, over a phone line, using "internet technology"... you're talking about bittorrent.
    • My idea of video on demand is that you click and it plays right now. Bittorrent is more like video after you've downloaded the entire file, given that BT doesn't guarantee that you get the first parts of the file first, there's no chance, and it still depends on your peers having good upload speeds to get acceptable download times to finish it. In other words, it's much slower than "on demand", though usually not Netflix-laggy unless you have very bad luck.
  • Sounds like repackaged cable to me. Aka crap.

    Dear Phone/Cable Companies:

    I the consumer am no longer interested in channels, the packages they come in, nor the scheduling that you inflict on me. Give me a searchable catalog of every TV show and Movie from everywhere in the world in fairly high quality that I can watch buffered rather than compressed all to hell and streamed. Did I mention I want it on demand, and without the pay per view fees if I pay a monthly fee. I want the new movies the day they

  • Figure,

    Out a way to get a repair person out to my home for a broken phone line in less than 4 days.

    Or, provide a real person to talk to me on the phone on a service call.

    Or, not bill me for items I never ordered.

    Or, charge me less than 8 bucks a month for caller id.

    Or, figure out a way to have a long distance call of 175 miles cost less than 25 cents a minute.

    Or, act like something other than a monopolist.

    Or. "Insert your own gripe here"

    I'd be happy.
  • I don't care about who's doing what really, what I like is that the cable companies provided the means for competition with the phone companies (skype, vonage, im) and now phone companies are starting to compete back in kind. So hopefully in about ten more years when the services cable and phone companies offer are pretty-much equal with each other then the only thing they'll have left to compete on is price. And that's where you and I win.
  • They installed the box up the street from me here in Austin over a year ago. 500 feet away means a potential 50M/50M or better connection to the DSLAM in that box. Someday. But right now they don't want to offer more than 6Mbits down for U-Verse DSL internet, and I'm happy with digital TV over an antenna.
  • HD isn't mentioned and given the constraints of phone lines I'll bet it's not part of the plans. Interactive features could be stronger than cable, however.
  • like SaskTel [sasktel.com]?
  • We're sorry, the movie you requested is currently unavailable. For only 99 cents, we can call you when that movie becomes available.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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