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AT&T to Offer MobiTV to Broadband Customers

AT&T announced today that it is partnering with MobiTV to bring more than 20 television channels to broadband subscribers, including AT&T Worldnet and AT&T Yahoo high speed subscribers, under the name AT&T Broadband TV. Through the deal, AT&T becomes the first U.S. broadband provider to offer a live television subscription service through any broadband connection—and, though MobiTV, users can watch their shows in real time anywhere they can get 500 Kbps or better Internet access.

“The AT&T Broadband TV service offers our customers the ability to watch live television programming beyond the TV screen, increasing our capabilities to provide compelling content to consumers who are seeking information and entertainment when, where and on the device they desire,” said Scott Helbing, AT&T’s executive VP of Entertainment Services, in a statement. “The deal helps further enhance AT&T’s broadband service and three-screen initiative by offering differentiated broadband-enabled content that consumers are increasingly demanding.”

Initially, AT&T plans to offer about 20 channels of live television and made-for-broadband content covering a number of niches from news, entertainment, and sports, plus full-length music videos. Channels in the initial lineup include Fox News, Oxygen, Bloomberg News, the History Channel, Comedy Time, Maxx sports, Toonworld, and the Weather Channel. The service will run $19.99 a month.

Part of the appeal of the service is the MobiTV software, which will enable users to “tune in” to their broadband television service from anywhere they can get decent Internet access. MobiTV currently supports selected notebook computers, mobile phones, and smartphones. Although AT&T’s new service will only be available to U.S. customers (at least for the time being), those customers could access the broadband content from anywhere in the world.

The new service puts AT&T into competition with products line the SlingBox, movie and video download services such as those offered by Apple, Amazon, CinemaNow, Movielink, Youtube, Google Video, and a veritable cornucopia of other providers, as well as the broadcast networks themselves, who are increasingly offering their own programming via broadband.

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