AT&T has been teasing a new Total Home DVR capability for its U-verse customers for some time, but the company has at least officially announced the new unit, which enables users to play back up to five saved high-definition shows at the same time on different televisions around the house. The Total Home DVR is being rolled out in the San Francisco Bay area now, and should be available to all AT&T U-verse customers by the end of 2008—and the new features are available to existing customers as a software update, rather than requiring new hardware.
“AT&T U-verse is about providing the latest in entertainment and technology for a better TV experience,” said AT&T’s VP for video products Jeff Weber, in a statement. “With our 100 percent IP network, we are able to constantly evolve features and services to match the needs of viewers. Total Home DVR is the latest addition to our portfolio of unmatched features that give U-verse customers more control, on any TV, at a great price.”
The update enables users to watch up recordings on up to seven other televisions connected throughout a home—up to five televisions tapping into HD programming, with the system supporting a total of seven additional U-verse connected TVs. Users can play back multiple independent viewing of the same show, as well as pause a recorded program on one television and pick up where they left off on another. The DVR can record up to four programs simultaneously, and users can program their DVRs from the Web and via mobile phone if they like. In the future, AT&T plans to add the ability to schedule recordings and pause live TV from non-DVR U-verse receivers.
AT&T U-verse service is available in selected markets, and is a completely IP-based video service built on a high-bandwidth fiber network, and (of course) bundles in high-speed Internet service and (in many markets) voice phone service. AT&T is primarily competing with the likes of Comcast and Verizon’s fiber-based FiOS offering for customers who want a wide variety of television entertainment, DVR capability, and high-speed Internet from the same provider.
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