AT&T, Verizon to Offer Mobile DVR Control

Wireless operators AT&t;T and Verizon Wireless are planning to introduce services which enable customers to program their digital video recorders using their mobile phones…that way, when they get home, they won’t have missed a single moment of their favorite television programming.

AT&T has announced that its HomeZone customers will be able to view listings and manage recordings via mobile phones, in addition to previously enabled capabilities to schedule and manage recordings via Web-connected PCS. Currently PC users can also tell their HomeZone device to download video-on-demand offerings so they’re all queued up when the customer gets home; AT&T says it plans to offer this capability to wireless users in the future. The wireless feature will be accessible to any WAP 2.0-compliant cell phone or hand-held device; users will be able to view and search listings, set up recordings, and manage existing recording schedules. Using the wireless feature may incur data charges from a mobile operator, but AT&T intends to include the wireless service as part of the $9.99/month HomeZone fee, rather than tacking on an additional fee for wireless access.

But AT&T won’t be alone in this arena: next week, number two mobile operator Verizon Wireless plans to begin letting its customers program their TiVo DVRs using mobile phone. Verizon plans to charge $1.99/month for its service, which will be compatible with 12 current phone models covering a wide rage of its customers.

Not to be left out, number three mobile operator Sprint plans to roll out similar services later in 2007, in conjunction with cable operators like Comcast and Time Warner.

Whether a market exists for being able to program DVRs remotely via cell phones remains to be seen. Mobile operators and media companies are hoping the feature will encourage customer loyalty (and dependence), but a recent survey from Jupiter Research found less than 10 percent of wireless subscribers actually want to be able to program their DVRs via a cell phone.