To bring its TV ambitions to its millions of customers, T-Mobile acquired cable provider Layer3 TV. The company brands itself “the new cable,” and has its own IP network, which allows it to send high-definition video to homes at levels of bandwidth similar to Netflix. Layer3 TV is currently only available in five U.S. cities and provides more than 275 channels, including ESPN, NBC, AMC, and other popular channels at higher video quality than similar services. The TV provider also mixes video content from streaming services and social media with broadcast and cable channels.
In a promotional video, T-Mobile gives a glimpse into how its TV service will operate. The T-Mobile TV service’s user interface in the video shows a carousel of channels and services such as Netflix, AMC, and Hulu, which people can swipe through. Options such as DVR are available above the viewing options. While watching video content, you can swipe through channels overlaid on the screen with information on which of your friends are watching that particular program.
In the video, T-Mobile says it will use “machine learning to understand your likes and tastes.” TV programs are pictured with a thumbs-up button next to them, presumably allowing you to “like” a program. Cooking competition show Chopped is recommended to a viewer in the video because they liked the Food Network. Everything in the video is a demo of possible services, so all of this could be different by the time T-Mobile rolls it out next year.
T-Mobile’s opinionated CEO John Legere released a video announcing T-Mobile’s foray into TV, and took aim at today’s cable TV model. “Requiring a landline just to get a better price on cable? It’s complete bullshit,” Legere asserted.
The new TV service is part of T-Mobile’s Un-carrier strategy that has included giving free Netflix subscriptions to those with T-Mobile family plans. No price has been announced for T-Mobile’s new TV service, but you’d have to expect T-Mobile will be aiming to make it more affordable than cable.
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