October 25, 2011
AT&T’s U-Verse Bringing Wireless To Your TV Set
AT&T is bringing TV everywhere with U-Verse: a wireless TV service that will allow users to set up their TV virtually wherever they want it -- in any room and on any wall.
New set-top boxes will use a home´s Wi-Fi to get TV programming, with no need for the traditional coaxial TV cable. Just plug your TV in, connect the set-top box, and watch TV.
“You could move your U-Verse to the patio for the football game if the weather´s nice or to the guest room if you have guests coming in,” David Christopher, AT&T´s chief marketing officer for Mobility and Consumer Markets, told the Associated Press (AP).
But that is not the real reason AT&T developed the new service, noted Christopher. The company was looking for a way to cut installation time and cost. With Wi-Fi boxes, installers won´t need to drill through walls and install cables throughout the house, he added.
U-Verse Wireless will be delivered through Internet technology rather than conventional cable technology. That will make it much easier for AT&T to transmit the signal wirelessly. The technology isn´t new, however. Other, smaller companies have used wireless set-top boxes for a few years now.
The U-Verse TV Wireless Receivers will be available beginning Monday, October 31 for a one-time fee of $49, plus a $7 monthly box rental fee. The units are manufactured by Cisco Systems Inc.
The user´s Wi-Fi hotspot will be able to support up to two set-top boxes wirelessly. A home can have two additional set-top boxes, but they would have to be wired traditionally, since the hotspot has limited capacity. But all four would be able to show HDTV simultaneously.
U-Verse will be available in areas only where AT&T has local phone service. The company has 3.6 million TV subscribers, making it the eighth-largest pay-TV provider in the US.
U-Verse will help fill demand for the wireless TV service. The company conducted a customer survey and found that more than 66 percent of respondents said it was at least somewhat important to have flexibility to move the TV from one room to another without needing a cable TV outlet.
More than 80 percent of customers said one important reason for having a Wireless Receiver was so they could place a TV in a room where there is no existing outlets, such as the patio or the kitchen.
“For decades, the TV outlet has dictated how viewers can arrange their furniture and where they place their TV,” said Christopher. “Now, for the first time, customers have the freedom to move the TV virtually whenever and wherever they want to, without a special appointment with a service technician. It´s another innovation for U-verse TV.”
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