January 7, 2013
CES 2013: AT&T Looks To Compete With Netflix And AirPlay
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
AT&T is showing off their defensive muscle this week at their Developer Conference, happening alongside this year´s CES in Las Vegas. The company has been unveiling a service that not only takes Netflix head on, but also supports sharing from mobile devices to televisions.
U-verse Screen Pack extends the On Demand service, offering unlimited access to a library of movies for only $5 a month. The service is starting with a relatively meager library of only 1,500 titles and will only be available to On Demand customers. Existing On Demand customers will be able to get a free preview of the service until January 31.
Like Hulu and Netflix before them, AT&T is making Screen Pack available on computer screens, television screens and even smartphones and tablets. Though the release of Screen Pack screams of a defensive move, the company has said they simply want to offer as many services as possible to their customers.
"It's just one way to deepen the content opportunities that a customer has," explained Jeff Weber, the president of content and advertising, according to CNET.
Like many companies at CES this year, AT&T has also turned their attention to mobile apps as a way to broadcast content from a mobile device to a television. The first of these apps is called “Pix & Flix,” and just as it sounds, this app broadcasts photos from a mobile device to a television screen. Similar to the way Panasonic´s “Swipe & Share” service works, users can “flick” their photos from their smartphones and tablets to their TVs. Users can also connect the app to their Facebook account, making it easy for them to broadcast their Facebook photos to the family television.
The second app, “Twonky Beam,” takes care of sharing videos from a mobile device to the TV. Both of these apps use the U-Verse TV receiver as a bridge.
"TV is becoming a more interactive experience than ever, and that's reflected in the latest apps to hit our U-verse enabled platform," said Weber.
"We're excited to work with more developers to deliver more second-screen apps to customers."
It´s a bold and interesting move to hold your own conference at the same time and in the same city as the world´s largest consumer electronics show without being a part. Yet, AT&T rarely has a problem with doing their own thing, even if they are incredibly tardy to the party. See: Their new Netflix-like service and their recent cloud-storage service which greatly duplicates the same kind of functionality of Dropbox, iCloud and Google Drive.