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Summary:

The Wall Street Journal reports that company formerly known as SBC has started to offer IPTV service in San Antonio, Texas. “The company began marketing the service yesterday to several hundred consumers in its corporate hometown through direct mail,” the Journal says. The service is kicking […]

The Wall Street Journal reports that company formerly known as SBC has started to offer IPTV service in San Antonio, Texas. “The company began marketing the service yesterday to several hundred consumers in its corporate hometown through direct mail,” the Journal says.

The service is kicking off with 200 channels, and apparently is based on Microsoft system. It is very much like traditional cable service, but will eventually support 1000s of channels, and do HDTV and other stuff like PVRS, stuff what cable providers already do. (Okay maybe not those 1000s of channels!) Anyway folks, if you are in San Antonio, and will be signing up for the service, please be kind enough to drop me a note on your experience, and how it really works.

Update: John Hodulik of UBS in a note this morning points out that, “We do not expect, AT&T to offer HD over its IPTV platform until 2007 due to bandwidth and compression limitations. We believe that questions remain over the scalability of the IPTV platform and currently expect AT&T to end 2006 with roughly 95K video subscribers, which represents 1% of expected fiber qualified homes.”

PS: Despite my skepticism, I would like to do a hat tip to SBC for getting this out of the door.

  1. Jesse Kopelman Thursday, January 5, 2006

    No HDTV means no go, unless they just want to compete with basic cable. Without HD, what’s to stop the continued flight to NetFlix or even P2P?

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  2. I don’t believe a lot of consumers completely understand what HD can truly deliver nor do I think they really care — why do you think cable companies were able to sell “digital tv” for so long. The main driver for HD has been the “mine is bigger than yours” syndrome that drives men (and perhaps woman) to purchase gigantic TVs that take up so much space.

    I think sports are the main driver for HD programming, but is it really necessary to see “Everybody loves Raymond” in HD on a 6000″ flat-screen TV?

    See the article from Scientific Atlanta regarding consumers viewpoints on HD programming.
    http://webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?SESSIONID=&aId=6521

    I think the real driver here is the enormous potential for having an IPTV architecture to deliver video. As mentioned in the post — kudos to the telcos for delving into this investment to deliver real competition to the cable providers. I can’t stand the quality of my current cable provider.

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  3. Jesse Kopelman Friday, January 6, 2006

    The people who have $90/month cable bills understand HD or at least will wonder why cable has it and at&t doesn’t. These are the customers you want, not the basic cable guys.

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  4. No, you want all — from basic cable to the cutting-edge HDTV consumers. The fact is that many/most people still watch 90%-100% SD programming. (And you don’t need HD to get a $90 cable bill.) The exciting thing is the infrastructure; HDTV will follow along.

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