AT&T Wants Its MobiTV


Sometimes I wonder why do phone companies want to recreate the past, when they can reinvent the future. There can be only one explanation – they find their business so boring, and since they are people, they want to get excitement into their lives. I don’t know by hanging out with the celebrities. For I have not the path to profits for phone companies’ IPTV efforts. So what brought on this early morning micro-rant?

Blame it on this latest bit of news that AT&T has started selling a PC-only version of MobiTV’s mobile television offering. MobiTV, a Emeryville, Calif-based start up started out offering television programs over mobile phone networks but has since expanded to WiFi, and other networks.

The browser-based service, called AT&T Broadband TV, is available now for $20 a month, and will be available to all AT&T DSL and WorldNet subscribers. It will also work with AT&T WiFi HotSpots as well. AT&T and MobiTV had signed a deal to offer television over AT&T WiFi hotspots earlier this year. The AT&T Broadband TV service will initially have approximately 20 channels including Fox News, Bloomberg, and Food Network. No CNN, MSNBC or ESPN. Bummer. No USA Network either – even more of a bummer.

Okay what we want to call it, say TV over IP, lets not call it IPTV. This move highlights the harsh truth – the phone company TV plans are not going according to plans, and are proving to be Wall Street poison. If phone companies (including AT&T) are smart, they would take this route, and make incremental dollars on their phone and broadband packages. They can avoid the costly upgrades, and finally be offering something consumers want and are likely to pay for. And oh, it is not recreating the past.


Brian McConnell

What I don’t understand is why anybody needs MobiTV in the first place. It’s muzak/basic cable on the Internet.

Any content provider who wants to make an MPEG4 or 3GPP stream available can easily do so.

All MobiTV does is force me to pay extra for a crappy cable package that requires me to download yet another piece of software.



ATT Broadband TV for $20/mth will allow us working stiffs to watch TV while on a corporate network, an environment where a USB ATSC tuner is not an available option.


I watch plenty of TV on my laptop. I don’t do it over the Internet, but have a USB ATSC tuner. Why would I want to pay $20/month for a poor package of cable channels when for a one-time price of ~$100 I can watch the major networks in digital TV (many sports and primetime in HD) plus local channels.

The broadcast stations have a lot more capacity to add channels. As more people realize that broadcast digital TV doesn’t have all the ghosting and other problems of broadcast analog TV, they will get tuners, and the viewing options will expand.


“They can avoid the costly upgrades, and finally be offering something consumers want and are likely to pay for. And oh, it is not recreating the past.”

The only problem being consumers likely don’t want 20 MobiTV channels for $20 a month, and they can’t avoid those pesky network upgrades (getting VDSL & fiber to homes), because they are an absolutely essential part of AT&T’s survival.

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