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.


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