Every American television operator is said to be working on some sort of online distribution service for fall release. The category has assumed the generic (and also Time Warner-specific) name “TV Everywhere.” A reader points us to what looks to be AT&T’s yet-to-debut, but already-live contender: a new streaming TV and movie portal called “AT&T Entertainment” at http://entertainment.att.net/tv.
The site has the now-expected clean, Hulu-like layout, with options to browse TV shows and movies by title, creator, and network/studio and a rotating slide show of top content anchoring the home page. AT&T doesn’t appear to host any videos on its own, but instead streams from Hulu, CBS, MTV, etc (which means everything is geo-restricted to the U.S.). There don’t seem to be any ads beyond the ones included from the content hosts.
A pre-posted FAQ informs:
AT&T Entertainment is an ATT.net property that offers a market-leading content experience featuring full episodes of TV shows, movies, clips, and more for FREE! In addition, AT&T U-verse subscribers can view their U-verse guide and manage their DVR recordings from within the AT&T Entertainment experience.
The site encourages users to register for or login with an ATT.net ID in order to see age-restricted content, create a queue, and share and rate videos (it looks like you can embed videos without logging in, but not access a simple link to share them in other ways while you’re not logged in– weird). There’s no mention of subscriber-only content offerings, though AT&T had earlier this year been reported to be “actively building” its own authentication system, which would presumably enable subscribers to login online to watch content they pay for on their TVs.
One funny blip that pretty much shows nobody has used this site yet: virtually every piece of content is rated three stars (see pic at left).
Update Thursday morning: Got an official comment from AT&T:
We have started a soft launch of a new site called AT&T Entertainment. This site will feature free online content available to any consumer. We’re finalizing a few final elements, and we’ll share more details on our official launch soon.