AT&T is launching a new mobile app that will let U-verse pay TV subscribers to record content on their DVR and watch it from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection on their iPhone or upcoming Blackberry Torch mobile devices. While replacing the Mobile Remote Access for iPhone app, the new app will bring in all the same program guide and DVR functionality, but will add available content for download on mobile devices.
Not all programming is available to be viewed on mobile devices; only shows that AT&T has struck deals with for mobile rights can be watched through the app. So far, AT&T has deals with PBS Kids, as well as Disney for content from ABC, ABC Family, ABC News, the Disney Channel, Disney XD and ESPN, and Discovery for shows from Animal Planet, TLC and the Discovery Channel.
That will make shows like “Desperate Housewives,” “Hannah Montana,” “I’m in the Band,” “Mythbusters,” “Whale Wars,” “Say Yes 2 the Dress,” and “Sid the Science Kid” available to U-verse subscribers with the free app installed. Jeff Weber, vice president of U-verse and video products, said in a phone interview that AT&T will continue to make more mobile content available as it strikes deals with other content providers.
While the app is being pitched as a way to let users pick shows they plan to DVR on their mobile devices, it’s not technically linked to a consumer’s DVR. When choosing an available title for mobile viewing, the video will be downloaded from the cloud and stored on the iPhone or other mobile device. And if a user chooses an entire series, the app will “sideload” available episodes when it is open and the user is in range of a WiFi network. Users can also choose from a list of titles available for mobile viewing.
The app is only on the iPhone now, but will soon also be available on Blackberry Torch devices when they become available. According to Weber, AT&T will also work to develop apps for devices and operating systems — like Google’s Android — that are not exactly AT&T-centric. All U-verse customers can use the app for program browsing or DVR management, but AT&T subscribers who have subscribed to its U-verse U300 package or its U450 package will qualify for mobile video.
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